There's no doubt I was an ugly baby, having taken after my Dad's side of the family. We were all ugy as infants, even Dad. It lasted up to a year or so then we started to look cute. But before that we were ugly: bald, double-chinned, pudgy-faced, pasty-skinned, with a humorless, middle-aged expression, dour drooping mouths, squinty eyes as if looking through a pair of spectacles, arms and legs looking money-like, too long, ungainly, not quite human really...ugly as sin, like my Dad and his mother before me looked in their baby pictures. Later we became blond, bright-eyed, curious, quixotic and hard to hold back but before that UGLY was the word.
My mother certainly thought so. Nicknamed me 'Randella' in mockery (after my Dad's first name: Randall) because I looked so much like my Dad. Where was the bright-eyed Richards look? (A-la my mother's side of the family.) Or that dark Richard's hair? (In fact where was the hair at all?) Or that cute cupid smile with that sturdy, stocky, well proportioned baby-body like my younger sister Julie had - she who was/is the spitting image of our mother and the Royal-Richards' side.
As I look back on those dull black & white photos of my infant self, that baby who shouldn't have been there in the first place because I was a mistake, a waste-by-product-and-damn-irritation too of my mother's extra-maritalaffair with my Dad....my heart can't help going out to that kid, knowing now what was to come.