THE BLOG
05/31/2016 06:14 pm ET Updated May 28, 2017

The Ghost Mabel Mystery

I don't know how quickly you move in your house, but sometimes a library book that's due will sit on my counter until I have to pay a fine. I see it's there, I know I should do something about it, but other more pressing issues take my attention.
It's on my radar, is a phrase that might apply.

What seemed like a week or so ago, I noticed a photo in our living room didn't look quite right. Last fall my husband and had our photo taken for the Highland Prairie Lutheran Church directory. It was a bittersweet occasion, since (try as I might), I wasn't able to include our daughter Mabel in the photo shoot. I changed our appointment several times, but she was busy with debate, or her part time job, or something else that was more important to her than taking a family photo. So Glenn and I went to the photographers without our daughter, and had a nice photo of ourselves taken. The photographer said he'd send the image to the church directory people and then they'd also mail us a duplicate 8 x 10 photo (un-retouched. . . because at this age, air brushing and photo shopping can only do so much, and why pay extra to pretend like you look better than you do?)

When the picture of Glenn and me arrived last March, I sat it in front of my daughters framed 11th grade photo. Her smiling face has been regularly captured on film, and has graced the buffet in our living room since she was born. When Mabel was a baby, I had her picture taken professionally every couple of months, at an in-store photo studio. It seems extravagant, but I'd use a coupon that would come in the mail, so it cost about 10 dollars for the 8 x 10 and an additional page or two of wallet sized copies that I'd mail to all of our relatives. When Mabel started school, the same frame in the living room always holds the yearly school photo.

So recently. . . I noticed that the photo of Glenn and I didn't look quite right. Someone had put the church directory photo of Glenn and me in the frame that always holds Mabel's photo. . . which was weird. Plus, the photo of Glenn and me looked like it was now flawed. It looked as though a sheet of wallet sized photos of Mabel were behind it in the frame, and had started to 'bleed through.' Last night I finally picked up the frame to Miss Marple out a solution. I'll call it The Ghost Mabel Mystery.

Sure enough, the church directory photo had 'ghost images' of wallet sized photos of Mabel, which weren't there when the photo arrived in March. What the heck! Someone put cellophane tape on the back of the frame to hold it shut. The back of the frame is now bulging out and it seems there's more photos in the frame than will fit. Removing the tape and taking out the photographs, I see it's obvious that there was some serious tampering done to the photo in the front, and behind the altered photo is our original church directory photo, which looks just fine. Someone had spent considerable time on a computer, getting ghostly images of our daughter to appear behind the image of Glenn and me. In fine print at the bottom of the photo, (where the bar code from the photography studio usually is), it reads: #neverforgetmabel #Iwasn'tthere #I'myouronlychild

Turns out that the framed joke photo had been sitting in our living room since April 1st. I can't believe she waited nearly 2 months for me to finally figure out her April Fool's joke! I guess (depending on the circumstances), teenagers can have a great deal of patience after all.