First Images

By Tom Erikson

During my four years in college I had three important relationships. The first one was with Cathy, the daughter of a famous journalist and a very good photographer in her own right. She was the first woman to show me how to make love properly. She’s still shooting fine pictures, working out of Mill Valley, California. Then there was Julie, a very sexy woman from a wealthy California family, who I met at the hippie coop, Waterman House. She ended up at Forbes Magazine in L.A. after college, not a hippie at all as it turned out. And then there was Lyssa, the first woman I ever lived with. She was half Armenian, a painter and lithographer, who went on to work in art restoration in Manhattan.

Lyssa was the first true love of my life. I could never really figure out what was going on in most of my early relationships, but I knew I loved Lyssa. She seduced me simply by playing The Rolling Stones Let It Bleed on her record player and leaving the door to her bedroom ajar. From that first night I knew I was experiencing something new and truly wonderful.

Lyssa and I took an apartment off campus in the winter of 1980 and stayed there until she graduated in 1982. She had suggested we get married, but I was unprepared for that, so we split up a couple months after she left Brown. She married the other art restorer at her job and ended up in Vermont, an art teacher, raising two daughters.