The other fella is my bro, the English academic, comics scholar and blogger. The lady next to yours truly in the upper right-hand corner is my cousin Angie, who helps manage the endowment of the Philadelphia Orchestra. And the lady whose portrait is underneath me is Angie's sister, my cousin Carla, who is also a blogger.
Why are we all obviously posed with odd-looking purple lump?
You can read my aunt Mae Dean's explanation here. Since this picture was taken, my mom has taken custody of the nostalgia-mongering old soul, which is apparently older than all of us. Apparently, my mother felt she just couldn't bear to decide who would get it, as we all loved it so. One of us (who shall be nameless) subsequently suggested that we draw up a joint custody agreement!