Small discoveries, these photos. Seeing them makes me smile much as I’m guessing that your seeing pictures from your youth makes you smile. Not so much because they are photos of us, but more because they remind us of who we were with or what we were doing when the photo was taken. Yes, there’s a bit of ego involved, but really more warmth of memory brought back by the images.
I look at this first picture; the positioning of the subject and the pose makes me think it was going to be used to support the Neighborhood Music Settlement. The settlement still stands and still serves young people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to music lessons. In the late 60s I think the cost was $1.25 for half an hour.
I see my face, but my eyes are drawn to my hands and my wrists. Dear Mrs. Gladys Stalling, my violin teacher, was so patient and so persistent. I was never better than a second hand musician with the violin, but doggone if I didn’t have good position. I’ve written about Mrs. Stalling before and I’m sure I will again. She was one of those folks who influenced me deeply. I love her. I see this image and I’m sure that she is somewhere in the same room coaching me as the photo is being taken.
A decade earlier I was in the West Coast Dance Studio learning ballet and tap. Learning how to dress for the public and learning how to do quick costume changes. I’m six in this photo below – the same age as my younger grand daughter. My memory takes me back to the scent of pressed powder and shoe polish, the scratchy feeling of crinoline which gave fullness to the costumes, and the sounds of taps on tiptoes trying to make as little noise as possible as we went from one position to the next while we were backstage.
I remember that my mom used old “hose” to make the sausage curls you mostly can’t see in this photo. Another thing you likely don’t see too well is the pendant that I’m wearing. It was a formed resin item. A super cheap knockoff of the original cheap knockoff, I’m sure. But for me it was a wonder.
The two sides were so different one from the other. The back side was all hard angled with a slope that gave a the painted image a sense of real. Paint and carved lucite; the back roughly formed and the painting clearly done with matte colors, the front a treasure of sheen and brilliant color. I remember running my finger over one side and then the other. Of lifting up the pendant and looking at it through light of the sky. Seeing how the image chained when I looked at it through the front, through the back, and through the side.
It was a perfect pendant for a six year old. One that gave her a chance to wear jewelry and that allowed the scientist in her to compare and contrast, and perhaps to extrapolate some conclusion or the other.