Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An Old Photograph

There's a picture taken a half century ago that I still have to this day. It was taken on roll film in a Kodak Brownie camera in a square format. It's a 3" X 3" B&W photo. I actually have hundreds of photos that fit that general description, but the one I'm talking about is of a group of kids in the summer between their Kindergarten and first grade school years. There are about ten kids, eight seated and two standing, at a long table in a church basement. The kids are at Vacation Bible School on a summer morning in 1958. My mother took the picture of the group. We're giving thanks before our mid-morning snack of crackers and milk. Everyone who sees the picture smiles. The boys are all in striped knit shirts and elastic-waist shorts or dress pants and short-sleeved dress shirts. Every boy is wearing Buster Brown shoes or something similar. The girls are all in print summer dresses. They have curled hair, ankle high white socks, and patent leather shoes. In an age where people wear cargo shorts and flip-flops to Sunday services it's quaint and fun to see how little kids were dressed up to go to a summertime Bible School class.

The boy standing up in the picture, hands folded in prayer in front of him, is me. The girl standing up with her eyes closed, hands folded, and head bowed is wearing a summer dress that's shaped like a bell. I am the only one in the picture who has his head up and eyes open and I am looking directly at that little girl. Now people laugh because it looks like I'm scoping her out. Even my mother always thought the picture was cute because I was a "mischievous scamp." Of course she was also careful to tell me I should have had my head bowed and my eyes closed. Over the years some girlfriends have seen the picture and they always laugh because they think I'm just "so cute" and obviously looking at the prettiest girl in the room. I never tell anybody the truth. First I was about 5 years old and had no more interest in girls than I had in quantum mechanics. More importantly, they had just put the Ritz crackers out and that girl took the two from my plate and put them on hers just before they told us to bow our heads and give thanks. The picture was snapped as I was waiting for the prayer to end so I could go down and grab my cracker rations back from the thief who took them from me in the basement of our church. I wasn't "checking her out", I was waiting to get my crackers back, and I feared God enough to wait until the prayer was over. Every picture may tell a story, but what it tells you might not be the truth.

As I walked down the hallway back to my dorm room where Diana waited I didn't think of that picture. But looking back I know this much, if Diana saw that picture right then she would have said, "Look at you, Wil! Checking out the hot blond!" And if Jackie had seen it, knowing what had transpired over the past 24 hours, she would have said, "You were a lousy bastard even then!" And she wouldn't have punched me like she usually did, because she only did that when she liked me. They both would have been wrong. But how would that simple fact matter? As I opened the door I saw Diana in bed, covers pulled up just far enough to cover her breasts about half way. I knew she had been out of bed because she had put my Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers album on. She looked so good, and I felt like such a shit. A big, stinking pile of shit.


Lakey said...

Thank god that pesky morality isn't going to get in the way of more Diana. It's not, right? :)

The highest compliment I can give you is that you write so well that I'm terribly envious. I absolutely LOVED this post... and I would kill to see that photo of young Wil.

Polar said...

I can Totally relate to were your are at in your story. The difference is that so far, I have only had 1 woman at this point in my life...only a few years younger than you.
That might change very soon, at HER arraignment!
Most think of us males as a "walking hard-on", looking for the next place to plant, but for me...When I give my heart...It is bonded there!!!!!
Thank you for Sharing your life with us.

Ms. Inconspicuous said...

Well, Wil, you know what they say--sometimes a cracker is just a cracker. ;)

Wil said...

lakey-- kill? what about $$$ ?
seriously, a compliment about writing ability from you is golden.

polar-- thank you for the comment-- and thank blogger for allowing it and not deleting it, yet... but, arraignment? yikes!

Ms.I-- the bitch took my Ritz!

Ms. Inconspicuous said...

And hence started your taste for slightly bratty women? Just being presumptive. . . *wicked grin*

Riff Dog said...

Oh, Ms I is sharp today! I have the same presumptions, but don't tell me if they're right!

Cheating Wife said...

I liked that post - a lot.

Telling in so many ways. ;-)

For the record, I thought my Mom was the only one who called me a "Scamp." She still does fairly often, actually.

Kyra said...

Jackie? Oh yeah. That's right. I forgot about her.

Damn cute picture you paint of yourself. I'd probably think find either the mischievous scamp or the justice-seeking cracker-eating boy completely adorable.

I know how you felt at that moment. Still, I have a feeling soon you will be thinking more of the moment that came before it.

I must be sick and twisted to enjoy Diana and your fall from grace so much. Not that I didn't like Jackie. But Diana had me at "little miss no tits"....

Cate said...

For some reason I keep thinking of the Micheal Jackson song about 'Dirty Diana' when you write about your experiences with Diana. The song is not great but I think the title gets it right. There is just something about this redhead that I don't like. But I suspect she hasn't finished with Wil just yet.

Cate xxx

Wil said...

Ms. I- how razor sharp the serpent's tongue today? no, that was yesterday, sorry

Riff- my taste in women is similar to yours: breathing

cw- telling? I'll NEVER tell! glad you enjoyed it

kyra- you are not sick & twisted abt. my "fall from grace"... free will you know... or Free Wil anyway

cate- reading my little story made you think of Michael Jackson? I am speechless. ;-) What if i told you her real name is Kate?

pitseleh said...

i have an old class picture in nursery school where i was standing behind this boy and had my hands on his shoulders. for years everybody said i had a crush on him. the truth was my mom painted my nails pink and i wanted them to see that in the picture.

yeah, i get it

Wil said...

pitseleh- perfect. thanks.

Cate said...

Kinky Kate?

Cate xxx

Cate said...

BTW, I still don't like her.

Cate xxx