In The Beginning

I love to look at old photographs, especially if I am in them.

Wade 1954

It is ironic to me that Salinger spoke of ‘all that David Copperfield kind of crap’ in the first line of Catcher in the Rye, when David Copperfield is one of my favorite books and the enigmatic Salinger one of my favorite authors.

In the beginning, I didn’t exist.  I have no memory of that time. The first memory I have, of my life on earth as a human, is as a small child, about two years old, in our house in Bowness, Alberta.  This would have been during the latter part of 1955. Bowness would have still been a small community on the outskirts of Calgary at the time.  This information, of course, I wouldn’t have known back then.  Our house, however, I remember quite clearly and I have many memories that remain quite vivid from that early time. The event of this photo taking remains with me still.  It was taken in mid-1955 (a guess).  It was taken by a professional photographer who made house calls.  He brought his equipment and set up in our living room. I am seated on a floor carpet that was draped over the console television set. My father had combed my hair into a ‘wave’, as was the style of the time. My arms are outstretched, as the photographer attempted to catch some expression from me by throwing a rubber ball for me to catch.  It was red. Memories, lucid ones, from this age are quite rare, I realize, and this is not a testimonial of my amazing gift of infant recall, just something I remember. So this first reflection is ‘how is it that I can remember the tall thin photographer, with heavy brylcream in his hair, tossing a red ball to me so I wouldn’t look like a dead fish in my first childhood portrait but I can’t recall what I had for dinner this past Tuesday?’ There are a couple other portraits from early photo shoots that I will show you later. Dressed in suit pants and a sporty blazer so that I had the appearance of a real little ‘man’.

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