Behind The Awkwardness
“I call this story ‘Fate.’
Let me travel back in time about 7 years for you. My Grandpa had passed away a year prior and I got to thinking about this hilariously amazing (and massive) family portrait that my Grandpa had in his basement. It was taken when I was 3 years old, just after my Grandmother passed away. Grandpa remarried several years later, but obviously his new wife wasn’t in the photo. So, Grandpa has been gone for a year or so and I get to thinking that maybe his wife isn’t too attached to the picture, which has been shoved in the basement where no one could see it for the last decade. I asked if I could have it and was denied. No big deal, I assumed she had a reason and moved on. Story over…… until Christmas 2013.
This is going to be a bit complicated, but try to follow along with me if you can. A few days after Christmas last year I receive a text from my cousin Brian. Brian is my cousin on my Dad’s side of the family, and the earlier mentioned family portrait is from my Mom’s side. Well I get this message and it’s a picture of Brian posing with the family portrait behind him. Brian is a realtor so my first thought is that Step-Grandma is selling her house and he’s there for a showing. Nope. It turns out (here’s where it gets crazy) Brian is at a Christmas party at his wife’s brother’s wife’s parent’s house in Glen Carbon, Illinois, which is about a half hour away from St. Louis where my family lives. This particular family has their basement decorated very kitschy. Think Applebees or TGIFriday’s. Apparently about a year prior their neighbors found this portrait at the local Goodwill store and bought it as a gag gift because it was so funny. Huge gaudy gold frame, velvet matting, and all. Yep, you read that right. The family portrait that I, as the oldest grandchild (and someone IN the photo), had asked for, was sitting at the Goodwill.
Sometimes I question what my exact beliefs are, but I’ll tell you the fact that over the course of 7 years that photo was denied, discarded, and then made it’s way back to me feels like fate. The current owners were incredibly kind and gave the portrait to Brian to return to me. They were sad to see the family go, but happy to know who the mystery family was. So now it’s travelled to Chicago where I’m displaying it with equal amounts of amusement and pride.
Our family found this story amazing and unbelievable at the same time. My cousin Maggie and I decided that we had to recreate the photo. Maggie got married this past weekend, and we realized that my two youngest kids were the perfect age to represent Baby Teddy & Toddler Caroline, and that with all of the cousins in town we’d have the perfect number of people to recreate the picture. So after some serious Ebaying, a few trips to the wig shop, and lots of planning we made our way to JCPenney Portrait Studio for the best family photo session ever.
So I now introduce to you the Steinmeyer Family circa 1984, and the new generation 2014. Exactly 30 years later we had the greatest bonding day ever, and I’m pretty sure Grandpa was smiling down on us hysterically laughing.”
(submitted by Caroline via Keep Calm & Carey On)
“My mom loved to get professional photos taken of my siblings and me when we were kids. I hated it. I learned fairly quickly that if I complained or was fussy they would just keep going and ask me to be still or quiet. However, if I behaved perfectly and just made awful facial expressions the photos would end. This little gem is a product of my silent temper tantrums.”
Oh, and btw, this is Meg now.
“I was going through old photo albums at my future father in-law’s house to scan childhood images of my fiance for our wedding slideshow. Both my fiance and his father are pretty masculine…played football, served in the military and in law enforcement…but somewhere along the way, my fiance’s former stepmother managed to dress the guys in these terrible outfits and drag them to an Olan Mills for what I can only imagine was one of the worst afternoons of their lives.”
(submitted by Kimberly)
“Barcley has this sore on his face that he won’t stop scratching. I avoided the cone for as long as I could but today was the final straw. He seemed so miserable I wanted to show my support.”
(submitted by Lane)
“I believe this was Halloween 1977, and in the era of creating hand made costumes. I know my dad slaughtered many wire coat hangers and reams of tin foil to make my fairy wings and crown. As far as my brother was concerned, my best guess is that he went as some uber creepy Planet of the Apes character.”
(submitted by Vanessa)
“My brother and I Halloween 1974. Despite what you might think, neither one of us is demon possessed.”
(submitted by Stephanie)
“I am the angry girl in the van. My younger brother and mother are the two happy people posing. I also have an older brother who is not pictured but I was constantly teased about how no one likes the middle child and how my younger brother is “the baby” and “the favorite.” This picture pretty much sums up how I felt about being the middle child.”
(submitted by Jaime)
“We had a pilgrim costume in our family, and my mom thought it was hilarious to sew a red letter “A” on it for me to wear on Halloween. She told me it was because my name starts with A, but I’m sure the teachers and school administration thought it was either amazingly funny or completely inappropriate to dress up a 4th grader as Hester Prynne.”
(submitted by Amber)
“These are my 3 sons. The oldest on the left is wearing his robe backwards like a Snuggie, Caden sitting below seems oblivious that a camera is near and decided this was the day he’d style his hair like a 65 year old man from the 60’s. Mason on the left doesn’t seem to mind that the palm branches are caressing his locks. For the last 10 years, I’ve always carved a pumpkin for the boys. My oldest named it “Boo Zoo Elf” when he was 5 and thus we’ve stuck with Boo-Zoo Elf 2, 3, 4,….. Boo-Zoo Elf 10 appears in a few days.”
(submitted by Doug)
“This picture was taken in a photo booth that was quite small. We all tried our best to fit..well…this was the end result!! It has been one of our most treasured family portraits for years!!”
(submitted by Charlene)