This is Lilly Cavanaugh Kuykundall.It is written on the back of the photo. Related to me somehow. I know this ,because my great grandmother’s maiden name was Kuykundall. Lilly is dressed well, has a kind face, but who Lilly actually IS I have no idea. Is she ; Fun? Honest? Believer? Sickly? Mean? Depressed? There is no way of knowing who she is, there is no way of knowing whom anyone is from a photograph.
I have struck many a pose in my life. Many forms a dress, many hats I have worn. My ‘cover’ may reveal some of the content of a certain chapter of my life, but it does not tell whom I am. Not to a stranger. Those that know me, could look at pictures of me and possibly see a look that they have seen in ‘live’ action and know it to belong to a certain persona of mine. Most of those who know me, though ,probably look at these pictures and just get a glimpse of my ‘type’ of life.
I look at the pictures and know the reason behind the pose. Beyond it being for Easter with the cousins. I know this is trip to Corpus Christi to visit the cousins. I loved being with my cousin Julie, just nine months younger, and Fran, a couple of years ahead. Always wanted Fran to pay a bit more attention to me. I know the hat I wore is still in my closet. My granddaughters want to put it on and wear it around. I love iris’ and their little yellow caterpillar insides. My Mamaw grew them well. It was her joy to have us with her Easter and to pose us in front of the flowers.
. I look at pictures of my brother Kirk and think, if I did not know him, I would not know how he had lived. That he was a talented musician and artist. That he has a daughter who will soon have his first grandchild. You can’t tell from pictures that he died too young. . I wish I could remember his hands on my shoulders.
I was so much younger than Mike and Kirk, and a girl, I don’t have memories with doing a lot with my brothers ,don’t think I did. I was a bit on my own, but never really lonely. I know they loved me. We do have all of those times all dressed up and smiling together.
.A picture of girl in a brown dress does not tell you that she can not ride anything that goes in circles without tossing her cookies. The first time I knew I could not spin, I was being pushed on the merry go round at church, in this dress.
This brown dress, shows me to be a dutiful Brownie. Who joined a group activity and learned the verses and wore the uniform with pride. NOT. I can’t stand organized group activities. I don’t like wearing uniform, just so. To recite a verse ‘to belong’ is cheesy to me. Competing with others to get the most patches to do more activities than the others makes my throat tighten and my stomach churn. Not just for myself, but for the other who may not be able to beat me. I don’t want anyone to feel less, because of me. So I will not compete, I hate to compete.
I love to dress up. I love the gift of clothes. My mother taught me every event deserved a new dress. Christmas
A new haircut Even if it was because I got gum stuck in it and had to have it all cut off. .
12 years of first day of school outfits
My grandparents returning from a vacation to Hawaii even Barbie received some new wear.
Anytime I got all dressed up, around Mom and Dad, they would take a snap,Like they needed to immortalize the pretty, because it was so rare. I really didn’t know I was ‘pretty’ nor thin. I always thought of myself as a 6x, because I wore that size as a child. I thought that X meant LARGE. My cousin couldn’t wear 6x and she was always a little smaller than I, I thought that was cause I was an amazon. Now I know it is because she is genetically an Akers with no shoulder span, and I am genetically a Dorsett/Gulick (german) and have broad shoulders.
Easter , of course,was another moment of posing, from birth till mom died ,I had a special easter/birthday dress, with a stuffed bunny or chick to go with. This time of the year in time for Easter, in April I, have a bit of a ‘need’ to shop spring clothes, and pretty dresses. Mom would always always make sure I had my Easter/Birthday ensemble; a dress or two, hair ribbons, hose, ruffle socks, a hat, a purse. We shopped together, we splurged on me, together. This really was one annual mother daughter time we spent together. Mother could kill three birds in the spring, Easter, Birthday and Mother Daughter time. I loved it.
Band banquets. We did not get proms. Then I found a guy who did, and got to go to his prom I felt like the country bumpkin at his big ole school prom.
Then there are the years I performed. I looked like I could play. I do know how to read music, I do know where the keys are.
Then there was dance. A little candleA wood nymph A dance teacher who told me I walked like a duck. She would call me out in front of all the girls as the example of what not to do. I was 5. We had just moved from my safe small town, just me and my baby sitter ,Mamie life, to Abilene. I was with others kids in kindergarten, after school program, teachers and ‘caregivers’ who did not know me for the first time. I was very afraid and lonely
Mother changed my dance to Mrs. OBrian. Mrs OBrian would sit and talk with me, give me hot tea as we waited for my mother to arrive late, once a week. I loved my time with her. Mrs OBrian gave me a beautiful charm bracelet for my birthday.
Then came dance with Miss Maxine, in Slaton. I really wanted to be a ballerina.Started to see that I might be kind of cute. I could dance a bit. The girls in Slaton all grew up together, I was an ‘outsider’ I just did not get why it mattered to them where I lived. I learned much later, it was that competition thing, I just did not get.
Dance lead to Twirling. Not because I had a heart to dance, or felt the drive to just express myself with dance
Not because I had a great talent for spinning a metal rod. It was more because I was not cheerleader material. People liked me, I was cute enough, but I am not a cheerleader. Not a social monkey. I don’t compete. Take me or leave me kind of person. In my 7th grade year, Mom had this wonderful plan for me to be a twirler. I had never picked up a baton in my life. Mom paid for a few lessons for me. Talked to the band director (Dad was Jr. High Principle, Mom was 4th grade teacher so they are co workers). Set me up for try outs and sent me in. I got it. I think all of the girls who tried out got it.
I twirled for 6 years- Jr High and High School. I had 4 Band Directors. I don’t think I had to try out again. But the competition was still there. Who was skinniest? Not me , but I was not fat, and I did need a bra, unlike….Who dropped the baton the most?Me, cause I knew they would give me hell about it. Who thought they were the prettiest? Not meWho was twirled the longest? Pam always claimed to be her, we started the same time, and she couldn’t twirl a few times because of grades so technically…. But who is counting? 😉 Who could be the biggest bitch?Not Me Who had the a date every Friday after the game and the biggest mum at homecoming? ME, JR. & SR year
I look at ME in my pictures and I see who I have been,who I tried to be. I know those times I look brave and courageous, I am really only being sustained and guided by God. I know how insecure I felt
I know how much people miss not knowing the ME I am and just assuming they do, cause they look at the cover. . I know how much I cared for those around me and how grateful I am to have them. I know how blessed I am. I know there is a wonderful story about me, that God wrote I want to be more than a picture.