June 16, 2022

Me and Jeff in the Lilburn Den, 1973 or 74

Shown here are me and Jeff, in our Lilburn house's den as I have no memory of it ever being.

This had to be 1973 or 1974, sometime in the first year in which we lived in this house. It was in this room, the den, that every year we put up our tree and had Christmas – though in this picture the room is clearly not decorated for the season; I suspect this picture was made shortly after our first Christmas in this house – maybe even before we'd ever had a Christmas here! In any case, though I do remember lots of Christmases in this room, I don't remember the room being furnished and arranged quite like this.

Some of what you see here I do remember: Behind me and Jeff, largely in shadow, is the house's official entrance – not quite big enough to earn the title "foyer," though maybe that's what it was – where the front door was, though we hardly ever used that door; we mostly came in through the garage (which led into the kitchen). There's an orange light fixture hanging down, and a cabinet against the wall, with a candle holder and a photo album on top of it. We kept our photo albums in this cabinet (except for the album that was on top of it), and I remember looking through those photo albums often through the years. Let me pause here to express my eternal gratitude to Mom for arranging all of our pictures in photo albums – not to mention for making sure those pictures were taken in the first place (almost certainly including this one).

Okay, so that entrance, with the cabinet and light fixture and even those wall sconces, I do remember. But most of the other stuff you can see in this picture I don't remember.

Behind us, nearly in the corner, sits a rocking chair; it looks like a good rocking chair, but I really don't remember having it. Behind that, actually in the corner, stands either a small bookcase or a rolling cart; whatever it was, it appears to have books stacked on it. On the left side of the picture you can see the back of a very dated old metal office chair; Dad obviously had his desk there then, though I mostly remember his desk being along a different wall (and the desk at which I often sat playing Frogger and Space Invaders on the Apple II we had in the late 70s and early 80s was a different desk anyway). To the right of that, near the rocking chair, with a squarish vase of fake flowers atop it, squats a short metal cabinet of sliding drawers that Dad still has in his office at home today (though in a different house, of course).

I don't know if anyone else is remotely interested in these musings or not. I doubt that me describing old photographs of places I remember from my youth, and trying to explain what I see in the photographs, appeals to too many other folks. But it means a lot to me to look back at these old pictures, in this case from almost fifty years ago, especially when the picture shows something I don't remember.

It also gives me a good excuse to point out, as I think I've noted before, that Jeff and I used to be cute little kids! What happened?!

June 02, 2022

Me in Pearl's Apartment, 1992

Man, I used to be young!

These two pictures, showing me without a trace of gray in my hair or beard, were taken in my friend Pearl's apartment, almost certainly by Pearl, thirty years ago in 1992. (It may well have been 1993, but "twenty-nine years ago" doesn't have a satisfying evenness to it. So let's stick with 1992.) I was all of twenty-five years old – practically still a kid! (Unless I was twenty-six, but again that isn't as satisfying a number – but a twenty-six-year-old is also practically a kid.)

I'm still wearing those large-framed glasses that I got back when I had really long and thick hair. The frames didn't seem so large when I first got them, amongst all that hair, but as my college graduation approached, I got my hair cut in a (misguided) attempt at looking respectable (just a couple of years before these pictures were taken, actually), and with the shorter hair the frames looked too big. To me now, anyway – I guess I didn't mind then, though, because I kept those glasses for a really long time, I think over ten years. One of the perks of being young – as I used to be, once upon a time; did I mention that? – is that your eyes don't change much from year to year, and you can keep the same glasses for a decade. Now I wear "progressive" lenses (which doesn't mean they're in favor of LGBTQ rights or gun control, though being my glasses they'd damn well better be; it means they're like bifocals – you know, old folks' glasses – but without the line) but less than a year after getting my current pair, I can barely read with them on. (Thankfully I can see just fine to drive, though.)

When these pictures were taken I'd been working at ExecuTrain for a couple of years. The shirt I'm wearing, a charcoal-gray button-down dress shirt, was one of my work shirts; I tried to shake things up by never wearing plain old white dress shirts. In fact, I had a decent collection of plaid, checked, and denim dress shirts; I fancied myself something of a sartorial iconoclast, a rebel – but really I wasn't. Especially since at work I had to wear a tie and dress pants, which I did loyally for several years (my idea of "dress pants" then was mostly khakis, either tan, olive, or navy, but they were close enough to dress pants and I wasn't alone in wearing them). This picture was probably taken on a Saturday night, so I didn't need my tie or khakis.

I'd like to add that, in addition to a decent collection of plaid, checked, and denim dress shirts, I had a good collection of cartoon and novelty ties – Sesame Street ties, Peanuts ties, Dr. Seuss ties – and a decent amount of Christmas ties. I still have many of them today, and sometimes I actually miss wearing a tie every day. Until I put one on, that is; then I don't miss it so much.

Speaking of clothing, I entered the corporate world at the end of an era; when I started at ExecuTrain in 1990, most of my male coworkers wore suits – or at least dress shirts and khakis, like me – and women were required to wear, by the old fashioned and even-then-out-of-date dress code, dresses or skirts – definitely not pants or pant suits. A decade later, I could have worn just what I'm wearing in this picture to work. In fact, there were times in the early 2000s when I could have worn what I'm wearing in these pictures to work and been overdressed, since some of my coworkers would occasionally wear shorts and T-shirts.