As you can guess, gentle reader, I am not one who easily gives up old photographs, even when I don’t know who is in the photograph. As I have inherited my mother’s old photographs, which includes photographs she inherited from her mother and from her sister, I have boxes of them and also have discolored old photo albums full of them. Not only do I have loose ones with or without captions or information on the back (which does not necessarily help me, seventy years and two lost generations later), but I also have them collected and grouped in magnetic magic pages where there are a large number of photographs, some trimmed, have the same people in them, but I don’t know exactly who those people are.
But a lot of people have those. A lot of people of my generation or older, I mean. Many in my generation have gone to an all-digital format, where the collections of random images are far larger and far easier to ignore.
Worse than that, though, is this collection of the same image that I have and absolutely cannot get rid of. And, unfortunately, I do not have enough of them to make a deck of cards.
Ladies and gentlemen, and by that I mean “fictional imagined women readers, Charles, and John,” I present to you the remainder of the wallet-sized photos of my high school senior picture:
Don’t grab for the monitor wipes; they’re a little dusty, so that’s in the picture, not your pixels.
My summers were a little different from my peers in my youth. Instead of hanging around town and doing the summertime things related to high school, such as Driver’s Education, school registration, and whatnot, I spent a couple weeks in Wisconsin with my father, so I missed out on the school-sponsored Senior Pictures. So my mother, sometime shortly after school started, took my to a studio in Arnold, Missouri, for a sitting. It also might explain why my senior picture differs from the yearbook photo, which might make this one a collectible.
At any rate, my mother bought some ludicrously expensive package to share with the family and whatnot, and that yielded some large number of wallet-sized photos I could share with my friends. Except I didn’t have many friends, and I was pretty self-conscious about calling anyone “friend” at the time lest they be offended by the epithet. Yes, I, like every other student in the 1980s and probably every other era, was an “outsider” in high school, different and more especial than everyone else, although the climactic triumphant scene were I emerged a butterfly did not come within the two-hour equivalent of my life that was the high school period.
So I ended up porting the pictures to college, where I didn’t make many friends early, either, and I grew my hair out anyway so the pictures weren’t an accurate representation. And they’ve been stuffed into a variety of boxes for the twenty-some years since.
As part of the recent deRooneyfication efforts, they’ve been out of a box and on my desk for a couple of weeks (the “couple of weeks” being a Mormons-in-Utah-circa-1890-style couple, which is quite a collection of weeks indeed). I can’t just throw them out. Not only are they photographs, they’re photographs of me. I very well can’t throw photographs of myself away. I am not that strong.
And I can’t give them away. Who would want a twenty-something-year-old picture of me at seventeen?
As I mentioned, I can’t make a deck of cards out of them. I guess the best I can hope for is some creative craft idea at some point in the coming decades where I can use them.
Otherwise, I guess, they’ll remain in a box of photographs until my heirs or their representatives dispose of them callously.
Better them than me.