Thursday, May 02, 2013
another patty duke show
I do not come from a large family. Even when all of my first cousins are corralled in one place.
My mother has two sisters. The three of them produced seven cousins. Two Roths (Dennis and Gary). Three Brewsters (Marsha, Danny, and Robin). And two* Cottons (Steve and Darrel -- both of whom you have met over the past five years).
I tell you this because I have some photographs to share with you.
While clearing my worldly goods from the Salem house, I ran across an album that included photographs of my youth -- and some photographs snapped by my very young hand.
I had a notion back in the first grade that I was going to become a photographer or a reporter. Maybe this blog is the realization of that 60 year old wish.
The photographs were on their way out the door when I realized they included some that other family members may want to keep. Darrel came up with a better idea. We should digitize them in case anything happens to the originals. And so he did.
The results are an interesting compilation of our cousinly youth. And proof positive that photographs tell a lot about our personalities. Especially when we were too young to perform for the camera.
I am not certain where the photograph at the top was taken. But I can easily identify what looks like an audition for the Little Rascals.
Marsha is on the far right. She is the oldest of the seven -- and is obviously concerned that the three boys are not behaving up to her standards.
Her brother, Danny, is on the far left. He is the second oldest. We lived only about 20 miles from the Brewsters. So, I saw them often -- either in Powers or Myrtle Point.
You have probably already picked me out. Second from the right. Doing what appears to be a W.C. Fields impression. I am the third oldest.
And the youngest (four months younger than yours truly) is Dennis. Second from the left. We did not see Dennis and his younger brother Gary very often.
Their father, Frank (the last soldier), was in the Coast Guard. As a result the Roths moved around. And were usually stationed far away from southern Oregon.
That may explain why Dennis does not appear to be happy sharing time with These Strangers.
And I am not certain what to make of this photograph.
Apparently, a parent thought it would be interesting to photograph Steve and Dennis sitting in our grandmother's flour drawers. By my sardonic expression, I failed to see the point of the whole thing. And Dennis appears to be no more pleased than he was in the earlier shot.
I should point out that Dennis is the person who got me interested in cruising. When I was living in Greece, Dennis and a group of friends flew over. They had signed up for a cruise. So, I joined them.
Almost thirty years later, Dennis invited me on a Panama Canal cruise. It was one of the best experiences of my life And I was hooked. We only cruised together twice after that. But Dennis got the ball rolling.
Maybe that is what we were doing in those drawers. Practicing for days at sea.
And then there is this beauty.
The scene is my grandmother's house. The family is gathered for Christmas. I know that because there are a couple of adult group shots in the album from the same gathering. I would guess the year is either 1954 or 1955.
And these are the six then-living cousins. All lined up like the Von Trapp Family singers. Darrel, me, Marsha (in back of Mom), Dennis, Danny, and Gary.
We are undoubtedly about to sing Christmas carols under the musical direction of my mother and her spiffy accordion -- that she still owns.
I have no idea why I am giving (as my brother calls it) the stink-eye to Dennis. But whatever the reason, it does not seem to concern any of the cousins -- all of whom are looking elsewhere. But there is undoubtedly a good short story embedded in there somewhere.
This would be a perfect spot for a reference to Aloise Buckley Heath. But I gave her book away during the Great Salem Clearing.
Instead, I will let Florence King wrap it all up: "True nostalgia is an ephemeral composition of disjointed memories."
And I am about as disjointed as they come.
* -- My mother writes to correctly note there were three Cottons. Craig, my older brother, who died at nine weeks, Steve, and Darrel.