This week's theme is group photo. I must have been one lonely child. I have only a couple group photos that I can find, all family. This first one, I must be about 4 because Joey, my little brother, looks about 1. I must say, he was not the cutest baby but man was he a cute kid and a handsome teenager. My dad looks young, spry and handsome, my mom is a classic beauty. Look at those cheekbones. My oldest brother Chuck (center and holding not-so-cute Joe) would have been about 11. He had yet to hit me in the head with a smoke bomb, or throw keys at my head, or threaten to light my cabbage patch kid on fire (in jest of course, he wasn't cruel like that). My other brother Sam, the bright faced boy on the left, is only 14 months older than I am. It made for some interesting times growing up. I wonder if my mom, Chuck, Joey and I thought this was to be a more austere photo, one that would be on the wall of some great institute that was to be named after the Cottrell family.
This next photo is 1984, maybe 85. My dad, still spry and handsome. My mom, still the classic beauty. Sam, still smiling. Chuck, a little overcome by his eyebrows (note - after waking up to feed baby and re-reading this post, I must add that this picture represents his brows a little unfairly, they are a distinguishable characteristic but in no way taking over his face. I will probably get up in the morning and re-write this whole thing and must add that he is indeed a great big brother and friend, but at this time was a typical big brother with remarkable aim. The smoke bomb was thrown over the garage, from the front yard, meeting my noggin in the backyard - luck or good aim? You decide.). This is post-smoke bomb bombing, pre-keys to the forehead (teen angst with a driver's license) and post-cabbage patch fever (probably just the end of it). Do you like the shirt he is wearing? My mom made it. Chuck says that he didn't like to wear it, but he had about 20 Hawaiian shirts that he had her make for him so he looked especially RAD at his high school. And look at that cute kid. Joe was so dang cute. Always a little twinkle in his eye. Do you like his pattern combo? I'm not certain about the shirt, but my mom did make him the shorts and he loved them. I must still be thinking that we were to be austere. I'll tell you the real reason - I had the most GIGANTIC teeth. Oh my, they had a presence. And, they had a huge space between the two front. I like my teeth now, they have been good to me (no cavities until after my first child, probably from all the throwing up) and I never had to have braces but back then? I don't even have words for them. My brother (who I am very close to even though I have portrayed him as a jerky big brother in this post, mostly because he did do all those things) has made fun of them for years, likening them to a rabbit or beaver. I ramble. This picture was taken in our backyard in the first house I lived in. It was magnificent. It had a "roadway" in the shape of a figure eight, perfect for racing. It was terraced and had a huge lawn that was good for all sorts of grass games. Then there was the Enchanted Forrest. My friend Brooke and I would wait for our Prince Charmings to save us from the Forrest Witch by feeding the guard elves strawberries or cherries. And it had a great sandbox. I loved that yard. I love both of these photos, before I was too self-conscience (I really don't know if I knew my teeth were so big then, I just know now), and still a kid.