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Eugen, Aldo & Isaac: 8th Grade & Beyond

Elsa: Aldo and Isaac have birthdays a day apart. Isaac was born on January 13, 1977, and Aldo was born on January 14, 1977, in the same hospital, Boston Lying-In Hospital, that no longer exists. Almost every year we go through the ritual of trying to figure out if Aldo's mom, Carol Moses, and I were in the hospital at the same time. Isaac was born at 4:19 am on the 13th, and because Harvey kept on looking for a men's room in the hospital in his pajamas, we were scuttled out of the hospital mid-day on the 14th, and Aldo was born that night. There were huge snowstorms on the 13th and the 14th. Fast-forward ... because Isaac and Aldo had birthdays at the same time, we developed the ritual of taking birthday pictures every year, and Eugene was always in them. From time to time the circle expanded.

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Aldo: This picture is good, because we almost don't look like friends here. The reason I think this is so, is that we were all in college at this point. We were all making new friends, seeing new environments, and generally having experiences much different from each other.

December 1988

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Aldo: This picture is one of my favorites, and I have a big copy at my house. This picture to me looks like we were doing a magazine shoot. Different facial expressions, but still, the picture seems to work quite nicely. The record Casey is holding is his own, so it was also important from a group standpoint to show off Casey's hard work. His record -- alright Casey.

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Aldo: The Commonwealth crew... I was the only person in this photo who did not at some time or another attend Commonwealth. This is how I came to know Gabe. I would often visit them at their high school, which I always liked because it was small. And I think it helped those four become the good friends that they are today.

Casey: If there was one good thing to come from the small private school where I spent three years of my teenage development, it would be meeting Gabe, Isaac and Eugene. We all felt out of place at Commonwealth and bonded together for love of hip-hop and humor. We called ourselves the A-1 steak posse and always would try to crack jokes at lunch so someone would spit milk out of their nose. We all ended up leaving for various reasons but we're still as close as ever.

January 1994

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Aldo: This is really funny. First Eugene looking like a poor man's R&B lead man. And then there's me, who's laughing but like I'm alone laughing, with my eyes shut. Isaac with this uncharacteristic, huge grin on his face, is once in a lifetime, believe me. And then Casey, who is usually bright-eyed, has eyes looking all but closed. This must have been when we were doing our pre-picture humor routine. Only this time it was caught on camera.

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Aldo: This is one picture, we got to fool around a bit. The pictures where we'd fool around were fun, cause at least one person always looked really dumb, blinking or something. At this age, we were all in college, not seeing each other so much, so any time we did a picture was also like a reunion of friends. How silly we acted in the pictures is a reflection of how happy we were to be hanging out, since it had become more of an occasion than a routine.

Casey: I remember this picture kind of vividly. Every picture we take is always so fun and interesting everyone takes turns making up jokes about their friends and being the butt of someone else's jokes. Our picture sessions usually happen after a couple hours of hanging out. Usually everybody tries to make the pictures as interesting as possible without losing our dignity. In this one I'm trying to be as cool and tough, while Eugene has a light playful look contrasting the playful look of Isaac and Aldo. All together it looks that our wacked out ideas and postures turned us into a very demented psuedo-boy band poster.

Eugene: "Buggin Out" -- This is the first picture we took with our shirts off. It shows that we were confident in our manhood, and confortable enough with each other to make fools out of ourselves. I remember thinking that I would try to mimic one of the "sexy posing" R & B groups of the mid-90's. We were definitely buggin' out. Perhaps one of the funniest pictures we've taken.

Isaac: "White guys ponder over shirtless black guys with one leg rolled up." I don't remember the thought process that led to this one. It appears to be some sort of racial/social commentary. I'm sure that was the intention. For some reason, I find Casey's keys dangling down to his waist to be the funniest part. This is probably a good time to look back at one on the earlier pictures and see the change. Blows my mind.

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Casey: It was a cold January day when I first saw the world's biggest Polaroid. I was hanging around with Eugene and Isaac who I had went to another high school with and was currently going to Rindge and Latin with as well. I felt a bit ackward joining the long-standing tradition of the photographed friends but Elsa and the guys made me feel at home. In the following years the pictures have become a testament to our friendship as we have grown from boys to men. Every time we take pictures the jokes and comraderie and our desire to express ourselves visually turn into memories we can always come back to.

Aldo: In this picture we all look like were trying to be stylish. At this point Eugene was in his fraternity, so he looks quite serious. He was actually pledging so it was probably quite difficult for him. As for the rest of us we were just home hanging out from our normal college lives.

Eugene: "First Day On-Line" -- Although I was very busy and about to begin pledging Alpha Phi Alpha, I couldn't let my lifetime friends down by not appearing with them in the annual birthday photo shoot. I remember thinking "If I look relaxed and "chill" and people look back at this photo and look at the date, they will think I was laxed. I had to look serious and pressed, because of the situation I was in. This picture also says a lot about our different characters and personalities.

