Before my big head overtook my big features, I was a pretty photogenic kid. As proof, I offer up to you the following piece of electrifying photojournalism, from the Chicago Tribune, August 30, 1964:
I have no real memories prior to age 3; most of things I call ‘memories’ are just admixtures of other people’s stories, my own wishful thinking and crumbling photos like these. There are still some people around who could confirm how this afternoon of ‘fashion’ went down: my Aunt Mary, who is helping me on with my, um, bathing trunks. And I think that’s Aunt Patti looking on, in the background.
What strikes me the most about old, old photos like these is not whatever weird, random event was happening or how funny we look but how happy I seem.
My maternal grandmother, the one who bore these two particular aunts, along with seven other children, once said I’d always had a ‘sunny disposition’. (I was around 36 when she said it, so I’m pretty sure it actually happened.)
The happiness itself I mainly remember through pictures. Because the years between 10 and 40 were not so happy, mostly. Of course here, even 10 was a long way off, so of course I’m happy. Ignorance being bliss and all that.
Ignorance and patent-leather Mary Janes and someone to help you put them on…