FOLSOM (CBS13) — The Folsom Cigar Lounge is home to cigars and a family portrait with quite the back story.
“I was shopping in the Hospice thrift store and I saw a picture of this family,” Bunny Goodell said. “And I thought, ‘What are they doing in a thrift store? We need to adopt them.'”
Goodell, who’s referred to as Grandma Bunny, bought the photo despite not knowing who was in it.
“I took it home and my husband Lindsey said, ‘That’s a nice picture but who are these people.’ and I said, ‘I don’t know,’” Goodell said.
The portrait has been in the family’s white elephant Christmas exchange for decades and currently hangs at the cigar lounge, which is owned by a family friend.
“The deal was whoever won the picture had to keep it at their home and display it in a prominent place for one year,” Goodell said.
Over the years, Grandma Bunny and others often wondered who all those smiling faces in the picture belonged to. She told CBS13 some of the portrait owners have given those in the picture their own made-up names.
But thanks to a cigar lounge employee’s suggestion and the power of social media, they quickly found out who each person was when those in the portrait were shown a Facebook post.
“I never thought it would happen. There was no social media when we started the game,” Goodell said. “Sasha at the cigar lounge, she was the one who put it out there and said, ‘Does anyone know these folks?’”
It turns out that Carol Carter-Uylatt, Linda Bennett and Sue Hezmalhalch are in the photo. Initially, they thought the Facebook post was a scam when a long-time family friend showed them their family portrait online.
One of the sisters in the portrait, Sue Hezmalhalch, believes the portrait wound up at the thrift shop in an estate sale.
Carol believes it was tossed out for a different reason. “Well you see the man standing behind me is an ex-husband,” Carter-Uylatt said.
One thing led to another, bringing Grandma Bunny and two of the three sisters, Carol and Linda, together at the cigar lounge. As an extra surprise, someone in the gift exchange secretly flew in the missing link, Sue, all the way from Nashville to be a part of the moment when the sister met their “adopted,” family for the first time.
The trio said they aren’t mad about being a part of a holiday tradition. If fact, they said think it’s funny. The sisters say they don’t want the family portrait back, but they do want to know which member of their adopted family takes them in next.
“I just think it’s neat that we’ve become part of this and I hope that we continue to become close in friendship and laugh with you guys going, ‘Hey, who got it this year!?'” Hezmalhalch said.
The Folsom family and friends tell CBS13 that they plan to hold their exchange on Christmas day.