- Me at age 18
My brothers and me (Tim, Kathy, Scot)
I have had SO much fun this morning! It has been a total blast, like wow, man. (Shades of the 1970’s, don’t you remember how we talked?)
First, I’ve had my eye on a friendly printer/fax machine which offers the capability to scan. It’s not ours. But it’s available and the price is right.
So I headed to this faithful scanner clutching an ancient photo album from the mid-1970’s. Half of the photos are stuck in the book, adhered together, turning terrible colors, splattered with unwanted white star-like patterns. Remember those albums onto which you plastered down the photos and then forgot about ’em for years? When you try to open these albums a quarter century later, they grunt and squeal and misbehave terribly, wrecking our groovy pictures.
Fortunately, some of the photos still look halfway decent. (Some of us featured here may disagree. But I’m saying the photos look halfway decent. It’s not a commentary on the photographic subjects.)
And that would be my dad with us
Ahhh…the days of wine and roses. Back in those days, Michigan passed a law saying eighteen year olds could partake of alcohol. You know, if you could go and die for your country, you could have a mug of beer. (Don’t get me started.) The law lasted maybe two or three years, before they decided you could die for your country, but don’t you dare sample a glass of wine. (Don’t go there, Kathy. This is a friendly, respectable blog from days gone by.)
And that's Mom with us
In some ways, I grew up in a Leave-it-to-Beaver house. It was a good childhood. Mom and Dad were great, we kids never misbehaved, nobody abused us, and we emerged from our early years with only the regular neuroses, indecisions, despairs, remembrances, forgettings, loves and joys. In other words, we were an ordinary family. (And if you believe all that, I’ll tell you another one. I’m sure we misbehaved. I’m sure we did, if I could only remember.)
- Meet Grandma and Grandpa Orton
As I’ve mentioned to several others recently, I’ve mostly forgotten my childhood. It’s kind of like a past life. When people ask you, “Do you believe in past lives?” I always say yes. I’ve lived dozens of them. All in this lifetime.
Maybe that’s an effect from moving so far away from my childhood town, but I don’t think so. Some of us are destined to remember the name of our teacher in 3rd grade (Mrs. Story!) and our best friend in second grade (Carol Noble) and the name of our first dog (Buttons, followed by Chopper, both wire-haired terriers.)
Unfortunately, some of us can’t remember much more without prodding or the accompaniment of those who remember what happened with Mrs. Story in third grade. (I do recall we memorized poems. Winken, Blinken and Nod one night sailed off in a pea-green boat. I do not recall if those are really the words to the poem.)
And Grandpa and Grandma Sheldon
I recall being happy and sad. Very shy. In Kindergarten someone dared to ask–out loud, in front of the teacher–if I needed to ride the bus home. (We had just moved to the “big” town of Yale in Michigan’s Thumb from the country. No, I didn’t need to ride the bus home, but thanks for asking.) Instead I sat paralyzed and speechless in the seat, humiliated and blushing, afraid to say one single word except slowly shake my head “no” from side to side.
Your blogger has changed a bit since Kindergarten…
Tim and me in Florida, 1976
These photos were all taken between 1974-76. I graduated from high school in ’75. (We’re the class of ’75, aren’t we glad to be alive? Did we actually say that, or did I dream it? How about the Yale Bulldog song, “Sail on for Dear Yale High, the Blue and White Shall Live or Die, and every man in every way shall fight for…” Live or die? Every man? I’m sure those aren’t the real words. Like, no way! Bogus! )
- And then along came Barry…
I went off to a small college called Ferris State in the fall of 1975 (after traveling to Switzerland as an exchange student during the summer) and studied journalism.
See the handsome editor of the Ferris student newspaper? Yes, indeed. It was our Barry. And he invited this reddish-hair chick to a party at his dorm and we ended up sitting on a single bunk bed and talking–yes, talking–for five hours. Five straight hours, can ya dig it?
The rest is History. We ended up going to Michigan State together to finish up our journalism studies, followed by…yep, moving ‘way up north to Alaska–I mean the Upper Peninsula of Michigan–where we intended to be homesteadin’ back-to-the-earth tree-huggin’ natural earth folk who read the Mother Earth News and burned wood and baked bread and…well, it sort of turned out like that.
What do you remember about being eighteen? What ways are you similar and what ways are you different?
Good night, John-Boy… (only you 70’s readers will get that one…unless you have cable…in which case, you all know.)
And we're still together, all these years later. (We look a little different, though.)
P.S. Hoping all immediate family members will forgive me for this blog, including the grandparents looking down from the afterworld and saying, “Did we really look like that?”