A Picture Can Inspire A Thousand Words

If you ever find yourself at a loss for words, get out your photo album. I just rediscovered this old photo. The picture itself is terrible in so many respects, but it set off an explosion of story ideas, as you'll see.

The story in this picture is my third-grade Halloween costume. Mother made our costumes. I requested this one, and she did her usual great work to produce it. I could write more about other costumes. Other story ideas I find in this picture include:
  • My huaraches — Mexican shoes woven of thin strips of leather. We bargained for these in a Juarez market, which triggers stories of trips to Juarez, bargaining, trading with the Indians, and shoes in general.

  • My dad’s Groucho Marx glasses, with the huge nose. These illustrate his sense of humor, which brings all sorts of stories about him to mind.

  • The curlers in my hair, used to contribute to the witch-effect. Those perforated metal curlers had a sort of clamp that held the hair ends in place against the barrel. The clamp was held in place by wrapping hair around the roller, then a wire fastener with a rubber roller on the end clipped across the end of the barrel to hold the curler tightly in place. Those curlers had fallen out of common use by 1960. A whole dissertation on hair styles, perms, curlers and such things is surfacing. Perhaps I'll also write a story about the ettiquette of being seen in curlers in public.

  • The enameled tray Mother decorated and kept perched above the fireplace. I could write volumes about her handicrafts and art work.

  • One of the two sofas in the room, which looks utterly awful by today’s standards — especially the protective plastic on the back! The general d├ęcor of that house, and the house itself (one of hundreds of similar ones provided by Uncle Sam for employees of Los Alamos Scientific Labs) inspires piles of pages.
This one picture inspires maybe one hundred stories. Even pictures you'd rather not include in an album or use for a story illustration may have value for bringing back memories. What stories lie dormant in your stash of old photos?

Write on,

Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal

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