Growing up, Garnet Bean’s closet wasn’t a closet. It was portal to the 1970s. You opened the doors and saw ankle-high leather boots, powder blue suits, and T-shirts worn to an obscenely comfortable deli napkin thinness. With a quick wardrobe change, you were transported to a Polaroid-hued streetscape where funky bass lines and breathy falsettos serve as the soundtrack.
When Garnet Bean became Dad, he slowly traded in those duds for an attire more suited to corner office powwows, parent-teacher conferences and Reagan-era networking. But the clothes never left in the closet. So while Dad was out there pressing palms and building a family business, Garnet, the crazysexycool dude with Maryland-sized muttonchops, hung from clothes hangers and sat stacked in wooden cubbie holes.
My dad and mom were (well, are) awesome. Your parents were awesome. That’s the awesome crux of comedian Eliot Glazer’s Tumblr blog My Parents Were Awesome, a collection of vintage snapshots of our parental units looking sexy, stylish and super-cool. It’s easy to forget that pre-you, Mom wore short shorts and drank beer from a can, and Dad snuck into Kiss concerts and revved his Firebird at red lights.
When the blog launched in mid-2009, it was an immediate hit: it’s like we never knew Mom and Dad had lives before we arrived. To date, 15,000 images have been submitted to the blog, which was recently adapted into a book of poignant (and equally hilarious) essays (the book's subtitle: Before Fanny Packs & Minivans, They Were People Too).
But the site isn’t just about flipping through a communal photo album. It’s a nostalgic reminder of the pre-social media era, when “photos captured candid, real life moments,” says Glazer. These days, nary an iPhone snapshot is taken without posing, shooting, deleting, and reshooting. “We’ve all become the photo editors of our own personal tabloids,” Glazer writes in his book’s introduction. The blog proves that behind every diaper changer and crust cutter-offer is a dynamic individual, and “Dad” is just one part of who you are.