Two photos, taken 49 years apart, of the same person standing at approximately the same spot at Ocean Park, Maine. In 1956 I was wearing an MIT shirt, because my father had graduated from that school seven years earlier. For the historic reenactment this morning, I had considered wearing a shirt from my own alma mater, but in the end opted for buying an MIT t-shirt on Boston Common several weeks ago. MIT works well here at Ocean Park, because they were both founded in the same year, 1881. Historic accuracy was not a good enough reason to lure me into buying a pair of madras Bermuda shorts.
At age six, I seem to have been a worried little guy. My mother attributes this to the fact that we had just moved back to New England from Texas, where our one-year sojourn included the tragedy of a baby brother, Tommy, who died three days after he was born, at about this time of year. His birthday was the day after mine, which is coming up the day after tomorrow.
We are packing up for departure tomorrow morning after a month in the Hooper Cottage, the one at the right in the two photos. I am still toying with the possibility of another move from West to East, from downtown Denver to downtown Boston. This would mark the end of a considerably longer sojourn Out West, 25 years in Wyoming and Denver, compared to the one year in Pampa, Texas. Fifi gets a look similar to Lennie’s at the prospect of leaving her dream home in LoDo. And in truth, this Boston thing this afternoon seems delusional. I’ve always hated moves. I love the West and our place in Denver. With the exception of my sister, no one in my family has jumped up and down and said, “it would be SO WONDERFUL to have you living fewer than 2,000 miles away.” Maybe they’re right. Families sometimes work better at a distance, and I am, after all, the one who left.
Nonetheless, I keep testing the water. Tomorrow afternoon we will check into a suite at the Four Seasons, overlooking the Boston Public Garden, accompanied by our visiting Wyoming friends, Tom and Tish. I am justifying this as a birthday extravagance, giving me the chance to wake up on August 30th as a Bostonian Birthday Boy . I am curious how it will feel. The photo reenactment today was fun but creepy, because of how it embodied the flashing by of nearly five decades of my life. It doesn’t really matter where I live these days. I just want to be living with Fifi, close to my family and friends, for the next photo session on the dune in, say, 2045.