Watching the grandkids play outside in the garden, I felt so content. My husband Michael and I had flown from the UK to visit our son Matt and his family who lived in Auckland. Now, it was New Year’s Eve and we were all staying at a seaside villa.
As I sipped on a glass of wine, my seven-year-old grandson Dylan, burst into the room. ‘Grandma, come and play on the trampoline!’ he chirped. Aged 66, I had to laugh at the thought of me jumping up and down like a kid again. ‘Maybe I’ll do it naked,’ I joked to Michael, then 67. A cheeky grin spread across his face.
‘Oh come on Carol, do it!’ my daughter-in-law Jessie, 36, urged. Jessie is a professional photographer and loved getting her camera out to capture candid moments. After a bit more convincing – and a few glasses of bubbly! – I agreed. ‘I’ll do it too!’ Michael announced, eager to join in.
I felt a rush of giddiness as we dragged the trampoline out of the sight of the next-door neighbours. Then, Michael and I stripped off our clothes. Climbing onto the trampoline, we bounced up and down while holding hands and facing the ocean. I felt so free!
Jessie snapped a quick photograph before we hopped off again. Shrieking with laughter, we rushed over to Matt, 36, who was holding bath towels for us. He crinkled his nose in embarrassment and closed his eyes. ‘It’s just a bit of fun!’ I said.
Jessie asked us to sign a consent form, as she planned on selling the frivolous picture to a photo agency. ‘Why not?’ Michael and I decided.
At the end of the holiday, we said goodbye to Jessie, Matt and our grandchildren, Dylan, Otis and Iris, with heavy hearts. Around four years later, we’d all but forgotten about the nude picture.
Then one day, Michael and I were at the supermarket and I needed to pick up a birthday card. As I browsed the selection, I pulled out a random one. Peering at it, I instantly recognised the picture on the front. It was Jessie’s nude photo of Michael and me!
Our bare bums had made it all the way from NZ to Somerset, UK, where we lived! In disbelief, I beckoned Michael over. ‘It’s us!’ I told him, bemused. ‘Oh my God, it is,’ he replied, shocked.
Inside the greeting card was a funny little message. Another wrinkle in your birthday suit, it read. Finding it hilarious, Michael and I bought a few of the cards and sent them off to friends and family. Does my bum look big in this? I scrawled in them.
I couldn’t help but return to the store to buy more. At the cash register, I sauntered up with a smile. ‘Do you recognise anyone in this?’ I asked the cashier. ‘No, why would I?’ she asked. But her eyes widened in shock when she realised it was me!
We also emailed Jessie, letting her know our photograph was emblazoned on a Hallmark card. What have you done? I teased her. I had no idea! she replied.
It turned out, the photo agency Jessie originally sold our nude snap to had then sold it to Hallmark. But it didn’t stop there. The photo was also sold to the advertisers of a New Zealand film festival, who used it on their posters. Our naked bums were plastered all over Auckland!
Then, Auckland Transport used a censored – and much bigger – version of the photo for advertisements on the back of buses and on a billboard at the train station.
It must have been too cheeky to use the original one!
We couldn’t believe how popular our naughty pic was.
Matt was less than impressed his parents’ naked bums were all over his city, but he knew it was good fun. Our grandchildren also had a giggle at their grandma and grandad’s new-found fame.
It’s been six years since our naked trampolining and the photo has made it to all corners of the globe. We’re curious to see where else it might pop up.
Michael and I have never felt self-conscious or embarrassed by it. We had so much fun posing for it – and even more laughs seeing where it ended up. After all, you’re only as young as you feel!