|Ron - Yearbook picture 1959|
Who is that above? That is me, my yearbook picture, sans smile. I remember clearly when this picture was taken.
I was 16 years old.
I was petrified .
I was shy and backwards.
I was too tall and too thin.
I had very low self-esteem because up until this point in my life I had been constantly reminded by my father that I had a big nose. His nickname for me was "beak." Maybe he didn't mean anything by it, but his lack of respect for me was a big part of my life at that time.
Of course the other big part of my life was that I knew I was gay. In 1958 gay wasn't a word to describe homosexuals. Queer was the word of choice. I was heavily in the closet. No one must know.
So add all that baggage on this young man's head and this is the kind of yearbook picture that is produced - a sour faced, frightened, self-conscious 16 year old.
Like so many teenagers, I hated my yearbook picture.
Fast forward to some years later, when I had some disposable income, I tried to right this wrong. Over the years I periodically went to a professional photographer to have a portrait picture taken. When I couldn't afford a professional photographer, I would get my picture taken in one of those cheap photo booths. By the way, whatever happened to them? I though they were the coolest contraptions.
Last year I had my "official" portrait picture taken at J. C. Penney's in Dover. It was a somewhat traumatic experience because of two little screaming little girls who were doing cartwheels behind the photographer while my pictures were being taken. The strained and annoyed look showed on my face in my photos. I didn't want to go through that experience again.
I was racking my brain this year to decide where to get my annual photo taken. Last month I checked a Rehoboth Beach photographer called "Images in the Sands" or something like that. Two lesbians own the company. I liked their photography but as is too often the case with gay owned businesses in this area, they are very expensive. A minimum of $175 just to walk in the door. Since I'm not a retired government worker collecting a near six figure retirement pay (many of the gay retiree Rehoboth residents are retired government employees), I couldn't afford them.
I do know an excellent portrait photographer but he lives in Scotland. His name is Kim Ayres and he is one of my favorite bloggers. Kim is my first choice but unfortunately I can't afford to fly to Scotland or to fly Kim here to Delaware. Meeting Kim and having my portrait photo taken by Kim is one of my Bucket List items but until then I had to find another place have my photo taken.
Yesterday Significant Other and I were shopping at the Walmart in Milford. As I was checking out I saw the young girl who runs their portrait photo studio leaning over her desk, making phone calls, with an empty studio behind her. I was quite aware that Walmart has a photo studio but I had ruled them out because the studio is almost always crowded with screaming kids of the lower socio-economic order. Yesterday that was not the case. Why? Oh, it was after Christmas and before Valentine's Day and Easter. Time to schedule my appointment!
In a couple of hours I will be sitting at the Walmart photography studio getting my 2011 portrait photo. Hopefully there will not be a gaggle of screaming little girls doing cartwheels in their velveteen, crinoline puffed dresses when the photographer says to me......"Smile!"