June 8, 2012

Vacation Pictures: Memories That Last a Lifetime

There is a closet in our upstairs hallway that began life as a linen closet. Shortly after moving into this house Betty picked it as the storage space for dozens of photo album that hold all of our pre-digital photos. Everything from our wedding to all our family events, holidays, vacations, and children's' achievements quickly crowded out all the extra sheets and blankets. For the most part they now reside under various beds and other pieces of furniture.

This "memory closet" holds the proof of our family's growth and many of our most important times together. As summer starts I thought it would be fun to grab a few photos, scan them in, and remember what happened when they were taken.

A very pregnant Betty and I are huddled around a morning fire at a lake in northern Utah. We had spent the night camping with friends Our second daughter will be born not too long after this picture was taken. That must mean we had an infant, just barely a year old somewhere nearby! We had owned a small Chinook pop up RV before moving to Utah from Iowa. But, with a baby and a dog it was too small.

Shortly afterward we relocated to Salt Lake City and tried tent camping again. The trip in this picture helped convince me that I am not a fan of tents, sleeping bags, and hard ground. I will finally try an RV again this September when we rent one for a 10 day trial. Not one to make rash decisions, it has taken me over 30 years to try again.

Roughly two years later, here is Dad and daughters, sitting on the sidewalk waiting for the evening parade at Disney World to begin. Because Betty's parents owned a few weeks at a time share near Sarasota, we spent a week or two every summer in Florida.

That necessitated multiple trips to the Magic Kingdom. This was the first and cemented a fascination with Cinderella and all things Disney in my girls at a very early age.

By the way, I think I finally got rid of that shirt a year ago.



In what the family considers one of our best vacation together, this shows Dad and his girls eating cotton candy on Mission Bay in San Diego. By now we lived in Arizona, so a summer escape to the ocean for some heat relief became a regular habit.

Those early trips to Southern California probably helped convince both girls to move to San Diego several years later. Luckily for mom and dad, both decided to return to Phoenix a few years ago.

In 1989 the first of several family trips to Hawaii happened. We fell in love with the islands and looked upon each trip as coming "home."

Two Christmas celebrations occurred in Lahaina, Maui. Betty brought a miniature tree and some tinsel. We sat in the hotel room, decorating the very small tree while singing Christmas carols.

Each time we made it a point to attend a Christmas Eve church service in a packed sanctuary. Most of the songs and some of the service were in native Hawaiian ...a beautiful language. We couldn't understand many of the words, but we certainly felt the love of everyone at those services. And, there is something very special about walking along the ocean on Christmas morning.
As the girls became older we became more adventurous. Horseback riding on
the slopes of Haleakala was a great experience, even for my middle-aged butt. The whole family took scuba-diving lessons at home and then flew to Kona on the Big island for our required open ocean dives. All four of us did get our "C" cards, certifying us as able to strap on a tank and dive anywhere in the world.

Still, our best times seemed to be having a simple picnic near Kula, upcountry Maui, ice cream and boat watching at the harbor in Lahaina, or driving to Hana to look at the incredible waterfalls and plants.


In 1998 the family explored the Pacific Northwest and fell in love all over again. The Oregon coast was like nothing we had ever seen before. 50 degree fog in July while in Newport was like heaven to us desert rats. Except for parts of Hawaii, Seattle was the greenest place the girls had ever seen. The water, the bridges, and parks captivated us. After a several hour boat cruise we landed in Victoria, B.C. and discovered another hidden gem. Butchart Gardens were breath-taking. More memories and more things to talk about at family gatherings.

Out of estimated 10,000 pictures in that closet I have picked just a handful. Each one vividly brings back that trip, those special times together, and how our lives have been blessed. Now, with both girls grown, one married, and grandkids knocking on the door, a whole new set of memories and the photos that capture them are filling our lives.

This time, they are stored on computer hard drives (and multiple backups). After all, the closet can't take any more pictures, but our satisfying retirement continues to unfold in ways that amaze and please us.

I hope this post has stirred some memories of your family and those times that you'll remember always. Please, share with us all, a trip you took that will live with you forever.

