My Grandfather Took a Selfie Before Selfies Even Existed
A ‘selfie’ of my Granddad in the mid-1920s in St. Louis, before selfies even existed.
Here, my Granddad, Charles Edward “Eddie” Niesen, sits for photo booth portraits. This boy with a bright smile was the baby in his family; he was born the same year that his oldest sister eloped with her husband. I think he spent most of his childhood competing for his parent’s attention, as he became an uncle around the time that these photos were taken.
A few years later, tragedy struck when the small grocery store his parents owned and operated went out of business after the onset of the Great Depression. A few days later, his father took his own life.
Nonetheless, his family recovered, and Eddie became a pipeline engineer. He went on to meet my grandmother, Joe, who was named after her father, an affluent doctor. Grandma Joe had her master’s degree in social work and was perfectly-paired with my Grandad.
My grandparents were truly a quiet force; they believed in living below their means and valued practicality, but were always selflessly generous to those who needed their help — especially their children and grandchildren.
I’m grateful for my Grandad’s contagious optimism and balanced pragmatism. You can see both of those traits in his face here, as a little boy with his future ahead of him. ~shared by @andrewniesen