When I was a kid, I’d get out boxes of old photographs. I’d stare at the pictures of my parents when they were younger and thinner and I’d try to learn something that I didn’t already know from those pictures. I tried to peer into the images and wanted desperately for them to reveal some hidden truth about my folks and about my life.
There’s a picture of me and Brad Edwards, sitting in the dirt, playing with a couple of trucks. I can’t be entirely certain if I can actually remember that day, or just remember looking at a picture of that day.
Another image: my father standing by a motorcycle he no longer had. He was skinny and his hair was dark brown, not gray. He must have been about 27. I was a little baby and sat on the seat of the bike. My sister, just a couple years older than me, sat there, too.
Sometimes I hear people say they don’t want to be photographed. They don’t like how they look, they tell me. They want to wait until they loose a few pounds, they say. That always makes me sad. Don’t they see, the pictures aren’t for them. They are for their children, for their families, who will look at those pictures and be so glad someone had the foresight to take them.