Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Artist as a Growing Boy


These old photos show me at age 11 (Fall 1970) and age 12 (Fall 1971), respectively.  (Look how much darker my hair got in just a year!)  Both were taken by my mother -- obviously on Sundays, as I'm wearing what was church attire for me at the time.  (I always shake my head at the fact that Aaronic Priesthood holders are now "required" to wear white shirts and ties to administer the sacrament in church.  Heck, I'm not sure I owned a white shirt until I went on my mission, and I hardly ever wore a tie, to church or anywhere else, until I was much older.)  I was always thin, although by today's standards I wouldn't be considered painfully so.  (I remember that the girls next door, who were anything but svelte, thought they were being cute one time by requesting information on the Charles Atlas body-building program in my name and having it sent to my address.  I seriously considered returning the favor by requesting information on some weight-loss program in their names, but I never got around to it.)

The photo on the left, taken when I was in sixth grade (which I can tell by the octagonal wire-frame glasses I'm wearing), shows me with my very first electric guitar, a single-pickup Harmony (model "POS") that my mother paid $15 for at a garage sale on the next street over.  I can't remember whether I really knew any chords at the time, but, regardless, I didn't start playing a lot of guitar until I was about 14, when my brother Kelly went on his mission to Taiwan and left his 12-string acoustic guitar behind.

The photo on the right, taken when I was in seventh grade (which I can tell by the plastic "aviator" glasses with the photo-gray lenses), shows me astride Kelly's Honda 350 motorcycle.  I wasn't actually riding it, although I had a deep lust at the time for a motorcycle of my own, voraciously reading various motorcycle magazines every month; my parents finally bought me my Honda CL-70 the following summer.  I almost "inherited" the 350 when Kelly went on his mission in September 1973 -- I did get to ride it for a short time after he left, which was a real thrill for a 14-year-old -- but my mother quickly sold it to a guy in our ward who was a couple of years younger than Kelly.

It's interesting to take note of the cars in the background in the two photos.  On the left, the gold car is my brother Jeff's 1968 AMC Javelin, which he later painted maroon (and which stayed in our family for a while after it suffered a wreck that mashed in the passenger door -- it was one of the cars in which I learned to drive).  The car behind it is my father's 1952 Chevy (called "Bartholomew" by my cousin and me), which he bought from an older lady who supposedly won it, brand-new, playing craps in Las Vegas.  (I remember taking "Bartholomew" on a joyride up in the "mesa" with my friend Ken Foley, shortly after I got my driver's license in 1974.  The car didn't have a current registration, so we switched license plates with another car; of course, I ended up getting pulled over by a cop -- my first time -- and being cited for having the wrong tags on the car.  Ken and I scrounged the money to pay the fine so that I wouldn't have to confess to having taken the car without permission, and I didn't tell my mother about it until years later.)  On the right, the light-colored car with the dark roof is my brother Robin's (1970?) Ford Maverick, which he drove for a number of years, and the car behind it and to the right is my parents' old 1965 Ford station wagon, which was our "family car" from roughly 1967 to 1973.