Vintage: My friend, Danny

Dan. 1990

I grew up with 7 siblings. 10 people living in the house. It was bananas. If someone would have put a video camera on our front door with time-lapse photography the kids coming in and out would look like a beehive. The front door was always either open or being opened. That was life with 8 kids.

There were 10 kids in Danny’s family. They had this little front room where their TV was located. I remember not being able to find a place to sit down on the sofa or floor to watch Americas Funniest Home Videos with Bob Sagat. The entire floor was covered with people- both friends and family. At the time it was trendy to have a pet ferret. I always thought their front room was like a ferret pile. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Solid humanity.

Dan and I were both adrift in our own large family adventures. It was a good basis for a friendship. We had an understanding about each other’s situations. He got me a job at Taco Bell. We both got fired for throwing large black garbage bags from the roof of the restaurant into the dumpster below.

The movie “Teen Wolf” was popular at the time. It features a scene where Scott (the teen wolf, played by Michael J. Fox)  stands on top of the family van being driven by his precocious friend Rupert “Styles” Stilinski. A Beach Boys tune played along with their antics. Watch it here. (this clip is in spanish)

Dan and I decided that it looked fun so we drove all over Boise’s north end swapping turns standing on top of the big yellow van. My favorite thing was to touch leaves and branches as we drove underneath them. What a thrill. It seemed perfectly safe at the time. I guess you could say that it was safe because neither he nor I ever got killed. Someday I’d like to see a couple of kids drive by my house standing on top of a large van.

Like my family, Danny’s family had highly limited funds. Therefore, instead of hiring Burns studio to do his senior photos I was commissioned to do his “Senior Pictures”.

This was one of the better ones.

-Jon Ball is a photographer living in Boise, Idaho. His portrait website can be found at


  1. You realize don’t you that the kids you will see driving by your house standing on top of a large van….will be your own son and his friend!! And you can thank yourself for giving him the idea!!

    Hope your doing well!! Love ya!

  2. Nice.
    Which Pearl Jam song was playing in the background?

    Also, I think you should’ve been promoted for the whole garbage off the roof thing…who wouldn’t drive by that Taco Bell and think, “dang, that looks like a party, lets go there!”

  3. Pearl Jam. Nope. Janes Addiction “Pigs in Zen”.

    Laughed out loud about the “Dang, that looks like a party, lets go there!” It was a party. A party for Dan and I.

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