My sis recently posted a new found picture of her and I and Dad, vintage 70’s, along with Grandma and Grandpa, the English ones, on a trip for them to see, first hand, exactly what their daughter had gotten herself into, two kids into the real and with a guy and his silly name, only so much so many hand written letters back and forth across far long waters with cool looking international postage stamps were going to do without the seeing and meeting of the actual.
A picture of a couch wannabe paisley’s gone awry, a glass topped coffee table, as could there be any other, one with an ashtray and a cigarette on hold and a toy truck in the same shot and a too big center piece that made no sense and just got in the way … always … as nonsensical center pieces seemed to have only that one job.
I rocked black socks and sneaks here, waaaay before fashion called it new cool and surely was just short black socked steps away from annoying the shit out of proper English Grandma, causing her to no doubt question her daughter’s decisions before a “Cheese”.
But Dad? This new found picture that English cousin Elizabeth came across is the first pic I’ve seen where I can put myself now and Dad then on a somewhat equal plane as I am comfortable with my current existence, as he seems here, even though I’m a few years older than he was in this shot, in his early 40’s.
You see, Dad was always old to me, not in a bad way of course, but he always just seemed to have years.
There are numerous pictures of him when he was younger, a good looking guy, even with that spot of gray always evident that would eventually take control of his whole head, he was certainly a guy who could catch an eye, and would catch an English one in our case, in a small Diner in Yorktown Heights, New York, courtesy of some machinations from his best of friend, Uncle Frank, but even those pictures, of his young, hold an old for me.
Here though he seems confident, secure, old looking but not one to worry of what that proper English Grandma might question of her daughter and her place with him. There’s a Steph (Stephen) and a Beck (Rebecca) and there would be a soon Nick (Dominic) and an always ugly couch in an our spot. A good ugly spot. He looks like he knows this was his, that he earned it or maybe I’m just projecting that into this new found picture as I know that that was the case.
His job at Social Security eventually wore him down for being too human in a place that asked him not to be, plus he wasn’t the teacher he wanted from that not quite degree put on hold, on hold, a great regret, oh to teach history, and then the cancer and this after being worn down earlier in life as the second man of the house for his younger brothers and sisters to help make ends meet along with Grandad who needed the assist to bring home some dollars comfort to Grandma and he was spent.
It’s difficult to not picture him in my mind carrying that tired but here, with a new found picture, years before those travails, Dad seems to know he was doing the Dad thing well or at least I imagine he thought so and was proud of it. He was doing the only thing that really mattered to him, no matter what may have been weighing, he was with his family, including a son who really was probably just minutes away from annoying the shit out of Grandma.
Something about pictures and thousands of words right Dad?
An old girlfriend years ago tried to give me a pig tail (s) once Beck, just for the silly of it, an almost early man bun kinda thing, like those black socks ahead of time, but for some reason I couldn’t pull them off like you. Whodathunk? Damn your cute!!
Freakin’ flimsy rubber bands.