I think I'm between five or six years old in this photo. That's me in the cool pants--my sister Logan in a clown salute, and my cousin Sherry holding the puppy. Let's say late 1974. From the fence behind us, I'm guessing this was the backyard of my parents' first house in Winston--my first home--Nana lived there a short time--after we moved to our new house in Asheboro, the little town we'd only just arrived in, for Dad's new job.
It wasn't long before Nana left Winston, to help raise my sister and I. Our living room was still completely unfurnished at the time of the car accident--the autumn afternoon when Dad's VW got hit head-on on Old Thomasville Road by an over-medicated lady in a Buick. (He was delivering leftover pumpkins to Nana, so she could make pumpkin pie.) Evidently, Dad's VW Beetle did not have a collapsible steering column, or it didn't work properly, either way, the steering wheel extended into the cab and collapsed his chest, and therefore his heart. (I would say crushed, but that sounds sentimental, and somehow weak.)
That expression on my childhood face, I still wear it--a partial scowl, long-distance stare, faint smile. After the photo, and we brought Nana home with us, my Mother went into her bedroom and did not come out again until 1982, (when she ordered a couch and two chairs for the living room). We listened at the door as she loudly counted out the sleeping pills, to let us know she had enough to kill herself. Years afterward, in those early adulthood confrontational times, when Mom reminded us of this simple truth, we'd frantically change the subject.
By age eight, I'd determined what my chief occupation should be. I wanted to make up stories. I lied and hid and watched and invented. Still, nearing thirty years later, I tell variations of the same story, over and over. To give you an example, when I posted this image moments ago and began writing, all I intended to point to was I'm wearing the same outfit today as the one in the photograph, just a much larger size. Cyclical fashion and all that.