On July 4, 1967, I got dressed for a guard mount. One of my roommates, Brewster, hollered, "I'm taking a picture for your folks." Brewster was an amateur (as you can see by the photo, very amateur) photographer, who wanted to use up a roll of film so he could develop it in the darkroom at the enlisted man's club. I stuck my cigarette behind my back--no use Mom and Dad seeing that I'd taken up the filthy habit--and forced a grin.
A few days ago I remembered I had this picture and searched it out from amongst my old photos. It freezes a moment in time for me: I had been in Germany for two months; I was four days short of 20-years-old; I had a year-and-a-half left in the Army, and Dad had exactly six months left to live.
Photos can be like that, which is obviously why we want to keep them. They take time and put it onto a small piece of paper. A moment of how someone was, maybe a long, long time ago.
The picture may be grainy and Brewster's photo developing may be poor, but in this picture I see a lot of history. Not just a PFC standing by his bunk, dressed in his starched fatigues, but the guy I was exactly 40 years ago today.
Ciao for now.