Billie

bill at 5 yrs 001
Billie Waller, 5 years old, 1920

My father would have been ninety-nine years old today.

In September, he’ll have been gone for thirty-one years.

It’s easier to imagine him as the child in this picture

than to imagine him at ninety-nine.

Of two things, however, I’m certain:

If here were here today,

his blue eyes would still be twinkling,

and

 he would still be making us laugh.

###

When I was a child, my three cousins looked like my mother,

and my grandmother, and my aunts,

but I didn’t look like anyone.

I felt like an outsider and decided I’d been adopted,

although old photographs and witness testimony indicated otherwise.

It was years before I realized I looked like someone after all.

Kathy Waller, 8 years old, 1960
Kathy Waller, 8 years old, 1960