Help! Vintage Photo Needs Caption

Every week, The New Yorker magazine features a Cartoon Caption Contest, inviting readers to submit a caption for consideration. After three finalists are chosen, readers vote for the winning caption.

Recently, in my cache of Kodak carousels I found a slide from the 1960s in dire need of a caption. Clearly, the season is autumn, and the family including Grandma Longenecker, my mother, brother Mark, and my dad are on a Sunday afternoon outing, judging by their dress. No one’s expression conveys a feeling of alarm over the possibility of Grandma’s imminent slide down the steep hill.

“What was going on here?” I ask. Everyone in the photograph registers a different band-width on the emotional scale, but most seem clueless about Grandma’s precarious position.

Help me solve the puzzle with a winning caption here.


Think free for all, not free fall!

* * *

If you would rather not submit a caption, you might speculate about what is going on here, who the photographer may have been, or offer a story about a memorable family outing you recall.

Pictures don’t lie, or do they?

Coming next: Signs & a Wonder in St. Mary’s, Georgia


55 thoughts on “Help! Vintage Photo Needs Caption

  1. Good morning, Marian. It IS a funny photo. I’m not feeling witty enough right now to offer a caption.
    I’m assuming it’s just the angle, and that your poor Grandmother did not actually slide down the hill–but if she did, you must fill us in! Your father seems to be staring at something. Your grandmother almost looks like she doesn’t belong, as if she was photoshopped into the photo. Is this a park?


    1. Ha! I can confirm that no characters in this cast were photoshopped into the picture, but I think the angle may be responsible for the odd perception here.

      I imagine the leaves were pretty that Sunday afternoon, and the family simply went on a drive to see fall foliage. Close to our house there are many parks and wooded areas near the Susquehanna River. Maybe one of my sisters will see this and take a more educated guess about location.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A good many belly chuckles as I pondered this today. Here are a few poor tries. And no sacrilege intended.

    Hang on kiddos, don’t you know I’m about to let go?
    It’s a slippery slope once you let go of the cape and the covering, kiddos.
    Are we having fun yet?
    Is this my best side?



  3. It’s a mountainous background. Mom’s holding a purse and no adult is wearing hiking shoes. Norma Garber’s area? Camp Hebron? Potter county hunting cabin. I do remember visiting that place. Mark appears to be about 10ish. That would put me at age 17, a possible photographer. Mark might remember.

    Moment before “The Fannie Flip.”


    1. You have a great eye for detail. Any of the locales above may be “it”! I suppose it will always be a guessing game unless Mark sees this and can possibly nail down the location. I like your two-word alliteration.

      I think I’ll post this to Kiki’s Facebook page. Then she could alert Mark who may provide some clues. Nice to see you here again.


  4. “Grandma Adds Levity To The Outing” ~ “Grandma, Always The Teacher, Illustrates How To Get Off The Ledge” ~ “When Grandma Get Bored, She Makes Her Own Fun” ~ or a REALLY bad one, “After Too Much Wine At The Picnic, Grandma Decides To Go Looking For Grandpa”

    Marian, this is a great picture, but none of my tags even begin to do it justice. What a fun post!


    1. I like all of your free associations, Marylin. I don’t remember any wine bottles at her house, but there was a whiskey bottle reserved to make hot toddies when we had the croup. πŸ˜‰


  5. Marian β€” I don’t have a caption for this photograph, but it definitely captures the epitome of “precariously perched.” How your grandmother isn’t slip-sliding away is beyond me. I can see she has a handkerchief in her right hand, so we know she’s not hanging on (for dear life), but gosh, that looks uncomfortable!


    1. The fall colours? Perhaps autumn in the British Isles. You have beautiful foliage in South Africa, but probably not many maples and oaks as shown here. If you get a brainstorm, you can always add to the chain of comments. Thanks, Susan.


      1. I was thinking of Grandmother Longenecker saying those words because of the fall colours in the background … as she was slip sliding … .
        My brain wasn’t operating too well yesterday post Paris … let’s hope that the world pauses and takes a deep breath before any foolish counter-reaction…


        1. Okay, I get it, Susan.

          About the terror in Paris. We Americans here are fully behind the people in France, our long-standing ally. They have our full support. Other commenters made similar reference to the breaking news. The only antidote to this horrific event is countering fear with hope, love, and help – however we can.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. A good laugh for today πŸ™‚ with all these comments. That picture is a very interesting one.:) Glad someone saved it and found it & you posted it. I had to chuckle with the comment of Melonie Davis who said “It is a slippery slope when you let go of the cape & covering πŸ™‚


    1. Glad you enjoyed them.

      This seems like such a frivolous post coming as does a day after the horrific happenings in Paris. (But it was in the WordPress queue as you may imagine.)

      It is possible to recognize that the 1960s were turbulent times too, yet it was still necessary to hit the pause button and relax for a moment or two.

      Thanks for reading and commenting here.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Mmmmmm I’m not good at captions . Your grandma clearly is not a comfortable lady but how could she be in that looooooooooonnnnngggg dress bless her . Is there a river or stream below ??? I wonder because if so I’d say ‘ messing about on the river ‘ .


  8. What a wonderful picture. Grandma longenecker looked the same when I met her . My thought was hurry take a picture before grandma slides.
    Or look Mark we can still slide in the fall. Great fun.


  9. I vote for Carolyn Stoner’s caption. Can’t come up with anything better or even close. I must say, Grandma looks like she knows how to take care of herself. Maybe she saw some fruit she wanted to pick down that hill. Go with Carolyn!


    1. She got more votes than anyone else, so I’ll go with Carolyn!

      You are quite perceptive. Grandma always knew how to take care of herself. Somehow I think we are all looking at an optical illusion of some sort.


  10. Since I brought the slide back to life, I believe you had taken the picture since it was from your collection of slides. When I get time I’ll try to see if there are any clues from other photos of similar-aged family members.


    1. Jean thought it may be she would took the shot, but she would have had to be using Ektachrome or Kodachrome film. Janice would have been in nurse’s training and I at LMS then. But I certainly could have taken it since I came home from Lancaster most weekends. πŸ˜‰


    1. I have since found some other doozies too – all on my slides, Ectachrome and Kodachrome. Maybe I’ll extend the “Choose a Caption” contest to other crazy picts! Glad you played along with this folly . . . ha!


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