I Am What I Am, and I Always Have Been – Tuesday 1/1/2008


I have been an animal lover since at least Christmas Day, 1962. This is me and Kitty Fritz. I turned two a few weeks later.

We were going through things yesterday looking for pictures of Hydra’s family, and I found a packet of photographs my mom sent me years ago and which I thought I had accidentally thrown away. I mean, I tore apart every box in our garage and in my studio closet over the course of a couple of days a while back and couldn’t find them.

Where were they? In a box in the pantry marked “Photos.”

It always takes me by surprise when my sporadic attempts to become organized actually work.

Anyway, in looking through these photos, it struck me that there are all sorts of hints of the person I was to become…


I have enjoyed camping since I was 2 1/2. This is Daddy and me at Clifty Falls State Park in Madison, Indiana in 1963. That’s our converted school bus/camper, “The Ramblin’ Wreck” in the background. That was so cool!


Although I don’t have any photos of myself writing or reading, the arts have always been a big part of my life. My sister Pegerty and I try out my new paint book on my 3rd birthday. She’s almost 12.

I think this is one of those books that you just brush water over and the color pops up. I’m not saying I was a prodigy.


I have been a tree-hugger all my life. (This is when I was barely three years old. There’s an even earlier photo expressing my affinity for the tree.)


I have always had a flare for the dramatic.

According to the notes on the back of this snapshot, I am showing off my missing teeth. But it looks like I am launching into the “To be or not to be” soliloquy from Hamlet.

“June 1967, 6 years, 5 months.”


I’ve always had an appreciation for nature. Mom took some really fun shots when we went walking in the woods on a day in May. I had forgotten about my “pet worm” but I remember this day so well. Just me and Mom, and her telling me things and answering my questions.


I like to travel. I get a kick out of big cities. I like to hang out with stylish people.

This was taken in front of our hotel on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. I think our camper had broken down and so we went to the city for a few days. May 10th or 11th, 1969. Me (8), Mom, Brains (16) and Pegerty (17.)

I love Pegerty’s sporty stance in this shot!! She subscribed to Ingenue magazine, don’t you know!


I understand the value of friendship. Diver and I had been friends for almost 2 1/2 years by the time this photo was taken at my house in December of 1968. We met in kindergarten and we are still in touch today, even though we started going to different schools in 4th grade, and we live on opposite coasts now.

It was terrific to have a best friend from another school all through middle school and high school, especially. Kept us from feeling like our individual schools were the whole universe. And we had some life-building experiences together.


I have always liked spending time alone. Well, but animals are always welcome. (I’m ten in this one.)

There are lots of photos of me with my dog Ginger. If you know what it’s like to grow up with a dog as a best friend, you’ll know how much I still miss her.


I have always liked rocks. I carried this one home from the gravel pit at least a half a mile away just because I liked it. It was pinkish. I used it as a doorstop. I think it might still be somewhere in my mom’s house. (She still lives where I grew up.)

Mom said that I could keep it if I brought it home myself but that she wouldn’t help me carry it. I think there was a good lesson nestled in that afternoon, about working for something that you really desire. I am almost 11 in this shot.


I have always had impeccable fashion sense.

Hey. Kaftans were very cool in 1972. (My 11th birthday.)

Is it my imagination, or does Ginger look embarrassed for me?  Maybe I should say I will take a chance now and again.


I have had a distorted body image since high school, probably since I heard Bob Mackie say on some talk show that Cher had perfect armpits.

I thought I was fat in this photo taken when I was 20, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.


(My body-type role model. Yeah, the one on the left.)

[Photo by Ulvis Alberts.]


I love my family. This is us in 1971 and 1981. In the first one, Joe had just come back from Vietnam. I was completely happy and completely oblivious.

Oh, and as you can see from these shots, I’m willing to make a fool of myself.

But you probably already knew that from reading this blog.

This is, coincidentally, my 1,000th blog post, and a satisfying way to spend New Year’s Day (for me, anyway.)

Thanks Mom, for sending me the photos in the first place and for your wonderful captions on the back of them!

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5 thoughts on “I Am What I Am, and I Always Have Been – Tuesday 1/1/2008

  1. Deb in FW says:

    These are great treasures, so happy for you that you found them! Speaking of animal lovers, I have missed a few days of posts, but can’t find reference to the new budgie. Do you still have him/her? If so, I hope your first holidays together were wonderful!Deb

  2. Sundry says:

    Thanks! Yes, the ad stopped running on the 30th and after three weeks, we’ve decided he’s ours. Guess you just gave me today’s topic. Gonna get Nick ready for a photo shoot!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Oh what a neat little trip back in time! What a cutie! k

  4. Kim says:

    I truly enjoyed reading and looking through these pictures. Thanks for the glimpse! I remember you talking about your big brother a couple years ago, and that we share having brothers a bunch of years older than us. I was glad to see a picture with you and him!

  5. fingerstothebone says:

    Wow, and you look just like you! Especially in the dramatic photo without the front tooth. Thank you for sharing your treasures.

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