It started when I was in fourth grade at Yeshiva Flatbush. Karen had just transferred from Yeshiva Ohel Moshe and it was her first day in school. I laid eyes on her and WHAP! That was it. The course of my life was forever changed. I was just nine-years old. What can a pisher like that know of true love? Well, read this series and find out.
A few weeks after our wedding, Karen and I ask my parents if they have received the contact sheets from the photographer.
“Not yet,” they say.
The weeks turn into months and finally my parents tell us that there are no photos.
“What do you mean?”
“There was a fire in the lab, all the negatives were destroyed.”
I stare in disbelief.
“The photographer said it was a terrible blaze and so much was destroyed,” my mother continues tragically.
Oh yeah, I’ll bet it was just like the burning of Atlanta in Gone With the Wind.
I figure shmendrick probably shot at the wrong F stop or misplaced the film. But a fire at the lab? Come on, he might as well have told us that the dog ate the film.
It turns out that not all the negatives were “lost in the fire.” Shmendrick has discovered about a dozen stiffly posed photos that he actually has the chutzpah to charge for. And my good and honest parents actually pay when they should be suing this idiot.
The photos make us all look like statues from Madame Trussauds Wax Museum.
The punch line: Twenty years later, I get a phone call from a low level local politician in Brooklyn. He’s raising money from “prominent Jews in the entertainment business.”
It takes me a moment to place his name, but it comes to me.
I tell him that I’d rather have my wedding photos.
I remind him of my wedding, of the lost photos, of the fire.
He makes sympathetic noises but presses for campaign money. I make a deal with him. “Tell me the truth about what happened to the wedding photos and I’ll make a contribution.”
Needless to say, I never made a contribution.
The ten photos my friend took are infinitely better than anything shmendrick could ever have dreamed. Those ten photos capture our happiness and our complete love.
I realize now that sometimes disasters are not so disastrous. Maybe it’s a blessing that the professional photos were lost. They only would have frozen us in a tableau that did not really exist.
Karen Adds: It’s another Gigi moment, “Ah yes, I remember it well.” if you know the song. What happened, is that after we came back from our sort of honeymoon, a hiking trip, two months after our wedding, in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, my mother-in-law sort of fessed up that there were no wedding pictures. She said that she didn’t want to tell me right away because she was afraid that I would be too traumatized. Well, I remember thinking, I was too happy being married that I didn’t even care. I suspected that there was no fire because all the shots that photographer number one took, fake poses of the ceremony were intact, and everything from the second photographer, (known as shmendrick) were gone. And yes it is true, my in-laws actually shelled out money for the meager pictures that were salvaged from the so called “fire.”