Identity Crisis

A week or so ago, Yduj and I had dinner with my sister, Charnie to celebrate her birthday. (Because her name is so odd, there’s no need to enter her into the witless protection program.) She and her husband, Nek, met us at a restaurant on the Lower East Side.

Ordinarily, I’m not really much of a gift giver; you could check this out with…with…well, with any number of people whom I’ve let down.  But since this birthday was a special one (be polite and don’t ask), I thought I’d try to get her something meaningful.

As luck would have is it, about a week before the birthday dinner I came across a very old photo of Charnie, me, and my brother, Steve, taken on the porch of the farmhouse where we lived when we were very young.  Even though we’re not nearly old enough, the picture looks like  some depression era photo taken by Walker Evans or Dorothea Lange.  Yjud took one look at the picture, saw Charnie striking a pose, and told me that the photo would be the perfect present for her birthday. I happened to have a frame for the picture which was, if not ideal, perfectly serviceable.  So, on the day of the birthday celebration, I framed the photo, put it in a bag and brought it with me to dinner.

Not long after we met up and were seated at our table, I reached for the picture and with a grand flourish presented it to my sister.  Charnie took one look at the photo and said, “That’s not me”.  “Whadda ya mean?”, I said using my best Brooklyn accent.  Charnie pointed out that the girl in the photo was much older than even my brother who is the oldest of the three of us. Yduj and I looked at it and saw that she was right; that the girl in the picture would probably be about 102 by now.

Maybe you can appreciate how crestfallen I was with this turn of events. But I tried to recover and asked my sister if instead, she’d like the wedding photo of our parents that I recently had framed.  She declined that gift as well,  saying that she’d probably be passing it on to me sometime in the not too distant future so why not save ourselves the back and forth.  It was becoming apparent to me that Charnie, for some reason, was not in a picture receiving mode.  Who knows, maybe she was expecting cash.

So now I’m stuck with this photo of a mystery girl hanging in my apartment. And I probably still owe my sister a birthday present.  Being thoughtful isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Me (maybe), possibly my brother, and a stranger

Me (maybe), possibly my brother, and a stranger


14 Responses to “Identity Crisis”

  1. Judith Says:

    I love it!!!

  2. iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

    You mean the blog…..right?

  3. Roberta Berman Says:

    I think it’s Barbara Barr.

  4. Roberta Berman Says:

    I have the same picture

  5. Your sister Says:

    Did somebody say, “cash”?

  6. Ray Says:

    C’mon, that is YOU in the middle? I would swear that your brother was hanging out with two cute girls (ahead of his time!!). Notice I said cute, not normally used in the same sentence when referring to you (only kidding).
    Great edition!!! Still laughing.

  7. Sheila Says:

    Love this post- I think I have the same photo in MY family album!!

    • iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

      Then YOU must know who that girl is. And now that you know who those little boys are, I’m sending you the photo. When exactly IS your birthday?


  8. your nephew Says:

    I love how Grandma always knows everything. Like what grandpa Sam’s handwriting looks like and who is/isn’t in the photo.

  9. iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

    ethan, she knows a lot. but recognizing that a girl in a photo is someone else doesn’t really qualify her as a genius.

  10. your nephew Says:

    haha you are just jealous Uncle Neil

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