i paint i write

Live boldly, laugh and make art

Did you pose with a dead fox when you were two and a half?

My father had a trap line.  So, of course when your children are two and a half, and four years old, all dressed up in their hand knit sweaters in March of 1961 you want to take a picture of them with the dead fox you caught in your trap-line.

canada 1961

Who are these children? I know it is a photograph of me and my brother. But, who are we? What were we thinking? Were we happy? Did we want to have our photograph taken with a dead fox in front of our house on Avenue K in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan? Were our mittens tied to a string?

What were we thinking? Was the foxes body cold? Was the fur soft? What am I holding in my hand? I look like I am having trouble standing up. Perhaps the frozen fox was leaning against me and I felt unstable.

What was my father thinking? Was my mother there? Does she remember?

What were we doing before this photograph was taken? Was this photograph taken after I cut my own bangs? Is that why they are so short? Did I put on my boots with the fur trim myself or did my mother have to help me? What did we do after this photograph was taken? Are we going somewhere? Were we taking a snack with us?

Did my father start the car and warm it up for us? Was it cold in Saskatoon in March 1961?

Memories of childhood were the dreams that stayed with you after you woke.
― Julian Barnes, England, England

In my dreams

In my dreams my father is still alive,  my brother and I are still living with our parents on Avenue K and my parents are still married and happy.

But my father died sixteen years ago,  I have not lived with my family since 1978 and my parents divorced and remarried.

When you finally go back to your old hometown, you find it wasn’t the old home you missed but your childhood. ~Sam Ewing

I flew to Canada last June to see my mother for her birthday. We looked through old black and white photographs, and I took a photograph of a photograph of my brother and me with a dead fox. 

What is memory?

What is memory? Does our past only exist in the photographs of our childhood? Do the events of our lives exist if we don’t remember them? If we don’t remember our childhood did it happen? 

The photograph is a slice of a day. A few seconds. All that remains is this photograph. There is no memory of what happened before or after.

If I didn’t have this photograph there would be no memory of the frozen fox. There would only be a vague dream of a cold fox with soft fur. 

Did you pose with a dead fox when you were two and a half? Or were you only dreaming?

————————–

Do you have a photograph of yourself as a child you would like to share? Perhaps one with a dead fox? Click here to comment. 

xo
Pamela

This story is part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge. Click on the orange slice to read other Slice stories.

 

About Pamela Hodges

I write slice of life stories to help you know you are loved, valuable and worthy just as you are. I am a writer, an artist, and a cleaner of seven litter boxes. I live in Pennsylvania with one husband, four cats, one dog and two birds.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

Feature Box

Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Berdeane Bodley

    Believe me, I could have done without that creative side of you……oh ha ha ha ha!!

  • La McCoy

    I dont think so. But we do have a picture of grand pa in a hat dangling a dead something.

    • Do you have any photographs of you when you were little La? The one of your grand pa must be fun to see.
      Small slices of life, of memories.

      • La McCoy

        I am keeper of the family pics. I went through them with my mother while she lay dying. The pictures all have development dates on them. What i could not figure out was this cute toddler. the pictures were developed after my brother was born. I would have been 5+. My mother came out of her fog and said. That is you. I could not afford to develop them until then. mystery solved.

        • Oh La,
          That is the sweetest story. Have you written it down? I would love to see a photograph of you as a cute toddler.

          How special your mother came out of her fog to tell you about the photograph. The date stamp would have totally confused me too. Who is this child?
          I am so sorry your mommy died.
          xo
          Love Pamela

          • La McCoy

            Thank you Pamela. Next time I did out the photos i will share!
            Actually the photos look exactly like ME! haha

  • Berdeane Bodley

    That could have been around the time you & I had been to Beechy, I was in the kitchen ironing (Granny Mary hated to iron & if she knew we were coming she saved all her ironing up for me) anyway, you came out of her bedroom with your hands cupped together holding something, just grinning away, I asked what you had there & you opened your little hands to a mound os curls, took about 4 years of growing & cutting & trimming before your hair was 100% normal again that time……….then there was the time……. yes, you & scissors have a long history of togetherness………….xxooxx

    • Hi Mom,
      I sort of remember the scissors in Granny Mary’s room. I don’t remember cutting my hair, but I do remember I wasn’t suppose to be in her room.
      Must be the creative side of me.
      xo
      Love your daughter

  • Katina Vaselopulos

    I love old photographs. Have many since I was four years old. My uncle had a camera and every time he visited he took photos of me and my siblings. Yes, not to many answers in them. Still, there are of one moment in eternity, and you can tell a lot from them, even if not everything.
    I tried to add a photo but was not possible!
    Be well, Pamela. Good memories are good to remember. But like bad ones, they too belong to the past. Other than short visits there, they have no purpose. It is the now that matters and only the now can be the first step to tomorrow!
    Blessings and light,
    Katina
    P.S. Glad I could post with my name 🙂

    • Oh Katina,
      You are always so wonderful at encouraging me to take charge of today and not dwell on the bad memories.
      I love what you said. “Other than short visits there, they have no purpose. It is the now that matters and only the now can be the first step to tomorrow.”
      Love it, and you.
      xo
      Pamela

  • Nancy B.

    No dead foxes but wonderful memories of my childhood! I don’t know how you find time to write and paint and clean 7 litter boxes and respond to all the comments that your readers make…BRAVO!

    • Hello Nancy B.
      How fun to have wonderful memories of childhood. Please feel free to share a photograph of you when you were little.
      I still have to do the litter boxes today, and I haven’t painted in two days. But, there is always today.
      xo
      Pamela

  • Berdeane Bodley

    I remember that picture being taken, my goodness neither you or your brother look to thrilled about the whole thing, I do recall neither of you were very happy to say the least & it shows. Oh what parents put their children through…………….

    • Good Morning Mother,
      How fun you remember the photograph being taken. Did I cut my own hair?
      It appears that I have always like to take scissors to my hair.
      xo
      Love your daughter

  • Alan Wright

    So much rich thought and speculation came from this unique photograph which clearly holds enormous significance for you. Your post is testimony to how much treasure awaits the writer who goes in search of old photographs. The past magically reveals itself. Michael Rosen wrote a great poem about this very act. He called it, somewhat unsurprisingly, ‘Looking Through Old Photographs.’ Enjoyed your post immensely.

    • Hello Alan,
      Thank you for your suggestion of the poem by Michael Rosen. I will try and find it. I am glad you enjoyed the post. Do you have an old photograph of you to share?

      • Alan Wright

        Pamela, I found this old photo of me atop a kerosene tin. Simple pleasures I guess. Kids frequently find delight in playing with everyday items. It looks a rather spontaneous snap to me.

        • Alan,
          Thank you for sharing your photograph. Yes, it does look spontaneous. And it looks like you were having fun. Love those curls. Your mother must have been a fun mother, to let you play freely.

  • WW Erin

    Thought-provoking post. Sometimes I can’t figure out whether I’m remembering something that happened or just what I know happened because of the photos I’ve seen. And how do buried memories affect us? They must… but if we can’t recall them, how? Either way, great picture of you and the fox. Here’s a favorite old photo of mine: me picking apples.

    • Hello WW Erin,
      I wonder that too, how do buried memories affect us? I would love to see the photograph of you picking apples. Do you remember picking apples, or only because of the photograph?
      All my best,
      xo
      Pamela