12 years old

Added on by Chris WHITE.

Early Saturday morning…December 25, 1982. Dad, mom…my sister Robin slightly out of frame.


I snapped this with my new Sears camera. A 35mm, SLR…my first real camera. I’d earned it. Studied photography the summer before and fell in love with it…everything about it.

This shot was taken with the flash attachment that slid into the hotshoe on top of the black, Pentax-inspired body.

Dad’s just-turned 37 year-old face makes me happy. I notice that he and I have the same left eye larger than our right. I’m proud of him. He and my mother rose early for Robin and I, Christmas mornings. They loved overloading us with gifts. Look: he’s done well himself…a sweater, pair of Levis, and that plaid shirt he would wear well into the late 90s.

From the nose down, I have my mother’s face. She is tired here, but pleased. 34 years old. Holding two gifts, patiently waiting her turn…listening to my sister. She knows I’m snapping a photo. She’s patient for that, too.

Robin’s handmade (not Coleco, thank you) Cabbage Patch Doll sits facing her. She wanted to see her new toy…look at it, take it all in. A new narrative had begun.

The stained pine chair rail on the wall. My dad loved staining, cutting, and installing chair rail…in our house, at church, his office. It was a cheap, smart way to dress up an otherwise modest suburban dining room. His carpentry skills were excellent…a trade won hard from many a frustrating afternoon in a Tiftonia, Tennessee workshop…disappointing his dad.

There’s no way my mother and father could fully realize how wide the world opened up for me with that gift…how seriously I would take it. But I do know they felt pleased giving it to me.

I can see it on my dad’s face.