Before I bought my house in 1997, I moved around a lot; I used to joke that when my windows needed to be washed, I would just find a new apartment.
The exception was my college apartment, where I lived for three years. It was the third floor of a twin house; a kitchen, bedroom and bath—three small rooms with ceilings so slanted I could barely stand up straight. The apartment was just adequate, but the location was fantastic.
It was in Ardmore, PA, one block from the Suburban Square Shopping Center—stores, restaurants and a train station.
I was running in those days, and my morning run ended with a stop at a local book store, where I would buy the morning newspaper and chat with the guy at the cash register. In addition to his love of books, Al also loved photography, as evidenced by his collection of black-and-white photos adorning the book store walls.
Soon after I began stopping at the book store, Al asked if he could take my picture for his collection. Although I was flattered to be asked, my answer was a resounding “no.” I explained to Al that I was planning on becoming an FBI agent after college and I did not think the Bureau would look kindly on an applicant who had her photo displayed on his book store wall.
The prospect of having an FBI agent’s picture on his wall made photographing me all the more fascinating to Al, and his request became part of our daily conversation. He pleaded and cajoled in an effort to change my mind.
The problem was not so much having my picture on his wall, but rather the style of Al’s photography.
The photos were all of women who had been into the store; the backdrop in each photo was the store’s large picture window. The window was covered with blinds, and Al used the morning light and the angle of the slats to create interesting lines and shadows.
The women were photographed from the waist up and their bodies were only covered by the shadows created by the stripes of the angled blinds. That’s right, only shadows; no clothes.
The photos were artistic and beautiful, but, I thought, not FBI material.
“I won’t tell anyone,” Al would assure me, but I was not convinced.
Al never took my photo, and I never became an FBI agent. And now, after living in the same home for sixteen years, I am scouting out new neighborhoods to live in and hoping for someplace fantastic.