Isaac: Beards seem to have been the style of the moment. Eugene was pledging his fraternity and looked a mess. I remember thinking "Man, he's only just started pledging. He's gonna die!" However, in the end, as always, he succeeded. This might have been Casey's first photo. God wanted Casey and me to be friends. We went to 2 high schools and college together. We didn't really like each other at first, and didn't become close friends until my sophomore year in college. It took years, but now he's one of my closest friends.

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Aldo: And of course, the tough guy pictures. We all wanted to have a picture of ourselves bare-chested, so we could admire ourselves. They actually turned out to be really funny photos. We had a really good time, flexing and posing in the mirror, to get prepared for this shot.

Eugene: "Bare Chested With Rug" -- Every time we stand in front of the camera we always decide how to make this picture different from the ones before it. Isaac always likes to show off his body, so he recommended taking off our shirts. I was a little insecure about my physique. I quickly thought how can I be funny, yet smooth. Since I didn't have a mink, I used the rug.

Isaac: I must say, I look pretty damn hirsute in this one. A bit squat too. Bad camera angle. Abs not too bad, though. Aldo and Eugene look like they belong in Playgirl. Casey too, if he didn't have the gut (Just being honest here, folks). This is one of those times it would have been nice if one of us had said: "You know, I don't think that sounds like such a good idea." Alas...

January 1994

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Aldo: Isaac looks like a stand in this picture, ha, ha. Really, not only is it that his dressing really clashes with the rest of us, but also his deamenor looks really different. He looks a bit timid which is uncharacteristic for him in pictures. You know the funny thing is you never even notice how much clothes clash, until you take a picture. I'm sure none of us even noticed the difference until after the picture.

January 1998

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December 1998

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Aldo: Compared to the other shot on this day, this looks like the deflated version. We all look like we were posing really hard, and we just stopped and took a breath. All the energy was just dropped in a split second. But only really recognizable when seen next to the other, same day, same clothes shot.

Casey: This picture is definitely symbolic. I can't believe how fat I was. Also it is a testament to my proudest achievements: my friends and my record. I was so happy to have a record out, it was always my dream to put out a record. Even though this record didn't do as well as I would have liked it to. Without it, I would have never put out my second record which did well, I was even more proud of and the others I will put out. Even if no one ever buys another one of my records this picture will always remind me how I had the heart to chase my dreams.

January 1994

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Aldo: The boy band group that never quite made it. The second choice for the new Benetton ad. Or, four friends looking like that, just for the camera. Whew, it was nice to be younger, but it's great to be older.

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Aldo: There are not too many photos when we are on chairs. And they are no photos where Isaac is the tallest and Eugene is the shortest. So, in spite of the fact I think I look like a doofus, I really like this photo, cause of the chairs.

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Aldo: The condom shot. No, actually this picture was for an AIDS awareness photo, if I'm not mistaken. But I think for us, it was the condom shot. To be a teenager, and have your picture taken with condoms, a kinda strange but cool feeling. Like, "look at us we're young, but we must be cool, cause we're holding condoms."

June 1991

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Aldo: The three of us didn't go to high school together. So, after eighth grade we all drifted apart a bit. I remember making new friends at my high school, as they did at their high school. But we met each other's new friends, and eventually hung out just as much as we had before we had split for high school.

Eugene: "Eighth Grade Graduation" -- This is not the actual day of graduation because we are wearing sneakers. Wow, we all looked so young. Isaac had longer hair, and so did I. And Isaac is taller then Aldo, and me and Isaac are like the same height, ha, ha, ha! MAN, Isaac had some big feet. And of particular interest, Aldo made me beg for change to to pay for those black Reeboks.

Isaac: I still had an inch or two on Aldo. That wouldn't last. Man, I was so scared at this point in my life. We were off to high school, and I wasn't looking forward to being a freshman at a huge public school. I was so scared that I went with Eugene to this small (140 kids) private school. One of my all-time biggest mistakes. Lesson learned: don't ever make important decisions based on fear. Also, there is definitely such a thing as glasses being too big.

June 1991

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Aldo: The three of us didn't go to high school together. So, after eighth grade we all drifted apart a bit. I remember making new friends at my high school, as they did at their high school. But we met each other's new friends, and eventually hung out just as much as we had before we had split for high school.

Eugene: "Eighth Grade Graduation" -- This is not the actual day of graduation because we are wearing sneakers. Wow, we all looked so young. Isaac had longer hair, and so did I. And Isaac is taller then Aldo, and me and Isaac are like the same height, ha, ha, ha! MAN, Isaac had some big feet. And of particular interest, Aldo made me beg for change to to pay for those black Reeboks.

