Thursday, June 24, 2021

Throwback Thursday: Dad and Jeff and Me on the Sofa, 1974

I love looking at this kind of photograph, an "everyday life" picture with no clearly associated event or holiday, just us in our house being us. The house is, of course, our house in Lilburn, and "us" in this case is me, in the middle, Jeff, and Dad. This picture is from February of 1974, a couple of months before I turned seven and right around the time Jeff turned four. Dad was only twenty-nine when this picture was made--still practically a kid himself! (Though near the end of that year he did turn thirty.) When this picture was made I was a little more than half-way through first grade, Miss McDowall's class at Bethesda Elementary. Jeff hadn't started school at all yet.

Behind us is the pool table that we had for the first few years we lived in Lilburn. I vaguely remember playing pool, but my biggest memory involving the pool table is this: Mom and Jan were working on a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, which they kept, for reasons I'm not clear about, on a rolling board under the pool table (or maybe they just put it there temporarily, I don't know), and one day Jeff and Alan got under there and messed it up so much that they (Mom and Jan) just gave up on it. I reminded Mom of this a few years ago, but she didn't remember it. I remember it well. In any case, I don't think we had the pool table past 1978.

On the left side of the frame at the top you can see a red bookcase which Anna and I have now; as I write this, it's in our bedroom on Anna's side with a lot of picture books and middle-grade and YA novels and library books on it. There are some books on the bookcase in this picture, but I can't tell what they are. It looks like there might be a set or a series there; where they cookbooks, perhaps? You can also see--or at least I can see; if you didn't already know what they were, you probably wouldn't recognize them--a set of crossed-swords bookends (or at least you can see one of them), which I think I might have had at some point. I don't know where they are now.

Near the top right corner--but not quite in the corner--is another object you might not recognize if you didn't already know what it is: a roundish red bun warmer, sitting on or beside the stove. I can't distinguish any of the other objects on the stove or the kitchen counters, up there at the top of the frame, though I'm sure there's a blender and a coffee maker there, and, who knows?, maybe a waffle maker. The folding wooden doors at the back of the kitchen are quite visible; behind them was the washing machine and dryer, and also the water heater. On the left side of the kitchen you can see the refrigerator, green, which I'm pretty sure was the same refrigerator we had a decade later when I was in high school.

I wish like anything I knew what book that is open between me and Dad. Jeff and I are both in our pajamas--was this nighttime, just before bed, or was it one morning? I suspect it was night. That yellow shirt Dad is wearing could have been a dress shirt he wore to work that day, or it could have been just what he was wearing on the day this was taken. What was going on that made Jeff look so wary of me and Dad? What was that pattern on Jeff's pajamas? What prompted Mom to take this picture?

Whatever it was, I'm glad she did. I cherish these reminders of how great it was to be a kid in the 1970's.

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