There are many of us out there who think fondly of our parents: They're Mom and Dad, they were our caregivers, they fed us, clothed us, bathed us, changed our dirty diapers, picked us up from school and they were there for our every little need. But were they ever "cool?"
Blogger Eliot Glazer is giving parents a chance to redeem themselves, showing us that Mom and Dad weren't always Mom and Dad -- that they were in fact once awesome.
The Brooklyn-based blogger started a Web site called myparentswereawesome.com, which solicits photo submissions of people's parents and grandparents from their halcyon days, looking hip, happening and awesome.
Glazer's mission statement, proudly displayed on the Web site, is simple: "Before the fanny packs and Andrea Bocelli concerts, your parents (and grand-parents) were once free-wheeling, fashion-forward and super awesome."
"I think people really like this site because it's like traveling back in time and having this voyeuristic experience." said Glazer. " It's the type of thing that everybody can relate to. Everybody has parents, almost everybody has pictures. Before you knew them as Mom and Dad -- the people who may have driven you around in vans, or bought you toys, or yelled at you -- they had so much going on!"
Started just two months ago, the Web site has received almost 1,000 photo submissions
"I think people just, you know, appreciate family and can really hold on to memory and are proud and eager to share it with other people as well. "
The site has a range of photos, many from the 1950s and '60s, several from the '30s and '40s, and some even older.
"There are couples that look like flower children, just kind of laying out on the grass and holding each other, just looking so in love, and so comfortable around other people their age," Glazer said. "It's easy to forget that they had that too. There are some photos where the subjects look like classic movie characters. Or characters right out of 'Mad Men,' with cigarettes and the outfit that's very '50s, film noir."
"Before they were Mom and Dad, they were hot!"
The site is designed keeping simplicity and minimalism in mind -- aside from the big bold letters screaming "My parents were awesome" on the banner, it consists of scanned versions of old photos, and the couples or individuals pictured are identified only by first name and the first name of the person who submitted the photo. There is no back story, so visitors don't know why someone's mom and dad are on a boat looking like they stepped out of a James Bond movie with their hip bell bottoms. Those details are left to the imagination and a simple, worn, perhaps slightly faded picture capturing a moment in time.
"Photos from today's cameras I find tend be a lot less flattering than these photos from back then that were maybe out of focus. They all just seem to have a soft look to them. Or maybe people just looked better back then," Glazer said with a smile.
Glazer not only wishes to capture the feeling of looking through an old album dug up out of the attic. He's also trying to bring some good old fashioned cheer back to a Web gone cheeky.
"As a professional blogger, it is easy to live in an Internet that is built on cynicism and snark. And while that serves its purpose, myparentswereawesome.com is the kind of place I put together because there needs to be a place where you can feel sentimental, you can smile, without it being necessarily overly gooey or emotional," he said.
"It's just a universally enjoyable place. I've gotten a lot of feedback from people who tell me they've been to the Web site and they've cried. That just blows me away because I just took a simple idea and people seem to have really taken to it. "