This is a photo of Gregg and me. It was taken before we were married in July 1975, and we had driven up to Worcestershire to introduce him to my sister and brother-in-law. I haven't seen this photo in years but I went upstairs and delved into an old box and found a whole bunch of them. We just bought a replacement scanner for the one that broke a while back, and this week I have been finding old snapshots to scan and file. Good job too, a lot of them are fading.
I think when I first saw this photo I said something like "Yee-Gads, where did the time go?"
The first thing I noticed was how young we looked, and second was where are my EYEBROWS? I am hoping that it was because it was the style of things back then and not because I had gone a little bonkers with the tweezers. I never liked mine and would try to be as fastidious as possible in shaping what I had. Nope, that doesn't look right, maybe I ought to tweeze a few more on this side. Nope that looks terrible, let me try and match up the other side and heck, before you know it, whoops!
The first thing Gregg said? "Who is that skinny guy?" The first thing he noticed was that he was wearing a pink sweater. If you knew Gregg you would know that this is an astonishing discovery. He's pretty conservative these days and wouldn't touch a pink sweater with a ten foot pole. He also remembers wearing bell bottoms.
We were also probably smiling maniacally due to relief, as when we first arrived my sister had left the key under the mat and we let ourselves in. The last thing she said to me on the phone was, "Don't let Blue out, he'll see the open door and think it's time for a runner." Well, Gregg opened the door and saw this big ball of fur flying at him from down the hallway, startled he did what any sensible man would do, side-step before he got trampled down.
Blue was a big old English Sheepdog with a major attitude and he was his own dog, not a dog who would stay put when called, by us anyhow. We spent the next hour hunting him down, jumping over hedges, startling neighbors, apologizing to neighbors while trampling neighbor's flowers down - well not exactly because Blue had flattened everything already and jumped over so many fences and run across so many gardens, he was like his own herd of elephants stampeding through a forest.
All Gregg could think of was that the first time he met my sister and her husband, he imagined himself saying, "Hi I'm the guy who is going to marry your sister and oh by the way, I just lost your dog." I'm thankful to say that we collared Blue eventually and the neighbors were really nice considering. They knew we were coming and I think Gregg was the first American they had met in a long, long time if ever, so he was a bit of a novelty. I knew them from the many trips I had made up there. Let's just say we made our mark and when we walked into the village pub that night we were well known. What did my sister say? Nothing much, she just rolled her eyes and said, "Oh Blue, you naughty boy!" Blue looked back adoringly. At this point my brother-in-law rolled his eyes because he will be the first to admit that Blue loved my sister but males on the whole, not so much. All ended well and fortunately this did not prevent them from liking Gregg from the beginning.
I had known Blue for about three years and always enjoyed my weekends with that funny dog because you just never knew what to expect. He was a character from day one. He always paid my sister mind but didn't give a hoot to anyone else. If he had been human I would have said he had wild mood swings, you just never knew on which side of the bunk bed he got up on, but how I loved that dog and now I think of him I smile a real big smile.
So look back at that photo and you'll now understand those big happy smiles, happiness, relief, thank God we didn't lose the dog.
(I found Blue's Doppelganger on line)