Jan. 8, 2018

MOST PEOPE HAVE MORE-THAN-A-FEW FACES.

Jack’s mother had known me for years (I lived around the corner) and she always treated me well. But, after marrying her son, my new mother-in-law displayed a surprisingly defiant attitude.

Several weeks after the wedding, the photographer called to say the wedding pictures were ready. True to form, my father paid for the photographer’s services at the same time he paid for the wedding.  

Eager to see the photos, I drove to the photographer’s studio then decided to take them by  my mother-in-law’s house so she could look at them too. My new mother-in-law studied every page several times---gushing over each photo.   When I stood to leave she clutched the book to her chest, saying she couldn’t part with it; it was just so wonderful she needed to keep it.  “Please let me have the wedding book---at least for today; I want to “show-off” these gorgeous pictures to my bridge club.  I promise to return the book--- tomorrow.”  

Two weeks later and still no wedding book, I called her.   Sounding irritated, my mother-in-law said she was in a hurry and would leave the wedding book between the screen and the front door. Then, without a goodbye she hung up the phone.  I’d heard her use the same tone when the Fuller Brush Salesman came to her door and she’d given him the old “brush off.”  

 After retrieving the book, my first reaction was how surprisingly light it felt.  Later that evening, I discovered the depths my mother-in-law would sink… to get her way. The most proper of Alabama’s Southern Belles had removed twenty photos (paid for by my daddy) from my wedding book.  She removed every photo with her in it, including those pictures of her with her son, with me, my family, other family members, and group photos of the wedding party! I could hardly contain my shock.

 For days, I tried calling but she wouldn’t answer the phone. Desperate, I asked my husband what to do.  He laughed and said “Don’t do anything, that’s my mother!  She doesn’t like having photos made and most of the time she takes scissors and cuts herself out of family pictures. Sure, it gets people upset but trust me, no one challenges my mother; she always gets her way.” 

When she finally decided to take my phone call, I tried being pleasant.  I made a few casual remarks before asking about the missing photographs. Like a teacher losing patience with a mentally-challenged child, my mother-in-law replied:  “I-threw-them-away-because-I-didn't-like-the-way-I-looked-do-you-understand?”

Then she changed to her normal voice, “The photos were very unflattering; they were taken at the worst time of day and the church lighting was terrible.  I’ve called the photographer and, bless his heart, he agreed to destroy the negatives.  Naturally I sent him a little “thank-you check” for his efforts.  Goodness knows,  bad photos are bad enough without tacky “reminders” lying around. 

Now, I have this wonderful idea.  One day soon, we’ll get all “prettied up” and re-do the wedding pictures.  We can try different poses, take our time, and just make every picture look divinely gorgeous. No one will ever know they were taken AFTER the wedding. 

 I’ve already talked to my son, Jack, and with your mother, Rosemond, and they both absolutely agree.  When it’s convenient, we’ll just call the photographer, put on our wedding clothes, and play “We’re getting married”---all over again! Doesn’t that sound like fun?”

PS. THIS is the only photo I have of my Mother In Law, taken shortly before the wedding. It was the only photo she didn't know about when she destroyed my wedding album.  It happened to be a duplicate that the photographer had placed in the back of the book and I  had removed it before handing her the album. I only found this orginal print last year, while going through more boxes.  Too bad I didn't find it in time to put it in my book, THE BEAUTY QUEEN.