An Unsolvable Secret

My baby bro, older sister, me, and my second-oldest sister loooong ago

My little bro, older sister, me, and my second-oldest sister posed together loooong ago.

My beloved baby brother, the hot-shot Chicago lawyer, turned 57 years old last Saturday. As I was thinking about him that day while walking through my house, I looked up at the mantle where the above photo sits.

It seems like a simple portrait of the four of us “mobsters” (as my Dad used to “lovingly” call us) back in 1957. But appearances can deceive. It’s actually a mystery.

After my father died in 1991, my mom would periodically check in on his dad, who lived with his girlfriend, Ida, after being widowed twice, in Chicago. One day Ida, who had started suffering from dementia, pulled out a large photo from a drawer. She showed it to my mom and said, “I have no idea who these kids are.”

Usually my dad was our photographer. He loved to line us up, especially at the Brookfield Zoo. (1963)

Usually my dad was our photographer. He loved to line us up. (1963, Brookfield Zoo)

Well, of course, my mom did! She stared at the picture, which featured the younger version of those now-adult mobsters. Believe it or not, she had never seen the photo before, plus she didn’t remember my dad ever schlepping the four of us to a portrait studio in 1957.

The four of us looked so groovy in 1970.

The four of us looked so groovy in 1970.

So this became one of my mom’s favorite pics. We’ll never know why my dad decided to get a professional portrait done of us, why he never told my mom about it, and why my grandfather had it all those years. This is an unsolvable riddle, because the answer died with my dad.

But it sure makes for a great story!

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