Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Every Picture Tells a Story, Don’t It? (Prologue)

One picture, three stories.
It’s interesting how memories beget other memories, stories beget other stories, and so on. In 1971 when I was in ninth grade, Rod Stewart released an album entitled, Every Picture Tells a Story. Not only did it produce the song that became my introduction into sexual fantasy in popular music (and one of my all-time favorite pop tunes), Maggie May, the album’s title planted a thought into my head that I’ve carried around and have pondered constantly ever since.

Even though the title song’s name seems almost to be an afterthought in the song itself, the concept of the phrase became so profound to me that I practically accepted it literal doctrine. I began to see things in the context of every painting, every photograph, and every scene in life telling a story about the people, places, circumstances, sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of someone’s existence at that given moment in time. And the beauty of it is what that one image can bring to us: the joy, the sorrow, the pain, the wonder.

I love photographs. I love how they make me feel and think, regardless of who their subject might be. That’s one reason I love to collect old Life and Look magazines, to gaze at their photos and imagine the lives of people from another era, wondering what it would be like to be in their skin at the moment the shutter was snapped.

There are times I long to be someone else, just to see how it would feel. But then I remember how lucky I am to just be me. Not that I’m anything special. I have no illusions of being someone whose life should be envied, not by a long shot. On the contrary, I’ve seen much more sorrow and hardship than I would ever wish upon anyone. But it is my life, and overall, I’m pretty happy just being in my own skin.

For all the screwed up circumstances involving my Mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease while I was growing up, I’d have to say I had a pretty happy childhood, particularly during the time leading up to our move to California in 1969.

As I’ve mentioned before, due to the fact that with my Mom was sick, and my Dad had to work as much overtime as he could to pay the doctor bills, there was a period of about 3-4 years during my early adolescence in which he just wasn’t around a lot. I was pretty much free to do whatever I wanted to do, and I took advantage of it — not that I ever did anything particularly mischievous; instead, I was just free to be a kid (and I had a great time doing it too).

The picture on the right is a slice of my childhood — a rather large slice. It tells a lot of little stories, but in particular, three that I will talk about in this series.

I might not be Rod Stewart, but I’m going to have a LOT of fun relating the stories that this picture tells!

Next: Story 1 of 3: Cousin E
blog comments powered by Disqus