The Year: 1977. The scene: the Brea Mall, in Brea, California. My brother, David, and I, then 6 and 4, respectively, were playing in the clothing racks at Sears and generally being annoying. Our mother was fuming. She was the Maddest. Mommy. Ever. Or at least that’s how it seemed to us.
We were in big trouble but we had no idea how big until Mom, in the middle of lecturing us, spied a giant box with a curtain for a door. She walked us inside and told us to sit down, face forward and be quiet.
David and I were dumbfounded. What was this box? Then the horrible sounds started - loud clicking, hissing and snapping followed by the deep groaning and grinding of gears. The lights dimmed and flashed.
Our mom never missed a chance to document a day. But this was the 70’s, a time long before camera phones. So when she spotted the photo booth she thought nothing of shoving us inside, even in mid-fight…until the strip of pictures slid out of the machine and she saw our terror-stricken faces.
My mother had completely forgotten that David and I had never seen a photo booth before. We thought she was so furious with us for our bad behavior that she had put us in a box behind a curtain to have us murdered!
Our family laughs about it now, of course. My brother and I have no issues or repressed fears. In fact,”The Photo Booth of Horror” is one of our favorite stories from childhood. My only wish? That I could have seen my mom’s expression when the photos came out of the machine.