April 10, 2006

Picture This!

I often write about the ‘70s because I think that was the most remarkable decade of my life. It was during that period of time when situations changed almost daily, I thought I was invincible, and I swore I knew more than anyone else in the world – you know, my twenties.

I have two lists that I will probably someday post – one is my list of things I hated about the ‘70s and the other of course, would be the list of stuff I loved and miss about that decade. For today, I want to reminisce about one of my favorite memories back then – my sisters.

My sisters (three – all older) and I were very close then … not only in proximity, but also in heart. We all had our own ‘stuff’ going on, yet we always managed to make time for the family gatherings at our parents’ house for holidays and birthdays. Of course, trying to get all of us to agree on times and dates was no picnic, but somehow, it usually worked out in the long run.

While reading through blogs this morning, I came upon a post written by Wicked H that truly struck a familiar chord. She and her sisters were preparing to have a professional photo taken for their parents’ upcoming birthdays. We did this too in the late ‘70s and what a fun memory it made.

We agreed (which was a small miracle) on a time and place, and all we had to do was show up, sit and smile, and be done with it ~ as IF it could have been quite so simple.

Let me bring you back into the studio on that Saturday morning.

Janet (J), Lynn (L), Susan (S) and Carol (Hag) all arrived within minutes of one another. No one had discussed color schemes or clothing beforehand, and what happened was right out of a Stephen King novel. We showed up wearing the same style blouse; the only differences were subtle lace arrangements and colors.

Now one might think this would evoke some chuckles and back patting, but nay! I’m talking about me and my sisters here.

L: Oh my GOD. I had no idea you’d all be wearing those blouses.
J: How could you know? What do we do now?
S: Well I’m NOT coming back here again and there’s no time to change, so we’ll have the picture taken and get it over with.
Hag: Okay, but they’ll never believe we didn’t plan this.

S: Wait. What color is the backdrop going to be because I’m wearing black and there’s no way it will show up against a dark setting.
L: Well I look too washed out with light colors.
J: You should have thought of that when you picked out a blouse.
L: So what are you saying? You don’t like the color of my blouse?
J: (eyes upward) Well listen to yourself! You said you wash out in light colors and your blouse is light blue.
Hag: Let’s ask Jack (the photographer/friend of mine) what he has available.

Jack: Looking perplexed and well … SCARED at this point. “The choices are a marbled blue, marbled green, solid black, white, powder blue or dark blue – and please don’t ask me what I think because there’s no way in hell I’m shuffling THAT deck of cards.”

L: I know. Let’s all stand in front of each of them and see which looks better!
S: No. That won’t work because we’ll never agree. I’ve already said no black or dark blue for me. You guys work it out.
Hag: I think the darker blue is nice BUT clearly that’s been voted out by now (sneering at Susan).
J: I look pretty good in front of any color so don’t involve me.

S: Well I say we go with white.
Hag: I hate white backgrounds. It will fade out the rest of us … Susan, you will stand out like a sore thumb.
L: Yeah! White’s no good at all. Carol and I are blonde … do you KNOW how badly that will show up against white?
J: Well Lynn, nobody told you to color your hair. Besides, it’s just a picture for Pete’s sake … let’s just get it DONE.
L: (to Jack) Why did you have to have choices? You should have only ONE backdrop so this doesn’t happen.

And Jack throws up his hands and exits the room.

S: If you use black, I’m leaving.
Hag: Figures.
L: Nobody has to leave! How about the powder blue?
Hag: I thought the marble look was nice. The green marble!
J: I’m not saying another word till you guys decide, (looks at watch) but I have another appointment in an hour and I’m not missing it.

Enter Jack …

Jack: (gingerly) Um … ladies? For the sake of maintaining what little sanity I have left … can I interject?
Sisters: (looking at Jack like he just kicked a dog) What?

Jack: Generally, the darker blue looks richer … AND … the black blouse will show up just fine if we place Susan in the forefront.
Susan: Me… in the forefront? I must admit that sounds like a clever thing to do.
L, J and Hag: (audible sighs and with eyes up to the sky) Okay … we’ll try it.

Now for the pose ~ though admittedly this musical chair activity evoked many chuckles and nudges … it took about four roles of film before finishing the shoot.

