Day 369: Old Familiar Faces

Let’s start with the title of today’s post (as is my wont*): Old Familiar Faces.**

My first association with that title is this:  My father singing that line to me, when I was a little kid. Right now, I can hear his voice, in my mind’s ear, singing it.

I now interrupt this reverie with some facts.

My dad used to sing me the 1938 song, “I’ll be Seeing You” sometimes, before he said “good night.” I loved hearing him sing that song.

Here are two YouTube versions of that song. The first, by Billie Holiday:

And this one, with Michael Bublé:

If you played***** either of those videos, perhaps you noticed something interesting.

If you didn’t,  I’ll tell you: That line is NOT in the song.


So, in this post, already, we’ve encountered some interesting things about memory.  It’s entirely possible I mis-remembered that. However, it’s also entirely possible that my father actually DID sing me that line. Why do I think that’s a possibility?  Because of something I may have inherited from him:  A great memory for music, but for the words of a song?  Not so much.

If I had a tape of my dad singing that song, I could listen to it now, and check to see what lyrics he sang. But I don’t have that tape, so let’s move on.

As is my wont*, I have strayed from my original intention for this post.

And what was that?

To write about my mixed feelings and thoughts, regarding  my choosing a new avatar****** for my appearances here on WordPress, as of January 1, 2014. At the beginning of this year, I switched — from the camel and the pyramid (which still adorns  the top of my posts here) — to a photo of the big stuffed tiger in my son’s room wearing my latest pair of glasses (you can see this post for more about that).

What are those mixed feelings and thoughts?  Well, they have to do with self-disclosure.

The issue of self disclosure is a big one, isn’t it?   How much should I disclose about what I look like (and other things, too)?

Last year, I had a guideline about photos of myself, here, and that guideline shifted as the year went on (not surprisingly).  At first, my rule was: No photos of myself. That shifted to this: No recent photos of myself.  That shifted again:  no obvious, recent photos of myself.

Everything can be a slippery slope, can’t it?

And why does that even matter — to show one’s face or not?  I’m not sure why it matters to other people, but I assume it does. Here at WordPress, I notice different people making different decisions about that issue, perhaps giving some thought about what face(s) they choose to reveal.

On New Year’s Eve, I asked my son, “Should my avatar for next year be a photo of myself?” Because I was considering that change and — as usual —  I could see the pros and cons of the different choices.

I love asking my son’s opinion (partly because he often has one). And his opinion was this: “No.”

My son is almost 16 years old and his experience, of course, has been different from mine (a 60-year old woman’s), in many ways.  I’m sure he had many good reasons for that quick decision. But he’s not here right now, so I can’t ask him. (He’s with his father, today.)

In the meantime, I still have mixed feelings.  But, for now, I’m staying with my decision, this (gr)avatar:


Why?  Because:

  1. I like those new glasses.
  2. That tiger reminds me of an old familiar face: a stuffed tiger I had when I was a little kid.
  3. That tiger was given to my son — on his birthday, several years ago —  by some old familiar face(s), my friend Ada and her family.
  4. I’ve written, in this blog, about the importance of tigers to me (here, here,  here, and here, for examples).
  5. Some experts have written about this: if somebody does not reveal details about self (including visual details), others can learn very important things from that person about themselves, due to the phenomenon of self-projection*******
  6. A new familiar face, here at WordPress, Russ Towne  — who has a wonderful blog named “A Grateful Man” and a self-disclosing avatar — wrote this to me recently:

I love your new photo! It brought a big smile to my face.

Case closed! (For now, anyway.)

Thanks to Russ Towne, Ada, my son, my father, Irving Kahal and Sammy Fain (for creating “I’ll Be Seeing You”), Billie Holiday, Michael Bublé, tigers and experts everywhere, people who make choices every day about what to disclose about themselves, and to you — of course! — for reading today.

* The word ‘wont’ means “having a tendency to do something.” That word reminds me of an old familiar face from college — my roommate, Nancy. We used to listen to this routine from “Beyond the Fringe,” where the word ‘wont’ gets a big laugh. Now, that routine also reminds me of another familiar face: my son. Thanks to Nancy, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller, and Alan Bennett.

** “The Old Familiar Faces” is also a poem by Charles Lamb, which — considering where I went to school — I should know more about.  Nope, wait!  I’m letting go of SHOULDs!  Better. And now that I’ve done that, I can tell you this: it’s a wonderful poem and it’s here.

*** found here on YouTube

**** thanks to wellingtonpub

***** And if you get my posts via email, you may need to click on the title of this post, on the top of the page, to do that. 

****** Called a gravatar, here at WordPress, a name I don’t like, because it reminds me of the word “grave.”

******* Called “transference,” in the psychotherapy biz.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

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38 thoughts on “Day 369: Old Familiar Faces

  1. Deb Olken

    Love your new avatar. Love that you’re continuing your blog. And especially loved reading it today to the accompaniment of Billie Holiday!

