Oklahoma City high school teacher Emma Smreker spends most of her weekends perusing used bookstores, posting old mementos she finds on her popular Instagram page, @inusedbooks. So when she found a photo strip tucked between the pages of one book, showing a man and a young girl making silly faces, she knew she had to find the pair and reunite them with the sweet memory.
“I immediately zoomed in on their faces,” Smreker told Inside Edition. “It broke my heart to think that this memory was lost and they didn’t have it anymore. And it just became my mission from that point on to see if I could try to reunite them with this photograph.”
Smreker went on a mission and posted the photo all over social media. There were several clues to work with, including a logo of a golf course in California on his shirt. But none of the leads panned out.
"I’ve had a lot of people tell me, ‘You know, I would have just given up. After a couple months, I would have just said, nah, OK, I’m not going to find them, that’s it.’ But I couldn’t. I just couldn’t let it go. Their faces were just in my brain.”
Smreker kept at it. Then, more than a year later, a TV station in San Antonio aired a segment about it, and the family in the photo happened to see it. The father-daughter, Tom and Sofia Meagher, took the photo 13 years ago at a pier while on vacation in Santa Cruz, California.
Little Sofia was only four at the time. “I had absolutely no idea that we had accidentally lost the photo,” Tom told Inside Edition.
Mom Maria began to use the photo strip as a bookmark and forgot it was still tucked inside when she sold the stack of books to a used bookstore. She reached out to Smreker on Instagram.
“My heart started racing,” Smreker said. “And she basically said, ‘This is insane, but that’s my husband and that’s my daughter.’ And they sent me the most adorable photos of them recreating the silly faces that they had in the photo strip, and I was blown away.