It’s Retro Week on Facebook this week, so time for me to scan a few baby pictures for the cause. For those of you who haven’t caved to the masses and are not on Facebook, here’s a little explanation. On my profile page, I have a small thumbnail photo, usually of yours truly, and mostly recent. For Retro Week the unofficial mandate asked Facebookers to post a profile picture from the old days. I had a cute one posted of my husband and I from our earliest days as a couple (and can you believe that picture is almost 20 years old !?), but everyone had seen that one, so for the fun of joining in the Retro Week hula-hoop-la, I found myself this morning with photo album in lap, sitting in front of the scanner.
I have very few photos of myself from before 1980. All of the photos that encompass my first 7 years line just 35 magnetic photo album pages. I know… Another project! Hey, started scanning it today! But anyway… Maybe today with the 5 year anniversary looming just 2 days away, I should have skipped looking and scanning which eventually led to crying.
It’s not that I look back at those years as particularly painful. Truthfully, I don’t really remember most of them. It’s not that I resent the life after those days either. For the most part I had a very happy childhood, surrounded by so many people who loved and cared for me. I had siblings, friends, family vacations, Easter Egg hunts and over flowing Christmas Stockings. My memories are that it was as happy if not happier than the life depicted in those 35 pages. Each picture that flashed up on my computer screen brought back some kind of memory, some from way back and some much newer.
An innocent picture of my brother and I standing in front of Medical Lake in Spokane, WA reminded me of a particularly funny story. My little brother, whom I called Danny in the old days, was an exuberant and rascally kind of boy. He had tons of energy, was very curious and never really could leave well enough alone. I often thought his round blond head was cartoonish. He reminded me of Dennis the Menace and his antics certainly lived up to that stereotype!
Our family owned a small Chrysler sailboat and most of our family time in those days was spent sailing on the lakes around Spokane. I loved that little pale yellow boat. At 6 years old I was becoming quite a little sailor and could navigate all 15 feet of it through calm water with little help from my father. I was learning the proper sailing terminology and I could see my father straighten with pride when I referred to the tiller and dagger board or called out, “Jib!” He was thrilled when the boat would heel to one side and I wasn’t afraid, but instead peals of laughter poured out of me. Looking at that picture I also remembered how annoyed my father would get with my younger brother Danny. I don’t really remember any specific incident that Danny did, just that he was always into everything!
I remember one particular day my brother and I sat in the boat as my dad was cranking the boat back onto the trailer at the boat launch. It was a warm sunny day, and we were leaving early. Another boater, a woman, was standing waist deep in the water next to us as her boat was easing into the lake. She was young and beautiful. To me, with her Farrah Fawcett hair and orange macramé bikini top, she looked like she belonged in the movies. Maybe it was my stare that prompted her to turn and talk to us.
“Well aren’t you cute!” she said as she turned toward our boat. She looked at me with the smile of a Charlie’s Angel and asked, “What’s your name, honey?”
“Vicki,” I said as I studied every move she made. She may as well have been life size Malibu Suntan Barbie and I wanted to be just like her.
“Vicki,” my name rolled over her Lip Smacker-glossed lips as she repeated it and somehow it sounded prettier. She turned to my brother, who had become slightly bashful and said, “And how ‘bout you, what’s your name?”
This was my brother’s spirited reply: “It’s Damn-it-Danny!”
Laughter sparkled from her like it had just bubbled out of a can of TAB, and with that she turned back to her boat.
Lately that nic-name he earned so many years ago seems so fitting. He just can’t seem to come to terms with the relationship I now have with our father. He means well, I think. He and our father appear to have a thriving relationship, while the one I had drown years ago. He sees that as my fault. He protects him. He blames me. He can’t leave it alone. He won’t leave it alone.
Damn-it-Danny, leave it alone.