Monday Musings: An Image Of A Former Self
My theory about getting older is; we may intellectually be able to look in the mirror and accept what we see…signs of middle age and all. But somewhere in the recesses of our mind lives the younger version of us, the persona we’ve created of who we think we were back then. Photos from our youth often reinforce our memories through the family stories that accompany them. “Oh that was the day you caught a bigger fish than Uncle Johnny up at the lake”.
By the time we’ve looked at those photos a hundred times, we don’t “see them” anymore, we have long ago invested in the younger, mythical version of them. So when recently, out of the blue, an old friend who is retiring and selling her house, presented me with a photo from our shared teenage years that I didn’t know existed, the jolt was visceral. Who was that girl, and where in my self-directed tableau did she belong.
Looking out from the crinkled paper with staple holes in it, was an earnest young woman with a slightly coquettish smile and beehive hairdo, proudly displaying the letter sweater of her current beau. I stared at her for a long time, enlarging the photo so I could study her face. She stared back from within a gorgeous autumn day; one of those rare gifts of Indian Summer, filled with golden warmth and colored leaves. Off to a football game perhaps or about to go for one of the last rides of the season in a convertible.
The photo’s focus is sharp, the colors still crisp, but the subject remains an enigma, unrecognizable in her youth and naiveté.