Wednesday, October 31, 2007

To the Manor Born

I have always prided myself on my natural grace and style. Here I am, impeccably groomed,enjoying an elegant breakfast sometime around Christmas, 1950. I assume the butler took the photo.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Playing the Game

Peer pressure is rough on a gay teenager. I hated the idea of dating (girls, anyway), but was coerced into going to a prom (Senior year, probably) and will be ever grateful to a girl I knew and liked from junior high...Elena Barbagallo, who reminded me of the movie actress Patricia Neal. Elena has my undying gratitude for putting up with me.

Monday, October 29, 2007

So Fast They Fly!

This grainy shot is from the local Rockford newspaper. My very first job was as a that the Rockford Public Library when I was probably 15. The photo is from a group shot taken on the occasion of the library's having gotten a movie projector...a big deal at the time. The years had begun their accellerated pace, which continues to this day.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Music Man

I don't know whose idea it was...mine or my parents...that I take up music. I wanted to play the trombone, but the band instructor said I didn't have the right mouth/teeth for it. So I settled for the clainet, at which I was not very good. Still, it got me in the band and stood me in very good stead for years later, when I was in the NavCads. But more of that later. Now it is 1947 or thereabouts, and I'm feeling very special in my band "uniform."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Family Outings

One of the joys of growing up is trips with the family. But the years rush forward, tumbling over themselves to the point where it is sometimes hard to remember which year was which, or exactly how old one was when a photo was taken. This one, on a trip to Chicago's Brookfield Zoo (Dad behind the camera again)was, considering my relative height to Mom, probably was 1944 or 1945.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Moment in Time

I've been trying to keep these photos in more or less chonological order, but came across this shot of my dad taken around 1938. It's really only since I've been looking at photos of him as a young man that I realize how really good looking he was.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Pilgrim's Progress

The meandering river that is life has many bridges. Here, I've just crossed the one dividing elementary school and junior high. My reluctant journey from childhood to being an adult continues, and here I seem happy enough to just to go along with the flow.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Swiftly, too swiftly....

I hate hats. I have always hated hats. What I'm doing in one here I have no idea, but here it is suddenly 1946 or '47 and I am standing in the yard of our little house at 328 Blackhawk Ave., Rockford, IL, looking rather pleased with things. I had no idea I'd still be standing there, smiling into the camera, sixty years later. (I'd have taken off the hat.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Once there was a family....

Looking back through all the photos I have, I find really very few of my mom, dad, and me together (it was usually a dad's job to take photos), but here we are, probably somewhere around 1943. There were three of us, then. There is one of us now. What I wouldn't give for there to be three of us again.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Changeling

Though approximately twelve years had elapsed between these photos, and the photobooth shots show the accellerating transition from baby to adult, I can still see...especially in the third shot of the trio...a strong resemblence to the earlier picture. Once me, always me.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Ghosts of Friends

To come across photos of onnce-close family friends is like entering a room long closed off. Memories rise like dust particles in a sunbeam.

Ted and Ann Kenyon and their fanuly were our closest friends for many years, since Dad worked with Ted in Chicago in the mid-1930s. Here we are (Dad took the picture) at Chicago's Olson Rug Company Gardens, probably around 1945. But slowly the years separated us, and they disappeared in the mists of time. I often wonder what became of them. Friends are too valuable to lose.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Harry Morris Days

I attended Harry Morris elementary school in Rockford, IL, from 3rd through 6th grade. The entire student body of 1946 gathered on the steps for a school photo, with a rapidly-growing young Roger looking forward to the future with a bit more positive attitude than previous school shots.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bring it on!

It's 1943. The country is at war. They stopped making civilian automobiles in 1942. Food rationing. Gas rationing. War bonds. Scrap metal drives. Victory gardens. And nine-year-old me (I didn't turn ten until November.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Boy and his Dog

Of all the animals I've had in my life, Lucky holds a special place in my heart. We found him somewhere and had him for several years until we moved into a larger house and my dad sent Lucky to my grandfather's farm, where he "disappeared." I never forgave Dad for that, I fear.

Anyway, that was all in the futre when this photo of Mom, me, Lucky, and a sadly unremembered kitten was taken around 1942 or '43.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

That Old Gang of Mine....

