Half of people aged 60 and older are online. I read that somewhere when I was trying to figure out why my mother was on Facebook.
As you may recall from previous posts, she is quite a bit of a character. Unfortunately, it does not come across in her online persona, as she insists on being totally demure and subdued. Just the other day she called me in a huff because someone had tagged her in a photo that wasn’t very flattering. So, being the good daughter, I walked her through the process of untagging (and then I kept the photo for myself and posted it across all of my social media networks).
As of late, she’s been using Facebook as a display board for her family photos. Everyday she posts two or three black and white pictures and her dearest 3 friends comment on her youthful beauty or on how much time has passed.
I’ve seen these pictures hundreds of times. My mom was big about show and tell and I didn’t mind being shown and told. I can’t tell you how may hours I spent flipping through crackling albums and boxes of photos – ignoring her every word and making up my own stories and names from the images.
Her latest post, however, was of a photo I had never seen and the catalyst for the most confusing 90 seconds of my life.
First, I spent some time admiring my outfit. I wondered if it was part of my Beethoven stage, as I figured I was right around the age I began taking piano lessons. And then I thought that pattern on the skirt and shirt was clearly the inspiration for Tetris or Galactica. Then my focus shifted to the actual photo. I thought it was very artsy of them to take a black and white photo in the 80’s when color was all the rage.
After about half-a-minute, I noticed my father on the right, who was totally asleep, next to my mother in the polka dots and mustache and I was like boy they look young. And then I recognized the guy standing next to my mom was her father (they have the same mustache), which was weird because I was told I never got to meet him because he died before I was born. But there he was standing next to me and holding my brother…who is almost nine years my elder.
I felt myself getting dizzy. I remembered that final scene from “The Shinning,” you know with the photo of Jack Nicholson from the past or the future or whatever that was:
Before stepping away from the computer to look for an ax, I read my mom’s post where she explained that it was a photo her half-sister emailed from Cuba. And the little girl in the photo was my mysterious half-an-aunt-with-two-arms that is currently wandering around Cuba. (So, just a quick recap I have a half-aunt in Cuba that I’ve never met and a great-aunt with half-an-arm in the States that won’t leave me alone.)
I kept staring her image in the photo. The resemblance is uncanny.
If this woman and I looked exactly the same at that age, perhaps if I found current photo of her, it would be a good indicator of how I will look when I’m 50. So, I trolled my mother’s Facebook page until I found one. And, well…
There she was, in a bathing suit, and she’s hideous.