History is important. We can learn so much from it.
So when I saw that the theme for The High Calling’s latest PhotoPlay was sharing images that represent our past I was excited to take a look at my own personal history. I was excited to see what I could learn about myself. Too often we get so focused on our present circumstances that we forget to remember what made us who we are today.
This PhotoPlay asked us to find images for five questions…
Who made up your DNA?
My mother and father divorced when I was really young. I grew up my whole life without them in the same house. So on my wedding day, one of the most important photos for me to get was one with both of my birth parents in it with me. This is the only photo I have of the three of us.
Where do you come from?
I’ve grown up on the beaches of Southwest Florida. Body-surfing, building sand castles, and digging up coquinas and sharks teeth were how I’d spend my days. Life was so carefree with the backdrop of waves rolling in one after the other. Maybe this is why I put way too much salt on my popcorn… because it reminds me of the aftertaste of playing all day in the sea water of the Gulf of Mexico.
What object is precious to your past?
One of my proudest moments as a youth came from playing football. The trophy in the middle (the biggest one) is for being the Most Improved Player. I won that one because I started the season as, well, let’s just say one of the less talented players on the field. But down the stretch I had some games where I played at an MVP-level. I actually still have that trophy today. It’s proudly displayed in my son’s room after we talked about what it means to earn an achievement like that.
What memory resonates most deeply?
Summer’s at grandma’s house in Michigan were always special. Growing up in Florida meant that we weren’t that close to our family and roots. Boys are supposed to spend summers like this… swimming, catching fireflies, and enjoying an ice-cold Coke in a glass bottle. Oh, and we can’t forget picking fresh blackberries off the bush for a little mid-day snack.
What moment in history marks your childhood?
This last one represents so much more to me than what anyone else would know just looking at the photo. This was taken at a time when our family was being fractured (again) by divorce. Taken outside a house that couldn’t possibly feel like a home, we smiled for the camera while making the best of a difficult situation. But this was also the first time I solo-sailed that little ship. It was a big step in the life of a boy who was gaining a bit of independence and becoming a man.
What does your history look like? What do you learn about yourself when looking back at your past?
Love the unified sepia tones in the photos. And coke in a glass bottle? Nothing like it. My Uncle Sam (real uncle, not the poster) always had the 8 oz. glass cokes at his house. Just last week I saw a 6-pack of said cokes and couldn’t pass them up. Just had mine with lunch. 🙂
the sepia tones in these photos was my creative touch to this whole thing. i wanted to do that to tie the set of old and new all together.
and i know it’s one of those things that probably only happens to me when i look at the photos, but that one of me in the pool… i can almost taste the ice cold coke in a glass bottle just by looking at that pic. it’s funny what these images evoke in us…
Nice post Dan. It was fun to read and look at the pics. Thanks for sharing.
thanks mark! it was an interesting journey back for me…
I love how you tied your photos together in a sepia tone. You have many of your mother’s features. And we have much in common with our Florida roots. It took me a while to think through this challenge this morning, but mine is up in a post, too, if you have time to stop by Pollywog Creek…
this photoplay challenge certainly required a great deal of though, but i definitely felt like the journey was well worth it! i enjoyed your photos too! glad you participated!
this was interesting to see a bit of who you are dan.
those are some SHORT shorts, dude.
i think i still have them… wonder if they still fit. i’ll go try ’em on, and post teh pics to Facebook. cool?
Who’s that skinny kid in the photos? (Seriously, this was neat – to see a little of where you came from.
LOL! yep… that’s me! thanks Glynn!
You came from a lot of water. I love how you connected salty popcorn to the sea. 🙂 I’m glad that part of that was Michigan water. Thanks for sharing these parts of you.
i grew up loving the water. unfortunately, i’ve not spent nearly as much time in or around it in my adult life. that’s actually one of the things that this photoplay project did for me… it made me long to get back in the water more often. i think i’ll take my kids to the beach one evening soon, or maybe this weekend…
This is a wonderful way to get to know you better, Dan. The first one, knowing that piece of your history, seems especially important. But. I love all those vintage shots and the stories that go with them. Bravo!
thank Ann! this was a cool trip for me… and you’re right… the first one is especially important at so many levels… it’s amazing that my parents separated when i was so young, and the picture that i have with them is on my wedding day when i committed myself to forever with my best friend (for 12 years strong now).
the last one is especially important to me too… the road to manhood started there for me, for so many reasons.
There’s some really great stuff here, mister Dan. I am impressed that you have access to images from your childhood, or maybe it’s just my family that stores them loose in one big cardboard box in someone else’s garage.
i don’t have many photos from my childhood, but was able to dig a few good ones up for this project. i kinda wish i had more. i probably get more photos of my kids now every month, than i have of my entire childhood. but that mostly due to the wonders of digital photography!
I really enjoyed taking this journey with you, Dan. Man! do you intrigue and inspire me to take that same journey.
But at the moment—with my 50th birthday closing in next year, in a season of forgiveness, and with the Lord’s return feeling more imminent by the day—I’m looking forward. I’ll nonetheless be keeping an eye open for the opportunity to share these kind of memories with my kids.
a photo journey with a look forward (similar to this look back) could be pretty interesting! it would probably need to be much heavier on the symbolism than i was in this post, but it could be kinda cool! let me know if you decide to do a post like that! i’d love to see what that might look like!