It’s July, 1958. El Paso, Texas. “Big Jimmie”, as he will come to be called by his family now that he has a “Little Jimmie”, turned 20 this month, and is an airman in the United States Air Force. When I selected the picture for this week’s “Throwback Thursday”, I noticed something I hadn’t seen before. I’ve always seen him in pictures of me, and that gets truer the older I get. Until today, however, I had never noticed my Mother in me. I see her in this one, however. Something in my face reminds me of her, and I wonder why I never noticed it before. I also see many of my other relatives. Or rather I see the common familial features we all tend to have as infants. We might all look very different as we grow up, but you can certainly tell we’re all related in our baby pictures.
Oddly, it reminds me of how I first became aware of Keanu Reeves.
It was the early 90’s, and I was looking for something to watch on TV. I was flipping through the cable channels hoping to find something interesting, when I landed in the middle of a movie, “The River’s Edge”. A young character caught my eye. He was a teenager, probably 15-18, and he looked familiar. I couldn’t place him, however, and it was bugging me. I decided that I would watch the movie, and simply catch his name in the credits. After a while, it dawned on me why he looked so familiar – he resembled all my male cousins of the same age! I still didn’t know who he was, so I continued to wait for the end of the movie. I thought to myself at the time, “it would be wild if he was a Reeves”. I about fell out of my chair when the credits finally rolled, and his character was played by “Keanu Reeves”!
I’ve since tried to investigate the family trees, but as far as I can tell, we are only very distantly related, if at all. The name would imply a connection, but if so it’s many generations back. No branch of my family that I’m aware of ended up in Hawai’i, where Keanu’s father is from. (It’s would also be interesting to know how a native Hawai’ian ended up with the Reeves surname!)
So, Big Jimmie, freshly turned 20 and a father for 10 months, is embarking on a future with a young wife and son. He’ll end up with two more children, both girls, within five years. There will be a lot of ups and downs, and struggles with alcohol and money. He is a product of his times and the family he’s from, and both will take their toll on him. They’ll also take their toll on Little Jimmie, his mother, and his sisters, but perhaps that’s a story for some other time. Today we’ll just look back at a man and his boy, and wonder that fifty six years have come and gone in the blink of an eye, and yet this moment in the back yard is suspended in time, forever frozen.