the imp above my TV

January 15, 2010

During the week of Thanksgiving, my mom and aunt came to visit, and while they enjoyed seeing me, The New House was the real long-distance friend they had come to see.  Mom had seen it before, just after closing, but my aunt had not.  Moms and aunts, if you were not already aware, love to help decorate new houses.  I think it’s part of their job description.  I think a closely related habit is that of buying things to stock the house: toilet paper, new dishes, etc.  I have yet to run out of toilet paper.

In addition to showering me with household necessities, mom brought a special gift for The New House: a copy of a sepia-toned photograph of my grandfather when he was 5-and-a-half.  He has one leg crossed over the other and hands neatly folded on his knee, but the look on his face says, “Don’t expect this pose to last…I’m up to something!”  His impish smile and almost-too-small pageboy hat somehow make me think of Charlie Brown.  If the time period of the photo weren’t already apparent from the sepia tones, the knee socks and Buster Brown loafers are a dead giveaway.

I love this photo.  Almost immediately, I found a frame for it and put it on top of the TV cabinet.  Sometimes when I’m watching TV, I find that my eyes creep upward to gaze at the mischievous face instead of Brian Williams or the cast of Friends.  He seems carefree, charming, playful–frozen in a time when the world seemed much simpler.

This little boy would grow up to join the U.S. Navy, become a decorated fighter pilot in the Pacific theater during World War II, meet a bombshell in Miami, marry her, raise two ambitious and freespirited daughters, and have  two granddaughters of the same description.

But then…well, then, probably all he could think about was how soon he could leave the photographer’s studio to find adventure elsewhere.


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