The Christening

March 19th, 2012

The Christening - *AFP Hall Of Fame*

“This was my Christening, June 1971. I’m the baby obviously, my Godmother is holding me, my parents are next to her. Their hideous outfits aren’t the “awkward” part of this photo. In the background, my grandmother is pulling my sister’s hair while my brother is recovering from a smack! All of this right on the front steps of a church.”

(submitted by Debbie)

150 Responses to “The Christening”

  1. Dave says:

    I have been laughing at this picture for at least five minutes. Having been raised in the ’50s, instant justice was normal. Every time I look at the girls arms flailing and the boy holding his head, I keep thinking they’ve got to be saying to themselves “what just happened here?” Hilarious.

  2. Janelle says:

    Debbie, this is a wonderful photo! The best part, of course, is the contrast between your Christening scene and the drama taking place with your grandmother and your siblings.

    Your grandmother reminds me of mine: she ruled (even my parents were intimidated by her) but there was no one who loved and understood her grandchildren like she did. Even years after her death, she still is a fondly-remembered legend among her (now retired) grandchildren.

  3. Lisa says:

    LOOOOOOOOVE this pic!!! My g-ma was exactly like that: pincher, ear-puller….didn’t take any crap from anyone and loved and spoiled us to death. She now has senile dementia so is pretty much gone, mentally, and I miss her so much 🙁 It must be a “Latin” (this includes Italians!) thing because g-ma could smack you but you KNEW you werer loved beyond anything. Parents today coddle kids too much and teh result is quite obvious…

  4. Traci Lee says:

    I have tears running down my face I am laughing so hard.. I can not tell you how many grabs, smacks or pinches I got in the 70’s.. I was even smacked at the hospital after my brother was born… by the nurse.. things were different then for sure 😀 I love the lil sisters arms flailing back ( sorry.. it is so funny) I am sure when it was over your parents asked them “Do you want something to cry about?” thank you for sharing!!

  5. T-Steel says:

    Old school for the WIN!

  6. lulu says:

    I love this ….I even shared it on my FB status!!! Thank you, Thank you for the laughter….It reminds me so very much of my own 60’s and 70’s childhood…I will never forget the Sunday that my little brother somehow climbed up onto the roof of the church portico and everyone was gawking. My mother was so embarrased she just fled the scene, tripped in the parking lot, scrapped and bloodied her knees, and drew an even bigger crowd…..those were the days!

    • spankey says:

      Oh my goodness…i have tears streaming from your comment…just picturing your mother running and tripping….bwa ha ha ha

    • customcartoons says:

      OMG, a mom running AWAY from her child in bad spot! As if to say “Ahem, I’m not with this child …” Now THAT is old school! ^_^

  7. Malz123 says:

    Best. Photo. Ever.

  8. Eileen says:

    That is freaking funny….. I just laughed so hard.

  9. Pipergirl says:

    Our Lady of the Discipline there could have her own martial arts movie – Rhonda II: The Christening

  10. Ashley says:

    I was raised in the 90’s but other than the fashion choices (which I think were much better in this photo than in the time period I grew up) This is exactly how I was raised. I can definitely relate to your sister there as I’m pretty sure they waited til I was 7 years old to let me cut my hair the length I wanted it, and I’m pretty sure this is the reason haha! Way to go Grandma!

  11. Mollie says:

    I love this picture- I grew up during the 70’s and had some experiences not unlike this – My parents didn’t care about embarrassing me in public by doling out punishment. I laugh now -really I do as I share my own stories (no pictures to go with mine though) and appreciate them teaching boundaries. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  12. cait says:

    omg! That is so reminiscent of my nana!! The way that the little girl is flailing her arms is making me laugh so hard. I love this. Mom and Dad are busy with the new baby’s big day — Nana lays down the law with the other siblings lol

  13. Donna says:

    Just totally awesome picture! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing!

  14. Maryqos says:

    Oh I love it! All that is missing is the great-grandma pinching the heck out of the kid’s cheeks (for love, of course)!

  15. junassicpark says:

    I’m still laughing…at the picture and the comments. I grew up in times before now where you got your mouth smacked for smarting off to your elders and a grandmother got a hold of you by any means possible. My brothers and I all grew up to be respectable citizens and we still respect our elders unlike MANY of the kids today.

  16. Rosie says:

    We had it tough back then, from the fashion to the punishments we endured. Love the pic.

  17. Justin says:

    Is this St. Anne’s church?

    • Donna says:

      No, in earlier comments she said it was a church in New Jersey. I’m with Joyce in commenting on the awesome fashions exhibited in this pic!

