|Me - 1959 with my big "schnooz"|
For several months now I've had this photo of me that was taken in 1962 in front of the White House. At that time I was in the Army stationed at Fort George G. Meade, in Maryland. One weekend some of my Army buddies asked me if I wanted to take a trip to D.C., which was only a few miles away from Ft. Meade. I said "Sure, why not?" I had never seen the White House before so this was a first for me. So here is my photo, in all my 21 years old dorkyness (I think I just made up a word).
|Me- White House South Lawn - 1962|
I've always been intrigued by this picture because it was a time of my life that I gradually became aware of myself as a "regular" guy and not the loser/misfit that my father had always drummed into my head. Remember that I was raised in a very small Pennsylvania town before the age of TV and social media. My only input about my self-worth was my family; my usually distant father, Mother (who always went along with my father) and my two younger brothers.
|Me during the "bad" years - 1952|
Of course younger brothers being what they are fulfilled their usual role in bringing down big brother, that was expected. But my father, his constant belittling of me has had a lasting effect on me.
|Me - in my Father's eyes|
Now this isn't a "poor me" posting. I realize many others have had a much worse upbringing than me, at least I had a father to provide a roof over my head and food on the table, meager though both shelter and food (and clothing) was. I wasn't sexually abused or physically abused. Oh, a few belt beatings here and there but none left lasting damage. They were just "attention getters." Kids getting beat by a belt was "normal" in the Fifties. He did punch me once in the jaw, knocking me into the bathtub I was cleaning at the time but I probably deserved that because I embarrassed him in front of a couple of his brothers. No, this isn't a "poor me" posting but rather an explanation of why I post so many pictures of myself on my blog and have so many in my house. Not that I need to explain but I will anyway because I felt the need after a dear friend told me I was "full of myself" for referring to a photo of myself as a "good-looking guy." Actually, my referral was more tongue in cheek but typed words on a screen don't always come across with that nuance. I was also referring to the fact that the photo was a good photo of the three of us more than I was patting myself on the back. Hey, at my age any photo that looks halfway decent I'm going to post.
|Dorky me - alone and low self-esteem 1953 - legs too long and nose too big|
Quite often, when someone comes into our house they take notice of the photos (and a few paintings) of me and jokingly say "Do you have enough pictures of yourself?" Well, first of all, it IS MY HOUSE and I'll put up whatever damn well I please even if it is Mickey Mouse pictures. But the reason there are so many pictures of me is a very simple reason, Bill likes me and likes to have pictures of me around. What can I say? Ever since I left home and joined the Army and discovered a whole new world outside of Downingtown, Pennsylvania and people who didn't think I was some loser freak of nature, I have gradually developed a sense of self-worth and self-esteem.
|Me - basic training, Ft. Dix, NJ - 1960 - now not the dorkiest guy in Basic Training|
One of my biggest fears when I left home and joined the Army, was that everyone would make fun of my big nose. My father used to call me "Beak." In fact, I don't ever remember him calling me by my real name, "Ron." It was always
"Beak this" and "Beak that." So it was with a lot of trepidation when I boarded that Trailways bus out of Philadelphia to Fort Dix New Jersey that cold January 27th day 1960. I kept my head down and tried to hide my nose. Can you believe it? It's hard for me to believe that I actually was so petrified about anyone noticing how big my "schnooz" was. Guess what? No one noticed. Yep, not a person said a thing about it. In fact, I took basic training with a large contingent of Jewish reservists from New York City. "Weiner" is one guy I remember in particular. His "schnooz" was TWICE as big as mine. Viola! I was saved.
|Still have the big nose but not so self-conscious of it now - 1960|
The next three years that I spent in the Army, away from the constant put downs of my father, I came to realize that I was "all right." In fact, there were times I was actually considered attractive by some, if you caught me at the right angle.
|Me on the right caught at the "right" angle - nose still humongous but fits my face now - 1962|
|Bill and me 1965|
|Bill and me 2010|
Then I met Bill, who said he was attracted to my long legs. Yep, I had a 36" inch inseam. Who knew that was my major asset? Hey, I'll take whatever I can get. Thus, I began the "second half" of my life with self-esteem. I was "okay."
However, over the years I occasionally encounter the person who will make a snarky remark like "You have enough photos of yourself?" or "You're a bit full of yourself aren't you?" when I mention to make a positive comment about myself. God, I hope I'm not one of those self-involved narcissists who are so boring. I've met them and however attractive they were on first impression quickly dispels after I get to know them and realize how narcissistic they are. Maybe I am one of those people. But I'll tell you something, I'm never going to downgrade or apologize for being who I am.
|Me - 1983 - still have that nose|
I used to have a friend a long time ago. He was actually a quite attractive man in a "Clark Kent" type of way. But he was always putting himself down and saying he was "no good" and "unattractive" and "no one likes me" that he actually became unattractive. He fulfilled his own wish. Thus, this man who made a good first impression, but once you talked to him you wanted to get away from him because all he did was bring you down with him. No, to me that is a person I don't want to be.
|Me, happy with the way I look - 1983 - still got the schnoz|
So call me "full of myself." Hey, this is me. I like myself and I make no apologies.
|October 27th, 1968 - during my "hottie" period (not that I'm not a "hottie" now - JOKING!@)|
I'm getting older now and have long ago lost that youthful, boyish look but you know what? I'm still young and youthful in my outlook on life. I see the absurdity of life and can laugh at it. And believe you me, I do plenty of self-mocking which is actually what I was doing when I said "Look at those two good-looking guys" when referring to a recent photo I posted on my blog of me and two of my dear friends.
By the way, that 1962 photo of me on the south lawn of the White House, it's my background on this blog now, big nose and all. No apologies, it's my blog.
|Me with fellow classmate Pat West at my 35th class reunion 1994 - self-esteem intact|
|Pat and me class 45th class reunion 2004 - self-esteem and schnoz still intact|