Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Moving unpacks memories

I have one relatively large, relatively current family portrait -- and a series of old Christmas card pictures, put together in a multi-opening frame. The oldest of these is 18 years old now. I know this with certainty because only three of my five children are depicted in the photograph, and all of them are now in college.

As I took down these family pictures and packed them away for the move to the new office, I couldn't help but think of a photo in my father's office.

I was out of school already, working, living on my own, but for some reason I needed to stop by my father's office. I can't remember why. I was probably dropping something off for return to the family homestead, or else picking something up. I didn't go to my father's office often; it may have been the very first time I had gone to this particular office: By this time my father had already 'retired' once, which in this case meant moving from one company where he'd worked for 25 years to a competitor, just down the street.

My father wasn't in when I got there, but his assistant, Phyllis, said she recognized me. From my picture.

I went in the office to drop off or pick up whatever it was that I was there for, and I saw the picture in question: It was a picture of me, my sister and brother, circa 1966 or '67, in our Easter finery. For my brother and myself, that meant hideously loud, maroon and red plaid sport jackets and red ties. The photograph had faded somewhat with age, but the sportcoats were still lurid. I could not have been more than 10.

I guess I had aged well.

Or at least predictably.

I've since noticed that a lot of people have, shall we say, less than contemporary family photographs in their offices. Is that because we're clinging to our youth?

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