My original intention for this series was to find goofy, unflattering photos of myself to draw. But, my sister’s Christening photo was ground zero for the idea actually. There isn’t one of me and I always wondered why? Where was my christening photo? Several theories took hold as I never got a straight answer. Technically, I never got a straight answer because I never asked either my mom or dad why, but wondering was more fun anyway. My favorite theory– my father hated having his photo taken (true) so he couldn’t be bothered to pose for the same event twice.
That theory stuck with me for years and grew in proportions as I added my own details for color. So, when I decided to draw these pen and ink illustrations I knew I wanted to create my own stories for each photo. Stupid, gross, weird, but hopefully funny stories accentuated by a childhood photo.
The first drawing was the christening photo, mom, dad, and my sister, Lisa. I wrote, ‘Since my father hated having his picture taken, he couldn’t be bothered posing for the same event twice. “No one can tell one baby from the other,” he shouted. “Just send Lisa’s out. It’s a black and white photo for christ’s sake! No one will know the difference.” And that’s why I have no christening photo.’
I thought it was a funny little blurb for the drawing. That is until I showed it to my mom.
“No dear, that isn’t what happened. I didn’t go to your Christening. We were having a party so I stayed home and made hor d’oeuvres. Your Aunt Arlene went with you and your dad to the church.”
“You didn’t go to my christening?!” I asked, incredulously. “I’m sorry. Did you say you stayed home to make pizza bagels?”
“Hor d’oeuvres, sweetheart,” my mom smiled. “Not pizza bagels. We had a party.”
“You stayed home to make pizza ba-”
“Hor d’oeuvres.” My mom corrected.
“You made hor d’oeuvres instead of attending your son’s christening?”
“It was a big party, sweetheart.” She smiled again, completely unaware why this seemed weird. “It was fine. Your Aunt Arlene went with your father.”
“Oh.” I shook my head. “That’s makes complete sense.”
“Shrimp pastries,” my mom added.
“What?” I was lost in swirl of contradictions.
“The hor d’oeuvres,” she said, “they were shrimp pastries. They were perfect.”
“Oh…, good.” I muttered, then issued a bark of laughter and after a moment said, “This is way better than my story.”
“Yours was very nice too, sweetheart.”