My Forgotten Relative

But she seemed so familiar . . . During the course of a particularly grueling household move, I stuffed things in boxes intending to go through them later, when I had more time. That was over ten years ago, which simply means I've been really, really busy. It has nothing whatsoever to do with procrastination.

Anyhow, I finally found the time to open those boxes a couple weeks ago, and in one was an odd picture frame that seemed vaguely familiar. The handsome woman whose photo graced the frame was similarly familiar; I wasn't sure who she was, but felt a certain kinship just the same. After all, I'd been lugging her around with me all this timethrough several moves in factso I knew she was important.

Phone calls to relatives were fruitless. No one seemed to know the person I described, or if they did they pretended not to. I took a photograph of the photographpeculiar frame and alland e-mailed it to everyone I could think of. Same result. In desperation, I began posting the mystery woman's likeness on the Web, but the only response was from someone in Africa who wanted to give me 20% of her missing father's $14.9 million fortune. The private investigator I hired cost nearly that much, but also turned up nothing.

After three weeks of mental torture, the resolution cameas it so often doesby way of a few simple words from the mouth of My One True Love.

"You idiot!" she said, not altogether unlovingly. "That's the sample photo they put in picture frames you buy at the store! Anyone can see it's just a piece of paper!"

"Oh," I replied.

As you can probably guess, I haven't been allowed to sleep in the house anymore, and it's going to take a very long time to pay off that investigator. I guess I feel a little bit sheepish right now.



  1. I can relate only too well. But in my case, the photo in question is as good as an heirloom. I have a photo of a woman sleeping on an unusual, ornate, Victorian gold sofa, covered from head to foot by an afghan shawl. I accept this photo as depicting my mother, who sometimes slept under an afghan shawl on a Victorian gold sofa. It's just that her sofa, though quite similar, was of a different design. And the room in the background, while quite similar to my mother's house, was someone else's. So it's not my mother. I have no idea where the photo came from. Yet I keep it because it might as well be her.

  2. Crud. Now I'll be obsessing over another photo I found in the same box. I think it might be my mother, but why does she look so mean???