Favorite Family Photo

Hopefully you remember last Wednesday’s post about personal space, because in a way, this is part 2 of the story.

That post got me to thinking about an old photograph of Father’s. It was a favorite of all us kids.

“Can we see that picture, Dad? The one where everyone is standing a mile apart from each other?”

He insisted the picture was really about the house – The Hovey Homestead – but we knew better.

Take a look, friends. Have you ever seen a family with more personal space issues?


The photo was taken around 1910, and I suppose it’s possible the house was the star attraction. It was built by Great-Grandfather (the gent far right), after he came from Norway and found a wife. She’s the woman center right, the one bearing an uncanny resemblance to a figure in a wax museum.

And slightly left of center – the tall distinguished looking gentleman – that’s my Grandfather, Carl. The other three men are his brothers, Andrew, Joe & Peter. The woman in the white dress is his sister and the only one I knew – she’s my Great-Aunt Crissy. (I’m afraid I don’t know the dog’s name.)  Two siblings are missing. Maybe they were more prone to hugging? I don’t know.

I always liked to imagine the poor chap trying to photograph this family.
“Alright everyone, let’s line up in front of the house… well, Grandma, that’s certainly in front of the house. Do you think you can turn just a bit… just a little… no? Okay, well, if the rest of you can move in closer to her? … A little more… more… Um, you know Grandpa, if you could join the rest of the family over there… Ah geez,  now one sat down… Listen, I’ll just step back, like… 20 feet or so, I should be able to get you all. Yes, don’t worry. I’m getting the fern too.”

Author: CJ Hartwell

After spending most of her life in Phoenix, Arizona, CJ Hartwell moved to the middle of Minnesota. Is she nuts? Probably. For updates on her sanity, click on the link to follow by email.

10 thoughts on “Favorite Family Photo”

    1. I was wondering if the house is still standing. It probably isn’t, because if it was, I’m sure my dad would have found a way to show it to us. He was real big on making sure we knew our family history and could name all the people in the photographs. I didn’t appreciate it much at the time, but now I do! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’ve been obsessing over family history lately and I’m comparing the paucity of early generation pictures to the almost bombardment of family records of the modern era. My grandparents had about three good pictures. My dad about the same of childhood pictures through early adulthood. I have about, maybe 20, really good pictures from my youth (the incident with the scissors shall not be mentioned). But, due to the advent of digital pictures, my son is recorded on a near-daily basis. Granted many of them are not noteworthy and vaguely fuzzy because they are cellphone pics. I have to wonder if we have lost the preciousness of the individual photo because we are overwhelmed (overrun) by hordes upon hordes of teeming pics lurking in digital caves on desktop computers that threaten to wipe out entire decades of memories because of a virus or simple ancient computer anachronisms?


    1. Yes, I agree, we’ve definitely lost something. As I was hunting through my photo albums for this picture, I had a vague feeling of disquiet. You articulated it perfectly.
      I couldn’t help but notice the extreme contrast in the number of printed photos we have, once we got a digital camera. Oh, sure, they’re on the computer, but… one small virus and whoosh, they’re gone. Yikes! I believe I’ve found a project!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Favorite bits: “figure in a wax museum” and “I’m getting the fern too”. And I’m sure you realize that my Past Imperfect personality (one of the many residing in yours truly, take a comfortable seat and see who shows up next) is practically petting the screen right now, yearning… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hands off, past imperfect you! 😀
      Seriously though, I bet I could find a photo for you. As a matter of fact… I have one of four of the brothers, sans grandfather, from when they formed a band. I think my dad said the pic was from 1895. Interested?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would be delighted with any crumbs you toss my way. But no pressure, I don’t want you to do anything that might prompt misgivings or requests to join the Witness Protection Plan… 😉


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