From 1941 through 1943, my parents and I lived in a converted garage on a one-block-long street, Loves Court, Loves Park, IL. It was a small world, but filled with friends. From Left, Bubba Strait, Sonny York, Pat & Sally Strait, me, Doretta and Dorothy York. Sonny grew up to be a minister...the others, sadly, are lost in time. But for right now, right this instant, we are all kids again, standing together in our friendship, staring into the camera of the future.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

So Slow Forward, So Fast Back

The time between first and second grade was an eternity as it was being lived, yet not even the blink of an eye when looking back.

I seem to have grown a bit in this 2nd Grade class photo and closeup, but my uneasy accommodation with the world remains clearly evident.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Soldiers Three

Hard to imagine that we were once in a war which united rather than divided the nation. Even little boys were swept up in it, including the hatless kid in the center. Not sure where the jackets came from, but we thought they looked military and made us feel we were part of something very big and very important.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Face in the Crowd

I began first grade at the end of 1940, so this one, dated 1941 must be from second grade, when, as the close up indicates, I was already developing a jaded view of the world.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Path to Knowledge

Cropped from a much larger photo of my first grade class (Loves Park Elementary, 1941), the dapper young man sets out on his path to knowledge: a far, far longer journey than he could have imagined. He is still on it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Today, October 11, 2007, is my dad's birthday. Reality tells me he would be 96 today, but as you know I refuse to believe in reality. This photo was taken probably around 1940 in a photobooth somewhere. Another photo from the same group appears in my book, The Paper Mirror

Dad died November 11, 1968 (Mom's birthday) of a heart attack. He was 57 years old. It is strange to think of being older than one's parents.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Story of My Life

I think this one photo, taken around 1938, pretty much tells the story of my life. I'm not in sharp focus, I'm not quite sure of what's going on, and everyone else in the picture is looking in the opposite direction.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Fearns to the left of me, Fearns to the Right

Just as I consider myself more a Fearn than a Margason, my three cousins...Cork (behind me), Jack (to his left), and Fat (to his right with his either-just or soon-to-be wife, Shirley, and Shirley's brother, Clyde)...were more big brothers than cousins, and they always treated me that way...for which I was and shall always be eternally grateful. The moment is 1937, but it is also, in my heart and mind, now and forever.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Huckleberry Finn Influence

Apparently I was doing an homage to Huckleberry Finn in this photo with Grandpa Gus Margason taken on the porch of his gas station/tavern in Fairdale, Illinois, circa 1937.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

No Child is an Island

Our lives are influenced not only by our parents, but by our extended families. Here I am, the picture of poise and grace even at the age of three, with my cousins Charles ("Fat") and Jack Fearn at the home of my beloved Aunt Thyra and Uncle Buck. I always considered myself more of a Fearn (Mom's side of the family) than a Margason.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

We Are Who We Come From

We are more than our parents' genes and chromosomes; we are in many ways who they were. I was blessed that the two young people above gave me far more than the gift of life: they largely shaped who I am today, and though now long dead, they are alive in me, as yours are in you.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Portait of the Artist as a Young Man

Don't let the innocent look fool you. When this was taken, circa 1935, I was probably just entereing what is known as "The terrible two's". Part of me never left.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

First Comes Love,Then Comes Marriage. Then Comes Baby...

Frank and Odrae Margason probably 1931 or 1932...a year or so before they became Mom and Dad. Little did they know...though Dad looks like he has an idea.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Adventures in a Perambulator

Mom (Odrae) was adamant. Every day, come rain, sleet, snow, or tornado, I went out for a walk. My mother was a very nice woman, and I was rather fond of her as she, I suspect, was rather fond of me. I have said, and am as sure of it as I have ever been of anything, that to my mother and father, I was not only their son, but their sun.

This split-second of time was snatched from 1934 and preserved specifically so that I might share it with you. I of course had no idea of what was going on at the time. Far too often, I still don't.

And in the beginning...

Franklyn Roger Margason was not the first baby born in the history of the world, but he was the first (and only) baby born to Frank and Odrae Margason of Rockford, Illinois. This first photo...and it was the first photo...was taken probably either late December, 1933, or early 1934. And hard as it may be to realize, there WAS a 1933. And a 1934. And several thereafter.

And so this blog, and the journey, begins. I hope you'll come along for the ride.