Dream of: 10 April 1974 "Pictures"

Mike Walls and his girlfriend Mary Atherton (two friends from my high school and college days) were visiting me in the upstairs living room of the Gay Street House in Portsmouth, Ohio. As I sat on the couch talking with Walls, Atherton stood in front of the large mirror over the mantle. Following a strong urge, I stood and walked over behind her. Standing behind her, I threaded my arms between her torso and her arms, and I clutched her breasts in front. At first she resisted, but since Walls merely sat on the couch and observed, she relented as I slipped my hands inside her low-cut blouse and relished the feel of her ample breasts.


While I was still in the same room (Walls and Atherton were no longer with me), my father walked in. He had just returned from a visit to Florida for Christmas, and in a large suitcase he had brought me a camera as a present. I carried the suitcase to my bedroom, withdrew the black and white camera, and examined its complex levers and knobs. Without reading the instructions, I tried to figure out how to operate the camera. After I had pressed and pulled several knobs, the camera began to hum it was electric! I meddled with it more, and after I had pushed more buttons, two negatives were exuded from a slot. I thought I must have shot the negatives while I had been trying to learn to work the camera.

After I had laid the negatives on a bureau by my side, they gradually began to change into real pictures. Once they had fully developed, I picked them up and discovered that I myself hadn't taken the pictures.

The pictures were not of the scenes before me, but of two other scenes. In the first picture was my grandmother Leacy (my mother's mother) and my grandmother's polio-crippled son, my uncle George. My grandmother appeared to be in her late 40s and George looked as if he were about 30. My grandmother was sitting on a couch wearing a dress which fell to mid-shin. George was crouching on the floor with his crippled legs bent back under him (he was crippled with polio from an early age). One of my grandmother's arms lay on her lap, while the other arm rested on the back of the couch. The acutely poignant look of my grandmother's eyes was the most expressive part of the austere picture. Starring straight from the picture, her eyes seemed to say that even though she had endured much sorrow, she had submitted to her plight of raising a crippled son and had persevered. Intermingled with the pain imbued in her eyes shone a certain pride which seemed to say she hadn't lived in vain.

The second picture was quite different. My father was standing on the left side of the picture, in a large living room, holding a whiskey bottle in his hand. Scattered about him in various positions on the floor and furniture lay an assortment of people who appeared to have taken part in a debauched party. The picture appeared to portray an accusatory scene of expended lust.

After carefully examining both pictures and discerning their meanings, I decided I wanted to take some pictures myself. I decided to first photograph the street outside my window; the street would always change and I wanted to remember it as it was now. Somehow, however, I either clicked the wrong buttons or aimed the camera incorrectly, because I took a picture of myself instead. In a few minutes the picture emerged from the camera. In my haste I had forgotten to press the button that enlarged the pictures and a miniature photograph was emitted on approximately a two-centimeter square paper. Examining the paper, I found that this picture (unlike the first two pictures) didn't first turn into a negative; instead, developing-material on the picture allowed the picture to develop right on the paper, even as I watched.

The picture showed my head emerging from a ground covered with a blanket of leaves. When I looked from a different angle, the picture became distorted and showed my head being first elongated and then twisted out of proportion. My head looked quite warped, but my eyes were strong and penetrating. The eyes seemed curious, as if they were asking where they had come from.

I picked up all the pictures. I thought I would show them to my friend since high school Steve Weinstein, who had recently told me of pictures he had taken during some of his travels.

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