My daughter’s high school graduation ceremony was more than a month ago, but her graduation party this weekend felt much more like the door closing on this chapter.
Earlier in the week, K and one of her friends had spent several hours selecting pictures and putting them on poster boards to display at the party. This picture in particular – which I had actually forgotten about – really jumped out at me:
She’s holding a fuzzy caterpillar. Something about her expression and posture and the sunlight just come together in a way that somehow both reflects the moment the picture was taken and strikes chords of her personality that still ring true today.
This may be my favorite picture of me and my dad:
I had placed this sometime around 1973, but thanks to the incredible archive at Doug Gilford’s Mad Cover Site, I’ve discovered it’s got to be at least early 1975 which would make me 4 years old. I’m reading the March issue, Dad’s got Super Special #14, and the December ’74 issue is there in the foreground.
I can remember that bedspread and its texture; and the feel and weight of those dark yellow plastic plates that appear to have some bologna sandwiches on them; and the brown plastic bowl, too.
It looks like I’ve got a kids’ book at lower right, but I’d bet I’ve set it aside in favor of Spy vs. Spy.
I’ve been fascinated for awhile now with “Looking Into the Past” pictures and manipulated photos, so I thought I’d give it a shot this afternoon.
I live across the street from the house where I grew up – my youngest brother and his family live there now – and my mom kept volumes and volumes of family photos, so the resources were close at hand.
Two things I learned: 1) The whole hold-the-picture-out-with-one-hand-and-shoot-with-the-other thing is difficult for me, but it didn’t occur to me until awhile later that I could also 2) take a new photo, scan the original, and put ’em together using the computer.
No big deal. At any rate, here’s the result of my hour’s worth of work (which included looking through the photo albums for a suitable test shot):
A few things:
- Original photo is from the late 1970s or extremely early 1980s
- Yes, this is a composite. I took almost the exact same photo twice. In one, the old picture was in focus, and the “real world” blurred. In the second, the reverse was true. The angles were close enough that I combined the in-focus portions.
- What may be difficult to tell from this picture is the degree of change in the background. Although the trees at the top center of the photo might seem at first glance to line up with the treeline in the old photo, if you could see the horizon line, it’s pretty close to lining up. Those treetops you see above the edge of the old photo are actually the full-grown pines that are barely visible in the old picture. Not the mid-sized pines you see in the mid-ground, mind you – there are two rows of extremely young pine trees just beyond those, and it’s those two rows now standing sentinel at the field’s edge.
I had enough fun with this that I’ll try it again with other pictures.
Last fall, I flew from Louisville, Ky. to Chicago Midway for a business trip. It was a cloudless flight, but it had snowed north of Indianapolis, so we were treated to a very cool view of the transitioning landscape below as it went from patchwork green to sun-glare reflections and powder white.
They’re not the best photos, being from the cell phone and dealing with the sun and the reflections and all, but I really like the way several of them came out, and I’m always kind of enthralled by the way hills and river valleys look from the air.
When we landed at Midway, I lucked into a shot with the Sears Tower (yes, I still call it that) as a vanishing point for shadows and runway guides:
For the record, that’s a 7x10x3.25-inch box. Ferris put himself in there and is sound asleep in all of these pictures.
My mom, my daughter and I drove to Upper Sandusky on Thursday, Dec. 29, to visit my grandma. We spent several hours with her, going out for a late lunch and hanging out in the big sun room of the facility where she lives. My nephews were there, and my brother and sister-in-law, and my aunt and uncle, too.
On the way home, mom and I talked about her childhood in Upper, and she asked me about my earliest memories, which go back to living in the farmhouse where she grew up. We stayed there with my grandparents during some of my dad’s service in the Air Force. We were both a little surprised to find that I have an accurate memory of the kitchen tile floor pattern, even though I was less than a year old when we moved in.
More than usual – maybe it was the early sunset, maybe it was the bare, harvested fields stretching into the distance – Upper Sandusky felt very much today like a tiny outpost on the edge of a vast gulf of land and sky and constant wind. It’s not an unfamiliar or unpleasant feeling, but it was particularly strong this afternoon.
This is not Bloomfield, New Jersey.
Neither is it New York Comic Con.
Both are places Jenn and Kelsey and I were supposed to be visiting this weekend for a long-anticipated get-together with friends and a GeekDad panel at the convention.
We were supposed to leave this morning. Unfortunately, it turns out my car needs a new wheel bearing, and it needs it now. Frakafrakkingfrak.
This all came to light yesterday, and I was tremendously pissed off and mopey and sad. A couple hours of Wednesday’s regularly scheduled Dungeons & Dragons Encounters at Backlist Books helped, as did an unexpected but very welcome past-midnight phone call from my old friend Ivan, whose family we were going to stay with for the weekend.
I drove my car to the mechanic’s this morning. It’s only about a mile-and-a-quarter from our house, so I walked home. It was bright and mild, and because it rained yesterday, the air was full of fall: the smell of wet leaves in the sun, an occasional whiff of apples, acres of corn husks drying and the sound of leaves falling in the woods.
(It wasn’t all pretty: My walk also included two cross-the-road detours to avoid recently deceased possums.)
I reminded myself of what I’d told Ivan last night: I’m planning to make the most of the time off work. I have three writing projects I’d like to tackle, movies and TV shows I’d like to enjoy with a beer or two, a book to finish and another to start.
I’m still frustrated over the scuttled weekend plans, of course: I haven’t been able to attend a GeekDad panel since the first one at PAX East in 2009; my friend Kirk is signing his book at Comic Con; I was looking forward to catching up with Bonnie Burton; and we don’t see Ivan and his family nearly enough. Jenn and Kelsey are also missing a reunion with one of Jenn’s oldest friends and a belly dancing convention.
Big-picture-wise, though, it’s just an inconvenience, and there will be other conventions and other excellent times with friends.
This was a good walk home.