  2. Disclosure and, I’d say, it’s first cousin, privacy. Interesting topic, Ann. I went with my real photo because for three decades, various ages of myself had already been revealed to the citizenry via my newspaper work. In other words, I was used to people I didn’t think I knew coming up to me and talking as if they knew me very well. (As I got older, though, this became a memory tester. Should I know who this is?) Now, my connection to the actual line in that great song you dad sang to you every night. Sometimes I figure out after a snippet of conversation that yes, indeed, I do know that person. Right here in the restaurant is the guy who always slices my bologna behind the deli counter. It’s easier when you see all those familiar faces in all those familiar places. And, finally, I think your dad changed the lyric on purpose because it fit his love for you better. Thanks for letting me run on today, Ann.

  3. Interesting talk about the avatar, I’m not big on avatars either and I do believe that the only purpose in the avatar is to do some marketeering for the websites, connecting people’s sites with people’s other sites, facebook with twitter etc, etc. It seems to be all about money and getting more money for google and for whatever other company owns the media and social websites. Avatars never were for the customer and never will be. jmo

  4. My daughter had a stuffed tiger… we called him tiger kitty. Good post. I am learning about you. Have you read the book called ‘The Year of Living Biblically’?

    • Thanks for visiting, and now I’m learning more about you, too. I have not read that book. Have you heard of the movie, “The Year of Living Dangerously”?

      • Yes… not at all the same. There is a guy, I think he is a columnist for some big newspaper. He does books where he spends a year doing something. He tried to live an entire year following every single rule in the Bible literally. It is fascinating and funny.

      • I will check that out. Now I am curious: Since this is MY blog, will you let me get the last word here?

      • Sure…

  5. (I knew it.)

  6. Glad we’ve crossed paths as well!

    As great of a singer as Buble is, you cannot top Holiday’s version. He may sing romance, but she sings hopeless romance.

    Unfortunately, within the realm of the internet anything can be found via Google. Whoever searches for anyone will find a picture, especially if the person has some not-so-anonymous social media account. It was a blatant decision to not go anonymous when starting TIA at Blogger and switching it to WordPress. Even if I tried to use an anonymous picture, people would still “see me” due to my random topics and locations that I include.

    The tiger isn’t a bad touch at all, especially if there is meaning behind it.

    • I appreciate that you took the time to read and comment today, Christopher. I like Holiday’s version better, also.

      Thanks for bringing your thoughts and perspective here, and I look forward to future interactions here on WordPress.

  7. I decided to use a photo of myself – and now regret it a bit since all the publicity! It’s weird knowing that lots of people know what you look like but you have no idea what they look like! Your son was probably right!

    • I may use a photo of myself, some day. Time will tell! Thanks for visiting and commenting. It’s always great to see you, Expat Eye!

  8. I initially wanted anonymity on my blog but ultimately decided that if my true goal was to be vulnerable and face my fears, I had to be willing to own my words with people who know me “in real life”. I use my picture(s) and am pretty open about who I am, where I live, etc.
    Some days I worry if it’s the right decision but, for the most part, I’m at peace with it.

    • Like everything, Nancy, I’ve really been shifting on this issue. I’m pretty open about a lot of things and I’m becoming even more open, I think, the more comfortable I am here, which has to do with the passage of time.

      Always great to see you, and I’m so glad to hear you’re at peace with your decision (for the most part) (which might be the best we can expect!).

  9. Love that song, and the tiger.

  10. The song does have the lyric ‘old familiar places’. Maybe your Dad replaced faces with places. Either way it’s left you with some wonderful memories of your father. I like your new glasses by the way. I’m wearing my new purple glasses in the picture where they’re all frosted over (two days ago). I love mine as well. They were the first pair I tried on and I kept going back to them even though they were the most expensive pair.

    • I think you’re right about a lot of things here, MC. I appreciate all you wrote; thanks so much for dropping by. And, I hope your beautiful new purple glasses aren’t freezing over today.

  11. I love your new gravatar image, it made me want to come check out your blog (ie. here is a person with a sense of humour)!

    • I was commenting on your blog as you were, apparently, writing this comment here. Thank you for the visit, for your love, for your humor, and for your feedback about my gravatar!

      • The word for 2014 appears to be “serendipity”, so much of it going on for me in these first few days. I look forward to reading more of your writing, I was thoroughly entertained.

      • I actually wrote about that very word in a post a few days ago (“S-words”). I look forward to reading more of your writing, too; I was thoroughly moved.

  12. I secretly struggle with disclosure and privacy…what to post, what not to. I’ve been blogging for so many years! I used to blog A LOT of photos of my kids, but I’ve cooled off on that because of my whole issues on whether or not I want to continue posting their faces online. My face is my face, but their faces are their faces. Occasionally I will give in and include their pictures but I feel guilty about that. it’s such a slippery slope! I don’t mind my face being there though, especially because I hope to be a published author one day and the lack of anonymity on that part may help 😉

    As usual I have no idea what I’m talking about. 🙂

    • As usual, I am amazed at your humility because I thought your comment was helpful and full of great ideas. So thanks for visiting — much appreciated (as usual).

  13. Reading your post accompanied by Billie Holiday was perfect. Thank you 🙂

  14. Red

    I love the tiger as your Gravatar, especially with him wearing your glasses. But then, I still love stuffed animals! I have 6 of them in my work cubie.

  15. Whew. I am pleased that you chose a tiger Ann. A cougar would have been too much for me 😉 hehe

  16. Pingback: Day 445: PCP (March 21, 2014) | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  17. Pingback: Day 1343: Face Time | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  18. Pingback: Day 2330: Many faces | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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