When the proofs arrived (to me), I chose my favorite one almost immediately. Janet, Lynn and I were all seated on studio chairs, legs folded showing off our skinny angles and hot shoes; Susan was seated on the floor just in front of us and her damned black blouse was neither faded nor prominent.

To save a lot of writing (on my part) and reading (on your part), let me just say that the seated shot was not the photo that was finally decided upon. The one we all agreed (?) upon for our parents is below.

In order of age … Janet (the elementary school principal) sits to the right and has rich dark hair; Lynn (the NYPD retiree) is seated next to Jan; Susan (the clown) sits in the front, and I think you all know that used-to-be-skinny-but-looks-nothing-like-that-anymore lady standing in the back.

The smiles are pretty much the same now, but three-plus decades later, the sisters are not. Neither is the closeness … which I often miss even more than the perfect size-seven clothes.


Anonymous Debra said...

This morning I was reading another blog and saw your link. Your blog title, Weary Hag Blog, caught my attention. I also come from a family of four girls, all two years apart. However, I am the oldest. Many years ago, for our parents 20th wedding anniversary, we had a family portrait drawn. The artist used favorite pictures of each of us to create the family portrait. It turned out great and still hangs over my mother's fire place. Many, many lifetimes later we had a professional photographer take a family picture. By now we all had spouses and children. The photographer suggested that we all wear black and use a black background. That would focus all attention on our faces and hands since the black would hide where one body ended and another began. It took a while to get over our giggles about looking like a "cult" with everyone in black. The picture turned out great and to this day (15 years later) people comment on what a great picture it is. I'm sorry to read that you and your sisters aren't as close as you used to be. Over the years we've had our ups and downs. Times when some sisters were'nt speaking to each other followed by times when we held tightly to each other. We've helped each other raise all of our kids. My husband once said that me and my sisters are all so close that we breathe each others air. I hope that it's always this way.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Don said...

Holy shit! Was your maiden name Carpenter and do you have a brother, Richard? I'm surprised you found time to get together with your sisters with all your recording commitments and stuff.

I bet 'hair' is on your 'things I don't miss about the seventies' list.

Cool post dudette!

11:52 AM  
Blogger Swathi said...

the image looks morphed??? or is it 'coz it was a bad scan??

gud to know that u have pics from that time on..

12:09 PM  
Anonymous John said...

Ahhh yes the seventies! They were indeed the best years of my life. Love the pic Carol. Have a great week! :)

12:46 PM  
Blogger MYSTIC said...

I noticed that you keep commenting on age...OLDER SISTERS! In order of age. One last jab at them because they were such pains during the photo. Who was the thin one...? Now were playing with fire. Wait till they read that comment....

1:16 PM  
Blogger Grant said...

Nice post. Glad you're not camera shy. :)

1:57 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

I liked this. I've been known to fight with my sister once or twice, especially when pictures were involved.

7:58 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

It is really odd that you all showed up in virtually the same blouse! Weird!

I always wanted a sister. I wouldn't want not to be close, though, so maybe I am better off without one?!!

11:46 PM  
Blogger brooksba said...

I bet your parents loved the picture. It is quite amusing that you all arrived in virtually the same blouse. And the hair! Oh, the 70s. The decade I should have been part of.

2:01 AM  
Blogger Spinning Girl said...

What a wonderful post. What a memory. The dynamic between sisters is something quite unique.

6:20 AM  
Blogger the Monk said...

man, the 70s...I had fun then..except, of course, for the fact that I wasn't born then... ;)...anyway, great post, as usual...you write so simply, you know, and just focus on telling the story...must've been something, seriously, all of you in the same blouse...

10:29 AM  
Blogger katie said...

It's reading storys like these that make me wish that I had sisters. Even the squabbles seem like fun. Great post.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous hellbunny said...

You all of a kind of resemblence to each other.I loved the seventies myself.everything seemed more fun back then.
I can remember once turning up at a wedding andseeing 3 other people wearing the same dress.Thats what you get for buying from a popular chain store.

11:57 AM  
Blogger NWJR said...

Ugh. The seventies? Bad clothes and bad music.

Although I still have a warm spot for ABBA...

12:49 PM  
Blogger NWJR said...

Oh, and BTW...I had no idea you were in "Up With People"!


3:05 PM  
Blogger Tabor said...

