Second, I'm mildly terrified that I'll manage to destroy the photos before I digitize them. I've been very careful, but every Titanic has its iceberg. Before flying home from Buffalo, I packed them in my carry-on bag. I checked my other bag, so that my hands wouldn't be too full, and my attention wouldn't be distracted from the precious cargo in my carry-on.
You can probably guess what happened at the TSA checkpoint: the blue-shirted apparatchiks manning the scanners decided that my bag posed A Threat To National Security, and one of them dipped her latex-gloved mitts into it, poking and prodding and ultimately dumping the lot onto a stainless steel table. One of the oldest and most interesting photos -- a man who might be my great-grandfather Amasa Pearce, posing with his coworkers on a factory production floor -- got ripped during the examination. This kind of thing keeps me up at night.
So here's another round of photos:
Dad, Grand-Pa, and Aunt Kathy, in front of the house on Sixth Avenue, on the day
of Mom's graduation from high school, June 1960
Grand-Ma and Grand-Pa's back yard, Sixth Avenue, North Tonawanda.
That's Aunt Kathy in the front row, Mary Beth, Mom, Dad, Grand-Ma and me in the back. Given Kathy's clothing, I assume this was taken the day of her First Holy Communion. Given the size of Mary Beth, I'm guessing it's the summer of 1965.
Mary Beth, me, and in the foreground, Todd. This appears to have been taken while on a family outing, most likely in the Summer of 1969.
The back yard at the Paul Revere House, Boston, Massachusetts, 1972.
Me, Todd, Mary Beth, Mom, and Mitchell.
We close with a moment of sublime weirdness. This is Colonial Williamsburg, 1973.
The man is back is Dad. The grinning fellow in red is Thad. The boy in the tank top is a kid who wandered up and asked, "Can I be in your picture?" As far as I know, we never got his name. Why this kid wanted to be in our family photo remains a mystery. Perhaps he was a local, who passed the summer days inserting himself into strangers' vacations photos, like some pre-teen Zelig. Perhaps he'd been kidnapped by a cabal of tricornered hat fetishists, and this was a desperate attempt, in those benighted days when milk cartons were just milk cartons and not missing children posters, to get his face out into the world. Maybe he just liked having his picture taken. Maybe he yearned to be before the camera, craved it, was positively driven by the need, especially when the appearance involved wearing eccentric headgear. This was 37 years ago, and the kid appears to be about ten in the photo, which would make him the same age as...JOHNNY DEPP. Coincidence? You be the judge:
...And the Piece of Resistance:
THE TRICORNERED HAT!!!