For the last weekend of summer, I went back home to Long Island, to take care of some business and to be a dutiful son. Mom had a list of things for me to do. One of the last items on the list was to go through three giant plastic storage buckets full of paraphernalia commemorating my nearly twenty-six years on this Earth, and to throw out anything I didn’t feel particularly sentimental about. She was surprised to discover that I didn’t feel particularly sentimental about most of it. No, Mom, I do not need all my Little League trophies or middle school report cards. The bundles of letters I sent you from sleep-away camp can go in the garbage, too. Arts and crafts projects from nursery school will sooner turn to dust in my hands than do us any good as holiday centerpieces.
Among the things she insisted on keeping were all my school pictures. I can’t fault her for that. They were pretty funny to look through. I took a handful to Mom’s scanner before the weekend was over, because I figured you would all find them amusing.
So, let’s hop in the Way-Back Machine and travel to 1990…
Voila! Say hello to Yours Truly at age 6ish.
The first thing you’ll notice is the hair. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I used to be a blonde. Thanks, puberty.
The next thing you’ll notice is that I seem to be pretty rangy. Now, with the exception of being born at under six pounds, I don’t think I could have ever in my life been considered “skinny”; but by the looks of that jaw line, in first grade I was coming pretty close.
Finally, please note that my mother had dressed me for Picture Day in Ralph Lauren.
Let’s send our time machine back a little further, shall we?
Straight out of the Kids ‘R Us catalog, right?
This sweater combo with the matching undershirt is quite the little number, don’t you think? I’ve even got a pretty good pose here, too; early proof that I could take direction. Unfortunately, I must have been less cooperative for the barber than I was for the photographer. I realize my head’s at an angle, but that bowl cut seems to be a little slanted across the front, no?
For the record, my hair would no longer grow that far down my forehead. Thanks, age.
Finally, for the coup de grace, let’s go back to June of 1986, when Yours Truly was chosen to be one of the ring bearers at his beloved Aunt Cindy’s wedding. Drumroll, please…
Game. Set. Match. I challenge anyone out there to find a more adorable toddler in a sweeter outfit than that.
Nevertheless, I have questions. For one thing, why’d they put me in white? Isn’t that against the wedding rules? Or are the ring bearers and flower girls allowed to be in white, because the adults think it’s cute? For another thing, socks and sandals? Honestly…?
To fill out the story behind this picture: I shared ring bearing duties with my cousin Tom. I had been the picture of happiness all day. When we got our cue to walk down the aisle, Tom dutifully headed for the altar. I decided I had had enough of my mini-tux and pitched a shit-fit right there at the back of the church. My mother picked me up, carried me down the aisle, muttered to my aunt, “I told you this wouldn’t work!”, and then threw me into my father’s arms with an exasperated, “Here!”. Dad, never one for big events, hid a grin beneath his mustache and took me outside for the remainder of the service.
Just because I didn’t want to hold on to everything doesn’t mean that I’m not sentimental about the past. Far from it. But thanks to the magic of modern digital technology, I can open these little windows to the days of yore whenever I want, and peer through and think, “You’ve come a long way, buddy.”