It’s been interesting noting what I think and feel as I go through these old, medium and less-old photos.
Sometimes I’m wonder what I would tell the Colleen of That Particular Past were I given the opportunity. Sometimes I struggle to recall how I felt when the photo was taken, and whether or not I actually felt that way or am imposing freshly-minted thoughts and feelings on a ‘memory’ that exists only as a photograph. When the photos are of people and places that pre-date me, I wonder how I would enjoy time-traveling to that spot, whether the people in the photo would like me and I them, whether time travel itself will be possible at some point.
When I pulled this photo out, I debated over whether or not to scan and post it. There’s nothing notable about it really. It’s not funny or striking, and there’s no great story behind it. It was taken by a friend on a trip to Geneva, IL, a distant suburb of Chicago, some utterly forgettable street-art-city fair our excuse for the excursion.
But just as I was about to toss the snap back onto the growing pile in the center of my living room floor, the title of this post flitted (flit? floated?) through my brain. I don’t remember who described my face that way, but I do remember having been vaguely baffled and mildly offended by it. I am the issue of a classically beautiful gentile woman and a classically handsome Jewish man (proof right here, if you can overlook Stupid Period Crewcut) and I ended up looking mostly like the man, which, let’s face it, was not the card to pull in 1961 Chicago if you were planning on being Miss Illinois one day. Which I was, of course, along with Famous Writer, Famous Artist, Famous Actress and Famous Celebrity.
I know it could be worse, which makes me feel worse about feeling bad about it at all. Between my younger sister (who looks like our mother) and me, my parents had a daughter who was born with spina bifida, club feet and Downs. She lived only three months, and given that they started in 1964 or ’65, that was probably a good thing. I’m grateful to look as good as I do and since I got diagnosed with the Crohn’s, I’m even more grateful that I’m as healthy as I am.
Still, it’s always rankled a bit, this looking almost pretty. This sometimespretty: pretty when the light is right or the camera angle great or my mood superb or some mix of the above. It’s ridiculous, because not only have I not suffered from being sometimespretty, it’s largely responsible for a healthy and longish career in acting, as well. In fact, it may have been my first commercial agent who made the remark.
So the reason I paused when I saw this is because I saw it there, finally, that map of Russia. And not only do like it, I’m almost proud of it, although of course what I’m really proud of is that I feel good about my face looking just the way it does.
This is not, in case you’re wondering, a fishing expedition, although it shames me a bit to admit that certain other of these posts have been just that: Here I am, adorable at seven! Here I am, adorable at five! For the love of all that’s holy, please confirm that at the very least, I was adorable at seven and five! I curse this culture and what it does to girls without the persistent and aggressive intervention of responsible grownups (and sometimes, despite it). My mother banned Barbieâ„¢ from the house and was given to pronouncements along the lines of anything given you by Nature can be snatched back in a heartbeat by a speeding truck and a swath of asphalt. (At five she said this! and seven!) But let’s face it, when Mom has the face of a porcelain goddess, it’s hard to take her too seriously.
Speaking of which, that’s probably enough seriousness for one day. I think I’ll go see if I can dig out that meeting of Grampa’s wife and his mistress, or maybe another one of those pictures of me digging for gold south of the equator…