Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Linda

Isn't it amazing how evocative photographs can be? This one of my cousin Linda recently showed up as her profile picture on Facebook. It was her birthday and she was remembering time gone-by with posting it. The site of the photograph stopped me cold in thoughtful memory. I had seen that photograph and maybe there was even a copy of it in our family photograph album, with black glued corners holding it in place.

Suddenly I was approximately the same age as Linda or a little older. I lived on Kedzie Avenue, attended Mather High School, resurfaced all the confusion and frustrations of a teenager. I again felt the emotions and doubts of a Gay teenager who wasn't "out," didn't really know what Gay meant; only felt different, an outcast, called "queer" and "fag" by the more confident of his classmates.

I relived dating girls, exploring heterosexuality, necking & petting, not knowing if my dad would let me have the car for a weekend date. Not being a good student, worrying about how I dressed and how I looked, sucking at all sports, working at HiLo Grocery Store stocking shelves, taking the bus most places, and triple dating with my school buddies and best friends Rick and Jeff (both of whom died shortly after we finished college.)

I remembered my parents' "Couples Club" and "Cousins Club." Once a month, the "Couples" would alternate houses to get together for dinner, drinks, and to play cards. The "Cousins" would get together less often but would collect "dues" to be put towards a big once a year celebration like going out en mass to a nightclub with a show, or dinner club with dancing.

I thought about Linda's mom and dad, Mildred and Irving, her brothers Sheldon & Sherwin, and how I enjoyed spending time with their family. I remember hearing my mom say that Linda always hoped she could grow up faster so we could get married. I can still smell and taste the wonderful cookies that Mildred was such an expert at creating.

All this and more from seeing a single photograph.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Michael! Thanks for sharing all of this! Old photos evoke the same type of memories in me, and it's interesting to go down memory lane once in a while.
    We had a good childhood and for the most part those memories are pretty good....especially the ones spent with great cousins, like you.
    Love you.


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