Isaac: I still had an inch or two on Aldo. That wouldn't last. Man, I was so scared at this point in my life. We were off to high school, and I wasn't looking forward to being a freshman at a huge public school. I was so scared that I went with Eugene to this small (140 kids) private school. One of my all-time biggest mistakes. Lesson learned: don't ever make important decisions based on fear. Also, there is definitely such a thing as glasses being too big.

August 1992

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Aldo: This was us at 15 years old. I seem to remember myself so differently, but this picture is probably much more accurate than my memory. This was an age when clothing was really becoming important. We all wanted to look good, to be perceived as hip. "Dress to impress," I think that's how it goes, and this is the age when we first learned it. Well, give or take a year, I guess.

July 1994

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Aldo: As we got older, we continued to size out. I think now, almost eight years later, I'm about the same size. Eugene as well is about the same size. Only Isaac, who continued to exercise, is noticeably physically different. It's interesting to see at what age we kind of stopped growing physically. These days, if there is any growing going on it's horizontally not vertically. A sad reminder that we can no longer take our health for granted.

January 1994

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Aldo: If you look carefully at Eugene, you'll notice his presence isn't as strong as usual. Comparatively anyways. Right before this picture was taken, Eugene had his face badly scratched, and so he wasn't his normal self in front of the camera, especially in this picture. We never really planned picture days precisely -- they just happened -- and often, something like this happened, or anything like a bad haircut or bad mood, and it always shows on the person's face.

July 1995

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Aldo: 1995 was a good time for us as friends. It was right before we went to school, and we had been spending a lot of time with each other. So it was a really important time for us as friends, we knew that we had to get involved in that thing that everyone always was making such a big deal about ... life. It was now our turn to get out beyond the grasp of our parents and start making serious life decisions on our own. Quite a time, wouldn't want to do it again.

December 1998

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Aldo: At this stage we were all in college. I was meeting all sorts of new characters from the Midwest. Eugene was suffering moral defeat at the hands of his friends/frat brothers, who always kept him on his toes. And Isaac, well, he was Mr. NY, and working hard at Columbia. We did not see much of each other; however, even today it never feels like we miss a beat when we finally catch up with each other.

August 1999

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Aldo: If our clothes were any indication of our different lifestyles, it must have been no coincidence. The actual clothes aren't what's relevant, just how different we're dressed. As we had entered our twenties, our lifestyles had changed, or rather had begun to take some individual form. Eugene was becoming politically active, building bridges with local community politicians. I on the other hand was wandering aimlessly. But hey, how's the saying go, "you're not lost if you don't care where you're going." Isaac, well, he was continuing to work hard, to ensure something beyond college.

January 1999

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Aldo: My jean jacket outfit, man, was I happy when I bought it. But I really wore it rarely, cause I liked it so much. Makes a lot of sense, huh. When you're young, there is so much you don't know, but not knowing that, makes you feel like you know so much. Doesn't make sense, maybe, but for me, it makes all the sense in the world. And jewelry. I had almost failed to mention what an important role this played in our lives for a few years. I guess it was my pocket that felt it the most. When we were in high school, gold was really popular, and as always we had to have it. I guess what was most interesting, though, was buying and trading it. We learned a lot about getting ripped off and learning to appreciate saved money. At least saved long enough to buy something else.

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Aldo: This was a very exciting picture for us because we were doing some charity work that displayed on trains all over Boston. I was excited because I felt like I would be a minor, minor celebrity. Hey, the train station, it's a start, right. Also, since we were holding up condoms, we thought it was also a cool thing to be seen doing.

Eugene: "Condom Dispensers" -- Elsa asked us to take part in the "40 Ways to Fight Aids" Campaign. We volunteered to pose as "Condom Dispensers." I remember being a little bit uncomfortable about holding the condoms. But we tried to look smooth, nonetheless. I also remember feeling excited about seeing myself on the ad campaigns on the Orange Line of the MBTA.

Isaac: I was in a poster on the subway once. Were you? Didn't think so.

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Aldo: I think this picture was taken on Isaac's birthday. His birthday is also the day before my birthday, so we usually celebrate it together. At this point we really weren't seeing much of each other, and since we were late in joining the email cult, we did not correspond that often. But I'm sure it was a fun occasion, as it usually always was when we got together to get our pictures taken.

Eugene: "I'm throwing up the Alpha sign under my jacket" -- Aldo is wearing my UNC shirt, and I eventually lost the watch he is wearing and let me borrow. Isaac first began wearing earth tones that year. I was throwing up the Alpha sign under my shirt. Although I wasn't yet in the fraternity I wanted this picture to be a testimony that I knew I would be in it one day. We joked about how Aldo looked so two dimensional in this picture.

Isaac: Eugene's doing his "secret fraternity hand-gesture" under his jacket (groan) while I'm deep into my "why wear anything but khaki?" phase. Unfortunately, Aldo couldn't make this picture, so we put up a life size cutout of him. I think it worked fine.

If you see a picture of yourself on this page, and you do not want it to be here, contact Elsa immediately.