  18. Joyce says:

    Enough has been said about Grandma – I just want to say your godmother is really rockin’ that lilac pantsuit! Love your Mom’s hippie dress too, while Dad is all corporate! Awkward a la mode!

    • Simon says:

      I have pictures of my Mum and Dad and their friends going to ‘dinner dances’ in the 70s. The amount of cleavage on show in those 70s empire-line dresses was frankly quite astonishing – way too shocking for the 21st century!

    • Debbie says:

      LOL! Thanks 🙂 My Mom considered herself quite the “fashionista” those days 🙂 My Aunt is VERY tiny, so that pants suit worked for her. My Dad was never a “suit” guy, so my Mom picked out that suit for him to wear I’m sure!
      Thanks again for the fun comments and for not bashing my grandmother 🙂 🙂

      • CarrieM says:

        Even though it looked harsh, you said she was as quick with the hugs as she was with straightening rowdy kids out. Makes me miss my g-ma. God bless. Great photo.

      • Pipergirl says:

        I think our mothers might have been separated at birth – I have a photo of her 1970 wedding and she’s an absolute dead ringer – and she’s standing outside similar architecture (here in Aus) in an empire-line wedding dress with that hairstyle. Yes, even the black choker with the cameo brooch in the middle (which Dad gave her on their first anniversary).

  19. Justin says:

    I have to ask is this St. Annes church in Naples, Florida?? It looks exactly like where I received first communion!

    • Debbie says:

      No sorry, it’s St. Clements in Matawan, NJ. I think a lot of churches built in those years look the same though. 🙂

  20. Helena says:

    Brilliant. The best one yet!
    A great photo to use for a creative writing brainstorming session: ‘What do you think happened 10 seconds before this picture was taken….. and 20 years after ….. what is the boy thinking…

    • Debbie says:

      Thank you!
      No one in my family could recall what exactly happened right before. Most likely, they were running around and not listening. It was actually 40 years ago, so memories have surely faded. We all have quite a few memories of getting diciplined by our grandmother though for different reasons.

  21. Mary says:

    I love this photo! Those were different times and, trust me, I know what acting up in church could get you back then! No one was worse for the wear either! I clearly recall my own mother whacking me on the back of the head IN church when I failed to kneel appropriately! LOL She wasn’t abusive by the standards of the day. She was just being a good Catholic mom!

    • KMJ says:

      Or mom would PINCH us really hard on the leg, either in church or under the table at home if we had company LOL

      • melissa says:

        lmao!! this picture is CLASSIC! and I would also get the “pinch” if mom was next to me, but if I was not sitting by her, I’d get “the look”= bug eyes and pursed lips- all due to us kids fighting in church, or laughing… oh the good old days! Thanks for the great laugh everybody!

  22. CarrieM says:

    At least no one is cuffing the baby around.

    • emperor joseph says:

      doesnt look like granny has made it TO the baby yet. and old people wonder why the kids never visit later on in life.

      • TinaBoBina says:

        Yes emperor joseph, it’s much more important to be your child’s “buddy” then to instill a little bit of discipline on them….sheeesh.

    • Debbie says:

      LOL! No, I was the “good” one. Well, at least at that age 🙂

      We did take care of my grandmother when she got older. Although, we never could do enough for her! LOL! She sadly passed away a few years ago.

  23. Mimi says:

    What a fantastic captured moment in time. This is why I dislike all those fancy schmancy foto albumn thingys people do now where they cut up the pic and decorate the page all showy. You never know what pure gold you are cutting away from the main focus of the shot!

    It gave me a laugh but then again I come from an Italian family too so I totally connected with the scene. While I do not dole out such punishment to my own ten grandkiddies I would say that based on society today maybe a little more discipline and a tad less self-esteem speeches might go a long way to improving the world we live in. Just sayin’……..

  24. amber says:

    that picture is extremely awesomely awkward.

    Although I do have to say….I’m grateful that as a child no one, not my parents, my grandparents, nor my babysitters ever hurt me physically. And I was raised in the late 60s and 70s.

  25. JerseyPam says:

    Hilarious! Proof that Jersey girls had big hair even in the seventies, although your sister probably kept hers short after this occasion.

  26. Simon says:

    Ah, the full, rich tapestry of life is on display here – baby, child, youth, parent, crazy senior. If there was skull in the frame it would be a renaissance study.

    No, actually its more like a Breugel.

  27. Don says:

    The phrase “wailing and gnashing of teeth” comes to mind.

  28. kylie says:

    love the clothes! glad times have changed because if any family member touched my kids like that they would have me do the same to them but 10 times harder lol

  29. Lulu says:

    I’ve got to say, this is my favorite submission to date! I think the grandma is hysterical! That’s an Italian grandma for ya!

