Wednesday, July 13, 2016


After finding out that I was on the way, my mother and father got married in 1972. They had a lovely wedding in the backyard of a friend's brownstone in Greenwich Village. I arrived in December, leaving them little time for a honeymoon.

So when I was about six months old, my doting parents left me with Auntie Ann Burr and Uncle Michael and they flew off to Africa. I can only imagine my Aunt and Uncle were thrilled, considering they already had six children of their own, the youngest of whom - my Cousin Timmy - is just a couple of years older than I. But they are truly lovely, lovely people and have always insisted that taking care of me was a joy and the addition of an infant to their household for weeks and weeks was pure pleasure.

Touring Africa in the early 70s seems to have been fairly adventurous, not to say rugged. Judging from the photos it was like a far cry from a typical luxurious, romantic vacation celebrating newlywed bliss, but both my mother and father look as happy as I've ever seen them, standing outside an insane army green canvas tent in which they slept on cots on the Masai Mara. 

In addition to the happy couple, there are dozens of pictures of wild animals. Going through the (many, many, many) boxes of photos in the house while growing up was always interesting: Oh, look! Here's me as a toddler on the beach! Here's Sissy in a highchair with cake on her face! Here's a lion on a rock?!

Anyway, my father had several of the photos blown up and framed; I remember them hanging on the walls as a child. Fast-forward 40+ years, and seven or eight of them ended up in my basement - old, faded, and looking every bit their age. My mother still has the film, and I could probably find it and have decent prints made but I kind of like them better this way. And nearly two years after moving in to this house, I finally got motivated to hang them in the basement/playroom. 

It was a total nightmare. 

I wanted, reasonably enough, to hang them in a row, the same height and spaced evenly on the wall, and not end up looking like an incompetent or perhaps intoxicated person hung them. But not only is math is far from my strong suit but the photos are still in their original frames which weigh about 40 pounds each and none of the hanging wires are the same length (because of course they aren't).

In an attempt to not fuck the project up completely, I drew a picture that I could use as a guide of sorts. Well, "drew" a picture...

You will note that I am artistically as well as mathematically challenged. But you can also shut up because it worked perfectly!

Elephant, Antelopes, Giraffe, Birds of Some Sort, Tree, Rhino, Lion Cubs

Full disclosure: It sort of worked almost perfectly. There are several holes in the wall behind more than one of the photos.

But I'm happy, and will stay happy until one of my unbelievably active and wildly uncontrollable boys chucks a baseball or something across the room and shatters glass all over the floor. 

And yes, I am aware of the hideous popcorn ceiling, but after removing it in the bedroom next to the playroom, I can tell you it'll be a while before I summon the energy required to do the rest of the basement. Get off my back! Jeez.

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