Scintilla13 Day 13
Post a photo of yourself from before age 10. Write about what you remember of the day the photo was taken. It may not be a full story—it may just be flashes of event and emotion—but tap into the child you were as much as you can.
The above picture is of me somewhere between the ages of 4 and 5.
My family and I were camping during Halloween weekend. This was my costume.
I have an unusually keen memory. I remember details, conversations and incidents that friends and family members have long forgotten. Yet even for me, the time of this picture resides at near the edge of coherent recollection.
It could be that I would have remembered this costume, regardless. It’s difficult to say. However I know the main reason I remember it now,is because my late father (who died only a few short years after this) helped me put it all together. Or put it all together for me, as it were.
Dad was not a particularly creative man. Decent, honest, reliable, handy, all of those things. But creative? Not really. So looking back it’s particularly amusing that he played such a role in something like a costume.
It may be his hat that I’m wearing, I’m not sure. But I do know that it was Dad who applied the make-up to my face. (You can probably tell from the picture that someone with zero experience in such matters was responsible.)
The most vivid memory I have of that weekend was standing there near the camper while my father’s huge, callused , always somewhat petroleum-scented hands brushed across my face after he’d dipped his thick fingers into the 50 cent face paint set that he’d probably bought right there at the campsite. (Or that Mom had bought and asked him to apply.)
I remember hearing him mutter to himself as he experimented with how to make a good beard and mustache, sounding like an artist approaching an actual painting. I can see him leaning back every few seconds (and possibly squinting) to view his handy work before applying more. And I remember him smiling or at least grinning for most of the time he did so. He was not a cold or mean man but like myself he wasn’t always the most outwardly expressive individual, so the grins of satisfaction I have no doubt were genuine.
Truth be told, it is probably the most tactile memory of my father that I have. One of the few distinct memories I have of him touching me. Not because he refused to do so, but because I have so few memories of my father of any kind. Those that I do have are usually what he looked like, what he said. (Though not how he sounded when he said it…my memories of his voice are mere threads.) But nothing compares, really, to the recollection of my father, happy, and at leisure applying make-up to my face with his own hands. Sadly no picture of that moment exists, but thankfully this one, of the end result, does.