: views from the Hill

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The rocking chair

My younger sister and I have a story which I've batted her with for years. A few years back, she apologized for what was never her fault. It wasn't my parents' fault either, but it's interesting to me, some fifty years later, how small, unintentional things can loom big in a young child's mind.

See this picture? My dad took it. He was/is an excellent photographer. He wanted to capture what was then the five (later six) Towse children. No biggie, you say. He seems to have set things up so that the tableau is balanced. The almost-ten-year-old eldest is sitting next to the youngest. The rest of us are gathered around. That's me on the far right, if you hadn't guessed. Off to the side as always. sniff

The Towse Five c1955  Posted by Hello

What is wrong with this picture?

I'll tell you from my three-year-old or thereabouts perspective.

See that wooden rocking chair that my little sister is sitting in?


This is one of my earliest memories (along with other major events such as climbing into the Jeep and stepping on the rrrr-rrrr-rrrr starting button and almost getting it going, climbing out of my crib and meeting the milkman as he delivered milk, getting a copy of THE LITTLE RED CABOOSE CHUG-CHUG-CHUG and playing it over-and-over-and-over again, my older sister breaking her collarbone, &c., &c., &c.)

Why did this memory click at this early age?

I thought it was so totally unfair that if one of us got to sit in the rocking chair for the family photo that it got to be my bratty little sister when it was MY MY MY ROCKING CHAIR.

Why should she get to be center of the photograph and center of attention IN MY ROCKING CHAIR?

And, no, my tongue isn't sticking out for that particular reason. I tended as a child to always be the one (if there was one) to have a tongue sticking out or eyes crossed or to be holding a very large lizard in the Easter photo.

When you're a middle child you have to get attention some way.

Finding old photos like this when I'm supposed to be clearing out the back room is one of the graces of moving out of the family homestead.

Back to clearing ...

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