I looked at the Sepia Saturday prompt photo for three days; I stopped by computer several times every day to take another look, but couldn’t find a theme that intrigued me.
Radios? I thought; three pictures on the wall? Clocks, or sailor collars? Boys and girls? Ornate chair backs? Children’s furniture? Stuffed animals, dolls? Blonde children?
A certain slant of light and shadow?
And then it came to me: one adult, four children…
This is the summer of 1949; I am almost three years old.
That’s my aunt Hope sitting down; she’s got me on her knees in the center of the photograph. My brother John (6) is on the right, and my cousins Martha (7) and Sheila (5), investigating something on my right shoulder, to the left.
We’re at my grandparents’ summer house in Jaffrey, New Hampshire; it’s probably the first week in August, when Hope and her children overlapped with my mother and us every summer—they lived in Pennsylvania and we lived in Maine, so it was the only time we saw each other as children.
I can almost feel the sunlight on the side of my face.
Just out of range, behind my brother, is the pile of clean, white sand we used to play in for hours—my grandmother supplied us with measuring cups, spoons, tinware; she collected coffee cans and little pails and scoops for us. When we were older, we built enormous cities (with roads and bridges, houses, etc.) in that sandpile. We pulled small pine seedlings from the woods and stuck them along our roads (landscaping); built twig fences and such!
But at this stage of the game, I liked eating that sand more than playing with it, so was guarded at all times by a Responsible Adult.
Today is my 69th birthday, so this photo was taken sixty-six years ago; it’s hard for me to see myself in that little blonde girl, but if I look very carefully, I can find myself in her eyes, her mouth…
Happy birthday to her…