The Scene: Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park
The Date: June 17, 2005
The Occasion: A picnic and photo session
The People: Melisa, Julesie, and the two boys (Older boy being days away from 13; younger boy being 10)

This park is chock-full of interesting sculptures in all shapes, sizes, and materials. We thought it would be fun to make the drive up to see it and enjoy a picnic. And it was. Two specific memories from that day stand out in my mind; one is the inaugural use of the phrase “Gotta pee pee at the BP, coined by Julesie. (EDITED: I stand corrected: it was “I gotta TEE TEE at the BP.” I’m old.) The other? The fight.

It started innocently enough; we were all taking turns posing on and near various sculptures:

And then we came upon a sculpture that was large enough for several people, but apparently only one boy.

A shoving match ensued:

The older boy, victorious, claimed his territory.

The younger boy got teary-eyed:

…and then went in for the retaliation. If you click on the photo to make it larger, you can see the blotchy nature of the younger boy’s face as he, smiling, hops onto his brother’s back. The older boy, well, he’s just pissed off:

As I approached the older boy to chat with him about what was happening, he decided to get all anti-paparazzi:

In the meantime, the younger boy moved on to bigger and better sculptures, working on his acting skills which might someday earn him an Oscar.

And the older boy, approaching puberty like a runaway train, stepped away from the rest of us to contemplate how much his life was sucking at that moment.

And still, the younger boy posed.

At the end of his rope and not understanding why his mother wouldn’t put down the camera, the older boy couldn’t take it anymore.

And then, finally, when almost all hope was lost, he was ready to talk about it.

And we were able to go on with our day.

What do I want you to take away from this post? The idea that not all childhood photos should be of the smiling, happy variety. I mean really, you can get a great memory flash in your brain by looking at a photo of a smiling kid, but it’s the stories behind the not-so-happy photos that tell some pretty entertaining stories. (Obviously if anyone is in danger, I would follow the advice of Tom Bergeron and Bob Saget before him: PUT THE CAMERA DOWN!)