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my brother's 2nd birthday

Random Old Photo of the Day: January 1981

By jasonmcgathey | Jason McGathey | 14 Feb 2023

My brother’s 2nd birthday.

I recently had an epiphany of sorts concerning a bunch old photos sitting in boxes around my house. Looking at many of them now, it’s a bit troubling to think that although often knowing the people in the pictures, the context has now been entirely lost, i.e. I have no idea what’s happening in them. Then a few days ago I stopped to think: why not just post them to social media, roughly one per day, and see if any of my family or friends have the first clue?

One downside with this approach was thinking, well, how could you even be certain if somebody is correct, and knows what he/she is talking about? But then this was immediately followed by the thought that if I don’t ask anyone, then I was almost certainly never know anything about these photos. At least this way I can weigh the responses, and see if they seem reasonable enough.

So this picture above was my first candidate, picked basically at random from the top of this shoebox. My paternal grandma Judy is on the top left there, and that’s my aunt Gail (her daughter) sitting on the top right. That little fella in the middle with the toboggan would be my younger brother Daniel.

Though I’m sitting in front of him and we both seem to be opening presents, I was already kind of thinking that, based upon the way that Grandma Judy and Gail are looking at Daniel, that this might be his birthday. But hadn’t mentioned this thought to anyone. Then my dad almost immediately posted in response, saying that this was in fact my brother’s 2nd birthday.

So already we’re kind of off to the races, on the coincidence/synchronicity front, because yesterday just happened to be…my brother’s latest birthday. And then based upon some other responses, we slowly begin to piece together much of the rest.

When he was very little, Daniel somehow acquired the nickname Pooter, though for decades now nobody has really seemed to know the origins of this. Of course, we could have just asked our dad, maybe. According to him, this very hat that he’s wearing is the source of that name — for some reason, he thought that Daniel looked like Winnie The Pooh when wearing it, therefore began calling him Pooter, sometimes even eventually lengthened to Downtown Pooter Brown.

Additional consensus seems to bear out that the other people depicted here are my maternal grandpa Allie (back to the camera) and then Mom partially cut off there, on the front right side. A final detail that was puzzling me, though, is that while this looks like our kitchen from the house on South Street in Galion, I couldn’t fathom why we would have a picnic table in there, if this were the case. Once again however Dad came to the rescue explaining that, while he can’t remember where it came from, we moved a picnic table in there around Christmas so we could accommodate more guests. And then just decided to leave it.

Anyway, this has already been a really fun project, and I suspect I will continue with it — if you’re enjoying this, be sure to tune in for future installments as well!

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I am a professional writer with 8 published books under my belt. And many other unpublished ones, in various stages of disarray.

Jason McGathey
Jason McGathey

Semi-Coherent Musings - from one of the leading masters of this questionable art form!

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