My father was pretty meticulous about labeling his slides and captioning the snapshots he faithfully glued into albums with those little triangle corners that you had to lick in order to make them stick. However, most of the captions were matter-of-fact: a place, “Berlin, 1952;” an event, “Christmas, 1960;” a name, “George.” So, when I pulled this slide out of its slot, I was surprised by the caption in my father’s handwriting, “Susie!” Not just “Susie,” but “Susie EXCLAMATION POINT!”

There may have been an “occasion,” because in the picture, my hair is neatly combed, sleek and shiny. My eyes are bright and smiling and although I don’t remember the actual moment, I believe it was a happy one. I imagine that when the slide came back from the developer, probably weeks after the picture was snapped, my father, in memory of the happy occasion, wrote my name and then, on impulse, boldly punctuated it.

Maybe the moony eyes gazing into the distance inspired him to do so. Throughout my little life, I often received the compliment, “You have such big, beautiful eyes.” “Thank you,” I would politely reply. But as a four-year-old, I decided that simply saying thank you implied that I was taking undeserved credit for my big, beautiful eyes; so I amended my response to the more appropriately humble, “Thank you. God gave them to me.”

Five and a half decades have passed since that captured moment, and my father moved on to the next dimension 35 years ago. Maybe my bright, smiling eyes are gazing into this future, to this day and moment, when my father will reach out from his place in the universe to thwack me on my gray head and exclaim, ‘I love you, “Susie!”’

3 comments on “Susie!”

  1. How touching and beautiful. I love you

  2. Ahh! You are so cute! No wonder your father added an exclamation point! Love you

  3. What a beautiful post Susan.

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