In Focus

Walter Clifton (left) and Edith Clifton (front right) walking with friends in the late 1940s/early 1950s.

The Reality of a Candid Photo

This is not Hollywood or New York. It’s West Virginia. The man in the photo on the far left, looking a little like Vince Vaughn, is my grandfather, but not the one who taught me how to tie my shoes. The woman…

Thanksgiving 1974

Bringing Back The Holiday Family Portrait

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, Thanksgiving meant the following: 1. no school 2. a frantic mom 3. an endless wait to eat what was effectively a super duper late lunch 4. delicious smelling food wafting around the house…

black-eyed bride 24 hours before "I do".

Something Black and Blue on My Wedding Day

Someone’s elbow struck my eye socket with a dull thud and a sharp splash. Everyone in the pool froze. My eye immediately started to swell. “Audra, your eye…,” my fiancé began. I flew out of the pool in search of a mirror. My…

My grandmother's bridal photo, 1936.

Discovering The Woman Behind The Veil

My paternal grandmother was not like the drawings of the plump, smiling grandmothers I found in storybooks. She smelled of Estée Lauder and cigarettes, not freshly baked cookies. Her graying hair was stylishly coiffed, with no buns in sight. She was tall,…

Erin Cleghorn and her father in 1997 just before leaving for London England.

Treasuring My Dad Through a Photo I Hate

I hate that I love this picture. My mom took it. It’s 6am. I’m waiting at the boarding gate of the airport in Jacksonville, Florida. I’m leaving for study abroad and my last semester of college in January, 1997. I’d never been…