My nephew Colin has been posting old family photos on Facebook, and you never know what horrifying image may appear from day to day. He has dug up pictures from a Christmas when I was relatively thin, which just makes me feel fat. And yesterday he found this picture from my teen years.
On the left is my eldest sister holding her son Kenneth who is now 30ish and the father of two. In the middle is one of my middle sisters, and on the right sits young Scout at about the age of 17. I remember being that age, but I have no recollection of this moment—I don't know where that swing might have been, whether it was in Georgia or Indiana or Alabama.
My hair went through a series of changes and in those years. My mother had this idea that to be truly pretty, a girl had to have curly hair, and since my hair is naturally straight, I was therefore not naturally pretty and was given a permanent now and then as a child. When I was 15, I chose to have that terrible thing done to my hair of my own accord, and I regretted it. I let it grow out and then had it cut out, so what's in this old photo is just plain old hair. I think plain old hair is far better than chemically treated hair.
If I could tell that girl on the swing something from her future, I'm not sure what it would be. I don't think people should know what their future holds good or bad. But I might say something like, "you know your dream of being a writer? Well, in 30 years you'll be no Harper Lee but you'll at least be writing for Small Town. That's something."