Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I remember this day.

The shirt was white and red and white and blue and white. The shorts were stippled gray and white, and had a grainy texture. The day was hot and there was a cool breeze. I played with a bucket and a little metal shovel.

I remember the day we got the dog, Tor the Wonder Dog. It couldn't have been much before this. My father trained him to never bark. When I was 12 they put him down without telling me. He just disappeared. About a week later my mother mentioned it. "Yeah, I figured that was what happened."

I remember the camera. You'd hold it at chest level and look down into a sort of viewing lens; the image showed upside down. I remember the day my father brought home this picture. It's 12 by 16, in a frame. He said he'd been walking along the beach and looked into a boat, and there it was, this picture. I believed it.

I don't know how old I was. Three or four. Sometime between 1962 and '64. How long is a dog? That would be a clue.

I'm surprised how much I look like my mother, here.

I don't remember any emotions from that day. It's a posed picture, though, and that can be traumatic. I look happy. Must have been a good day.



indiana joan said...

Gah. Why is a significant part of our life spent feeling the scars inflicted by our parents? Yours reminded me of one of mine.

I was 14 and playing with my 3 year old nephew when my dad walked in and said, "Mike, do you have a grandpa?" Puzzled, Mike pointed at my dad and said, "Yup. It's you." My dad then said, "Well, Joan doesn't." He turned around and walked out of the room.

And that is how I learned that my grandfather was dead.

Sweet, huh? Not that I want to start comparing horror stories with you, because I have a distinct feeling that you would win. But sometimes it's comforting to know that there are others who have gone through similar things.

So I'm told.


Jack H said...

That's very odd. I don't think of any of this as a horror story. Was it the dog? Something about your story sounds very familiar. There's an old joke, but that's not it. I'll have to brood on it.


Jack H said...

Oh yeah. Got it. It was how I found out my grandfather had died. The phone rang, and my mother answered it, and as soon as she'd said hello, the silence. I knew. I was twelve. Again. She called me up from my room, and I waited for her to go through the ritual of telling me, and I was already prepared, so that as soon as she said it I knew what to do. I didn't say anything. Just took her into my arms and hugged her. I was taller than she was by then. Funny that I already knew how useless words are.

But that's a good story.