    • Debbie says:

      Thank you! 🙂

    • Vicki says:

      I agree. This is truly my favorite awkward family photo to date. Life happens!

    • Julie says:

      My family is Hispanic and Southern Italian so you can imagine the drama and style of discipline in my home, LOL! My mom was a pincher though, especially at church when we kids got the giggles. She would very subtly inch her hand over, never taking her eyes off the priest, and pinch us on the inside of our uppper arm with those pointy 1960s fingernails. Ouch. Of course it was accompanied by the steely eyed glare, even though she wasn’t looking in our direction.

  30. musicalfruit says:

    Ha! that’s awesome. I think we all have memories of beatings like this one

  31. len says:

    I like how this photo could have actually been neatly cropped to keep the focus on baby, Godmother and parents but instead was left as is for future generations to relish in the awkwardness.

    • Debbie says:

      True, but it would have lost it’s charm 🙂 We have lots of “boring” pictures from that day. This one was always a family “classic” 🙂

  32. Scout C says:

    Are you sure it was a baptism or, given everything else going on, was it a water-boarding?

  33. Troy says:

    My guess is they both asked for it.

    • badfae says:

      That’s my guess, too. I’m not sure why people are all “z0mg abuse!” We’re seeing one moment, completely out of context…

      Has parenting changed THAT much since I was a kid? I’m only 33. I didn’t get my hair pulled, but I did get spanked and I also remember being slapped at least once for being my usual mouthy self, and I turned out all right.

  34. Debbie says:

    Thanks for posting my pic AFP! We are actually a very loving family 🙂

    • Serene says:

      Hey Debbie, thank you so much for posting this pic up! It made me laugh so hard I actually cried!! I used to get the hiding from my parents all the time (I was a pretty naughty kid) and I know what it’s like to try and run away from getting smacked and get caught by my hair (dammit). I just have to mail this pic and it’s backstory to my sister…’s just too good!

      • Debbie says:

        Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Look for it in the calender next year and the next book AFP puts out 🙂

  35. CarrieM says:

    Good lord. Tough crowd. I hope you all turned out OK. 🙁

  36. Care says:

    Eeek, I know it was the times, but I feel bad for the kids 🙁

  37. charlie says:

    Wow, all that in one photo. Grandma went from smack in the face to pulling hair on two different grandchildren – they probably loved going to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving and Christmas in years to come.

    • Debbie says:

      She was quick those years. Only 50 years old and a grandmother of 3. And we did love going to her house for the holidays for years. Gotta love Italian Grandmothers <3

  38. Kootie says:

    oh my gawd! what a greeting card cover this would make… so much going on!

  39. Libbylou62 says:

    Face-smacking and hair-pulling. What a delightful, nurturing woman. Not abusive at all.

    • Debbie says:

      She was actually very nuturing, just tough! Instant justice was served and hugs were given out when those were deserved. 🙂 Like I said to others, it was different times.

      • MT says:

        I was slapped in the grocery store, pinched in church…it’s just the way it was!

        • KMJ says:

          LOL me too – both things!

        • Mollie says:

          ditto here – except it was the refrigerator dept. at Sears that I got slapped for arguing with my sister – hey, what can I say, I had been warned 🙂 and I always got pinched in church – that soft flesh on the underneath part of my upper arm – so subtle, no one knew she was doling out punishment (except me of course:)
          My parents are great, I was not abused, they just didn’t give idle threats about punishment.

  40. Marcos says:

    I think I know what church this is… 😀
    But I love these kinds of pictures, just goes to show you that not everyone practices once they leave the front doors of the church… 😀

  41. Shannon says:

    Ahhh, the good ol’ days!

  42. Evey says:

    I’m really hoping that grandma just had a really bad day and that she wasn’t like this all the time!

  43. LKT says:

    Spare the rod; spoil the child. For 1971, that was par for the course. And personnally, I think the lladies’ outfits are groovy, man! I’m a tad disappointed Daddy wasn’t wearing a Leisure Suit.

  44. Kelly says:

    Looks like Gramma was having a bad day, good thing you were spared a slap or hair pull! HAHA

  45. Mitch says:

    LOL! Classic picture! That’s one mean granny!

  46. dude says:

    clothes not that bad but WOW grandma was rough!!

  47. Erica says:

    This is right up there with my brother’s first communion. We have on film my godmother chasing her son around the populated churchyard with her shoe, ready to pop him. Just one of the many children-punishing events of the day. We’re Italian, what can I say?

  48. Bert says:

    OMG LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the BEST awkward family photo I’ve seen yet!!!!!! XD

  49. Mamasmilk says:

    Such a lovely lady.

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