It Was 30 Years Ago Today…

Sargent Pepper Taught the Band to Play

Snagged from a family portrait on our recent travels–a portrait from a forgotten Biloxi studio, hanging on the wall (I don’t remember going to this much trouble, dressed in my favorite tweed jacket with professorial elbow patches) that included Ann’s extended family of available siblings and their sprouts du jour.

The year was 1982. We had recently moved to “the farm” about five miles from Wytheville. I had been teaching at the Community College for about five years, and quite comfortable in that role.

The kids would have been small and smaller. The dog of the day was Zachary, our first black lab. Those were the good years–maybe the best of our lives, in the prime of body and intellect and pleasantly established in the local society.

Funny how looking back into one’s own eyes (lacking the saggy-baggy-ness and crow’s feet of the current face) can carry you back, momentarily, inside that existence, for good or ill. Mostly, there was good. The salad days.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Wow! You ran the Wayback Macbine again! I can really see your resemblance to Nate in the photo. Any chance of posting the whole photo instead of the cropped version? Yes, times in W’ville were (mostly) good…thanks for the memories!