I’m often reminded of the power of a family photograph, particularly its ability to freeze a moment in time, outlive its subjects, and be handed down through generations. Today is my mom’s 65th birthday and we celebrated over the weekend with a big surprise party. For a creative save the date, I scanned an old family photo (circa 1958) of mom with her five younger siblings, added some text in Photoshop, and sent it along to her brothers and sisters. The flurried response of sarcastic emails that went back and forth was humorous to say the least…“I am pleased that you used the picture of the last time that Frank (top middle) smiled in a photograph. Of course, the stylish jacket that my mother purchased for him may have made him feel unusually proud and content that day. I do regret, however, that you have chosen a photo where I (bottom left) am desperately holding back a long pee as the photo session lingered on.” As part of the surprise, my aunts and uncles took mom on a cocktail tour of their old haunts in the South End of Hartford, CT. Fueled by liquid courage from The First and Last Tavern, they snooped around the driveway of their childhood home. Much to their pleasure, the front door opened and the current owner (ready to call 911?) invited them in and let them check out their old rooms, thus crowning their perfect trip down memory lane.
To make a long story short, the party was a smashing success filled with family standards–excessively lengthy and loud toasts/roasts and step dancing to a live Irish band. But it all started with a photo, which of course I forced them to reenact on the staircase. I antiqued the final image above to match the original a bit more. Old family photos should remind us all of the need to capture fleeting moments. My grandparents, who did not have a lot of money for miscellaneous expenses, obviously recognized the value of photography and the importance of documenting their growing family. So take their lead–don’t put off taking family portraits this year, and of course, choose me to help you record these memories:) Happy Birthday Mom!