Thoroughly Trivial Tuesday!

by Alexa on October 14, 2008

Today, allow me to show you a treasured family heirloom. It is a photograph of my great-grandmother and great-grandfather on their wedding day, and I think, when you see it, you will understand why it is so dear to me:
Wedding Picture
The bride is Verena Michel, originally of Weisen, Switzerland. The man she is marrying is Carl Yahnke. It is November 21st, 1904, and obviously an occasion of great pomp and ceremo—huh.
Wait a minute.
Is that…?
Is her dress open?
I have seen hundreds of staged turn-of-the-century photographs, at garage sales and antique stores. But I have never seen one quite like this, which is what makes it so delightful.
You have to wonder what they were up to just before the picture was taken.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Priya October 14, 2008 at 8:48 pm

They were admiring each others’ cheekbones up close, I imagine.


Laura October 14, 2008 at 8:57 pm

So hilarious! I wish my family heirloom pics had something cool like that to wonder at.


Kate October 14, 2008 at 9:59 pm

Ha ha! That made me LOL. I think they totally have that “We weren’t doin’ nuthing” look to them. Boy, wouldn’t you love to know the truth?


Lila October 14, 2008 at 10:02 pm

I guess her outfit consisted of diffrent parts, and the brighter front part was a so-called “chemisettchen”, i.e., a little chemise. One could button it off easily and button on something else instead.

In order to change your outfit and give the striking impression of a woman blessed with many different dresses, all you had to do was invest in some chemisettchen… of course, if you leave some buttons open, the illusion is destroyed and the imagination of your great-grandchildren fired…

The picture is lovely. They do look a bit terrified.


Hairy Farmer Family October 15, 2008 at 3:17 am

Oh my! Do you think something popped under strain?! My own right boob is rather larger than the left and does tend to make a bid for freedom on its own occasionally.

Such a pretty lady! But there’s something vaguely suggestive of ‘What HAVE I DONE?’ about your G-Grandfather’s wide-eyed stare.

How will you explain the peculiar blouse incident to Simone?!


Geohde October 15, 2008 at 4:02 am

Sadly, I would never have even noticed!



Flicka October 15, 2008 at 5:42 am


It’s a lovely picture despite the boobage. I can see a bit of your cheeks and mouth in your great-grandmother. Or vice-versa. You know what I mean.


A. W. October 15, 2008 at 6:00 am

You gotta watch them Schwiezers. Particularly with a little Heidi in them…


Jen October 15, 2008 at 8:05 am

And that table next to the man is where the new father’s-in-law shotgun is resting on.


Aurelia October 15, 2008 at 10:52 am

Oh that IS funny.

I am so laughing at them right now.


beyond October 15, 2008 at 12:55 pm

i have seen a similar photo of my great-grandparents (probably 1890s) also in switzerland. next time i admire it i will check for wardrobe malfunctions…


Marcie October 15, 2008 at 12:59 pm

Excellent! I LOVE old family photographs!!! Naughty, naughty great-grandparents! LOL


Alicia October 15, 2008 at 1:19 pm

ohh I love pics like this! I would have never noticed the dress thing though, good eye!


CJ October 15, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Photographed by Kramer, for the annual Christmas card :)


Sarah October 15, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Shocking! ;-)


Marti from Michigan October 15, 2008 at 4:50 pm

They look soooooooo young!


Amy October 15, 2008 at 4:54 pm

do you know thier ages? she looks so young, and he looks quite a bit older.
Just wondering…


Brenda October 15, 2008 at 9:28 pm

LOL! Is it just me or does the left side of his face look a little swollen? It’s probably just the fuzziness from the photograph, but still I wonder if she had other feelings about “getting to know each other better” just before the photograph was taken?!?


sarah October 16, 2008 at 12:47 pm

i would have never put the opening there…

it should be at the back so that you can’t do it yourself… duh.


Jill October 17, 2008 at 10:25 am

They’re not telling, are they? In fact, there’s not the slightest trace of a smirk on either of their lips and nary a twinkle to be seen in their eyes.
Which makes me suspect one of two scenarios: (1) It was deliberate. In the town where they lived, at the time they were wed, “flashing” was a fad among young adults. Points were given for where the exposure took place (in the harness-maker’s shop and waiting in line at the bakery were two popular spots.) The most daring of all the young Swedish flashers chose to be photographed, straight-faced, in the act. Everybody got a huge laugh out of it afterwards.
Scenario 2: it was inadvertent. She spilled some coffee on her shirtwaist just before the picture was to be taken. The photographer offered to lend her a replacement from his array of costumes and in her haste to button the unfamiliar garment, she missed a few buttonholes.
Photography was expensive in those days and they WERE Swedes, after all, so what was the big deal about a nipple showing? They didn’t bother to have the photograph re-done. In fact, it took a place of honor in the parlor and everybody had a lot of laughs out of it.


kate October 17, 2008 at 5:50 pm

Oh I love it that is great.


Di October 18, 2008 at 8:17 pm

HILARIOUS, and the older generations talk about us having loose morals… hahahaha


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