Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Leif in Puerto Rico - 1991 - Age 16

Leif turned into a teenage heartthrob in Puerto Rico, quite a change from the shy and gangly kid he was in Illinois before we moved. With the long hair, I used to tease him, between his sixteenth and nineteenth years, that he looked like he should be on the cover of a "bodice-ripper" romance novel, or pose for the covers. These photos were taken in the back yard of our quarters at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico. I don't remember it ever really being cool enough to wear a sweater, but Leif's sense of fashion didn't seem to be geared to the weather. It must have been a bit cooler, though, because a friend of his who was also in these photos was wearing a long-sleeved turtleneck.

In those days, Leif liked to wear a chain around his neck and an earring, too, and dress fashionably, including the dress fads of the time. His favorite color was purple. I've already posted a photo of him in his purple suit. I don't know what happened to that sense of color and fashion as he got older, whether he got more conservative, or felt it didn't fit in as well in the USA, or whether it had something to do with his weight gain, but he stopped wearing anything but black and blah tan stuff most of the time in the years before his death, with the exception of some conservatively colored button-and-collar shirts that had nice patterns on them, mostly gifts from his dad.

Leif had good friends in Puerto Rico and I know he missed them greatly when we moved away back to Kansas.

It's getting harder to find new photos to post on this blog, especially ones with a story to tell. By now I have posted over 800 photos of him. The photos of him from birth in 1975 until we moved to Hawaii in 1983 are in albums and relatively easy to find, but I got overwhelmed in grad school and working, and the printed photos from 1983 until we started digital photography a few years ago are all sitting in two large file boxes, waiting for me to write on them what they are and where they were taken, and the dates, and who knows if that will ever happen. In some cases, I no longer remember where they were taken! At least I put a date on the envelopes. At least a year.

And aside from photos that don't have clear memories attached are all the memories with no photos, like the time in Puerto Rico when the termites were swarming. We had never seen anything like that, although I had heard about it. If you've never experienced this, I hope you won't. We were sitting at dinner one evening, in our dining room in Puerto Rico and it was dusk. We looked outside and saw a cloud, a HUGE cloud, of insects in the back yard. Bear in mind that our house in Puerto Rico did not have real windows, just screens and metal louvers surrounding some large picture windows. The screens were covered with clear plastic so that we could have a window air conditioner, but the place was far from airtight and the termites knew it.

While we were looking curiously out the picture window, termites started finding their way into the dining room in droves, through any small opening in the areas around the louvers. We couldn't dispose of them fast enough and we couldn't keep them out. It didn't take us long to realize the light was attracting them, so the only thing we could do was turn off all the lights. Not even a candle or flashlight. No television, either. We just had to wait it out. Leif thought the whole thing was rather amusing, just as he thought catching giant rats in the laundry area under the house (a task for which I paid him) was kind of amusing -- or to be honest, it was my unwillingness to do it myself that he found amusing.

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