I had gone to Sears with my daughters, who were nine and four at the time, and I’d been lured to the Glamour Shots display. During a moment of weakness, I capitulated. What could they make of me?
I had begun to feel middle aged. Times were getting bad, money was tight and crime was running rampant in the city. My husband and I had decided to purchase a house in the suburbs so the girls could have a life like the one we had enjoyed.
That life had been playing outside to the sound and energy of balls bouncing, jump ropes slapping the ground, and bad boys, leaning over the sidewalk, pitching pennies and cursing until a neighbor yelled out for them to quit and they did.
On sweaty summer nights when it was too hot to sleep in the house, Dads could take kids out to lie on the beach under the stars. Days, kids could run, screaming, through backyard sprinklers, or they could pretend they didn’t feel the hard ground or the sharp rocks as they flat-bellied onto the muddy, slippery, grass inclines and tried to slide.
I was 39 when I let my youth go.
Just about age 39 I took the Glamour Shots. When they arrived, there was my youth. Captured! The photos made me smile because they were better than I ever would be again. I put them away!
When I wrote my first novel, it wasn’t good because I didn’t know how to write. Today I’m better and in five years I’ll be better than that. My sister and my husband read it and they liked it. They were the ones who told our friends that I was a writer.
I didn’t consider myself a writer because my primary job was teacher. That left me with very little time to indulge my fantasies. I published almost nothing because I wasted time trying to write ‘big novels’ instead of just telling the story and recognizing to stop when the tale was told.
Life moved on.
In 2012, I ran across the Captain’s Hat photo and posted it to my Facebook page on a Throwback Thursday. It didn’t go viral, but my friends and students liked it (a lot)!
It was a by-gone me—young, pretty, made-up. One friend asked me where the Captain was?—a reference to The Captain and Tenille Show for anyone who needs it.
Early on in my career I learned that America, and especially corporate America, is infatuated with youth. Consequently, I assumed, writing and publishing would be the same. That is how the Captain’s Hat became the face of Linda Mims, Boom_lyn, Boomacious, etc.
But guess what? Over time, the followers and friends I’ve come to like most on Facebook and Twitter look more like 2015 Linda. Updating to this new picture is easy because I quite enjoy being a mature lady. I can still relate, but I know better than to act.
The good news is I don’t actually know that I’m old. I speak so freely about my life and times that I give my age away. More than one listener has been prompted to ask, “How old are you?”
During one lively Rave Reviews Book Club discussion, participating writers made reference to Shock Theater, a weekly midnight show that featured The Wolf Man, Dracula, and Frankenstein movies. RRBC’s Nonnie Jules, asked, “How old are you people?”
She’d never heard of the television show that had played a major role in babysitting my generation each Saturday night when our parents were out partying.
I will close this post by presenting a photo of me, about as glamorous as I’m gonna be. It’s not my Captain’s Hat, but don’t worry, you may see it again. I wear hats as the mood strikes me!
Let me know about you. How old are you inside?