I am empathizing with Mom and Dad. They had four hormonal gals at the same time! I'll bet there were at least two doors on loose hinges in your house. I hope that some time in the future you all get together for just a little bit and mend a bridge or two. Thanks for the great history and glad to see you have some perspective on it all.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I swear, your sister Lynn could have been me in the 70's!! The same haircut, my god like looking in a mirror! I loved this post, all i can say is poor Jack LMAO!!

9:24 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

i thought women always got together beforehand and discussed wardrobe.

12:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't miss Farrah hair but only because my hair would never feather properly.

I was an only child save for a half sister in another household.

6:56 AM  
Blogger frustratedwriter said...

It has been a while since the bros and I had a picture taken together and since one brother has passed away, it wouldn't feel complete. I do remember the sessions with the photographer though and the banter with each other was great. We are all still close, just busier than we have ever been so we have to work at getting together. A reunion is planned in May, looking forward to it! Maybe a family photo can be made then! Great post, as always!

11:28 AM  
Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Wouldn't mind diving into that gene pool.

I'm looking foward to the lists, Your Weariness.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

Oh Carol,
You did it again, which translates into; "I want to copy your idea for my blog" - almost like picking the same style blouse (well, not really).

I do so love your style. Dare I say that maybe that makes us, something like; "heart sisters"? Because you do so touch mine (really).

8:07 AM  
Blogger Pallavi said...

I was born in the 70's ... and that era has wonderful memories for me too.. loved the snap there..

I think those golden days will hardly come back.. now its all so so techno... SIGH..

I guess time says it all..

12:45 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I love that you gave us there occupations as of now....it's kinda cool looking at a pic and then visualising them on that role. I think you know what I mean.

I would love to get a family portrait done with my lot, but having one overseas doesn't help much, I'm not sure I can plan that well ahead lol

We did however, several years ago, make an effort to have a night on the town together...a friend came along and took a shot of the 4 of us together. It was not hardship cox we were all half hammered at the time, all kinda squashed together and extremely smiley lol

Great post :)

10:05 PM  
Blogger PBS said...

We haven't had a family portrait for a long long time. What a great reminder how important those are, thanks! Loved the photo, too!

9:25 AM  
Blogger madcapmum said...

NO WAY! You didn't plan those matching blouses?!

10:14 AM  
Blogger lilly05 said...

Hey now Carol, you still look the same. I picked you out of the lineup immediately! You always have such great memories, thanks for sharing another one with the rest of us! By the by, RCS and I will be in Boston on the 16th of June. I have a Medicaid confrence to go to on Monday and we elected to fly out for the weekend before to sight see. I've never been that far east before! Sad isn't it? *grin* We would dearly love to meet you and Ed if you are anywhere close to Boston. A friend of ours told us about a great seafood restaurant on the pier, we could meet for supper, if you like? my e-mail is lillypad1972@hotmail.com if this sounds like something you would like to do! If you are too far away or don't think that dinner is a prudent move e-mail me anyway, we would love to hear from you. ;-)

Cher & Rob

12:15 PM  
Blogger Spider Girl said...

I laughed when I read how one sister wails to Jack: "Why does there have to be choices?"

Heh, choices make things fun sometimes, but more often complicated. :)

I love looking at photos that evoke strong memories. Thanks for sharing!

8:13 PM  
Blogger jac said...

That was a fine piece of writing taken out from commemoration with such clarity.

Do you know that you look exactly same like those times, excepting your hair? LOL

10:22 PM  
Blogger I am a Milliner's Dream, a woman of many "hats"... said...

This was SUCH fun to read...and it evokes memories of a very similiar photo session with my two brothers and me in 1977 or 1978. :)


1:03 AM  
Blogger whoami123 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Floridacracker said...

Like a mini-UN with all the bargaining and diplomacy.
You were easy to spot :)

9:48 AM  
Anonymous green-eyed lady(GEL) said...

:)- entertaining as always

8:18 AM  
Blogger Wicked H said...

I am so glad my post inspired you to write this! If my siblings will allow me to post our photo, I will let you know.

I enjoyed this post, entertaining as usual!

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Simply Coll said...

Having two sisters of my own, I could so relate to your sisterly conversation and story. I really wish I had a similar photo of the three of us.

10:38 PM  

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