I’ve always been fascinated by this photo of my Dad, Donald Sternweis. It was taken sometime in the mid-1930s on school picture day. He must have been 5 or 6, but probably not much older. Blond hair slicked and combed. Starched, pinstriped shirt buttoned at the neck. New denim bib overalls. But what I love most about this picture is the shiny paper clip strategically placed over the bib, just in from the right shoulder strap.
When I asked him about it, he didn’t remember how old he was on that particular school picture day or the significance of the paper clip. He just shook his head and smiled. My theory is that my grandmother put his picture money in an envelope and paper-clipped it to the front of his bibs so he wouldn’t lose it on his way to the one-room country school house down the road.
He was so young then and still so young when he died at age 75, nearly 10 years ago now. Yes, I miss him. But I look at this picture of a young boy with a paper clip on his overalls, and I just shake my head and smile.