26 comments:

  1. Bob, our daughter enjoyed her first ice cream cone at Disney World, a helicopter ride in Maui, got beads breaded into her hair in Antigua, built her first snowman in Whistler BC and rode a horse on the beach in the Dominican Republic - just to name a few of the special memories you stirred in me this morning.

    In 2008 I scanned a lot of our old photos into the computer then uploaded them to Shutterfly. I now have a beautiful hard cover book of those wonderful memories. Something for Betty to consider in her spare time...

    Nice shirt by the way.

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    1. I LIKED that shirt, but even I was ready to admit it had seen better days.

      Betty and her spare time? That doesn't happen!

      BTW, Suzanna please contact me by e-mail. I'd like to have you and Malcolm be part of my next book project.

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  2. Love it! But who is the guy in the pictures with that dark full head of hair? :-)

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    1. I ask myself that every morning when I see the old guy staring back at me from the mirror. What I want to know is how do people like Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger keep full heads of dark hair at ages older than me...plugs and dye?

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  3. Great story of your life via old time photos. It looks like you did good as a father as well as husband. Congratulations on having such a loving family.

    I too have a closet of pre-digital pictures of about 8,000. A couple of years ago I took on the task of digitizing all of them! They now reside on the same HD with multiple backups.

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    1. We will have to do what Suzanne and you did. There is no way all those albums will fit in a condo when we move and downsize again in 5 or 6 years.

      How long did it take? Did you spend time editing and restoring them or just get them on hard drive?

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    2. I set it up as a four month winter project. The secret is to get a good scanner that you can load with multiple photos and it recognizes each as a separate picture. I used an Epson Perfection v30 ($60). I typically tackled about 100 at a time with 6 on each scan.
      Besides getting them all digitized it was quite a trip down memory lane. It was also strange to watch me bald spot grow over the years and then finally surrender!

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    3. I believe the Canon scanner software I have can recognize individual pictures as separate. With about 6 pix per page I can see the project as doable.

      Great....thanks, RJ.

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  4. Aren't memories great! We have so very many wonderful travel members as a family, starting with tent camping in our lean years, and ending with a family cruise to the Caribbean when things loosened up a bit, it would be hard to pick just one.

    Hmmm, OK, I'll go with our three week family road trip to Utah and Wyoming in 1996, when our daughters were 14 and 11. We went to the library the day before we left, where the girls loaded up on books to keep entertained during the long drive. I also gave each of them a list of all 50 states to check off as they spotted the appropriate license plates, and over the 21 day trip they ended up spotting every single one (Alaska was the last to be spotted if I recall correctly). We went white water rafting in Jackson, Wyoming, and almost lost our older daughter overboard, much to her delight. We searched for a source of water at lunchtime everyday that we traveled around Yellowstone so the girls could relax, get wet, and rejuvenate for the rest of our day. (Worked like a charm, by the way!!!)

    Our budget was tight back then, so I smuggled a ice chest, toaster oven and hot pot into our various hotel and motel rooms, and made most of our meals in the room. We splurged on a cowboy dinner show in Jackson, which along with the white water rafting became the two highlights of the trip. Well, along with taking a horseback ride in Yellowstone to attend a steak cookout, and strolling by two big bison in the process - that was pretty thrilling too!

    Sigh. Wonderful, wonderful memories.

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    1. Isn't it amazing how vivid and detailed memories like that can be? But, try to remember what you did two weeks ago!

      The license plate game was one my family played while I was growing up. We also found all the letters of the alphabet, in order, from billboards along the road sides.

      When Betty and I were at Yellowstone 2 years ago a bison ended up about 10 feet from Betty as she was snapping pictures of a distant herd. She never noticed the monster almost at her feet until she pulled the camera away from her eyes!

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    2. Hey Bob, I just realized we were sort of RV'ing even back then - cooking in our hotel room was a lot like what how we cook now in our trailer!

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  5. My children blew up family photos and used them in their dorm rooms sand first houses. I am careful to always print off a few from each event now that everything has gone digital.
    Favorite trip? Climbing down in the great pyramid, having a wild donkey shove his head in our car, seeing lava drop into the ocean, picking lychee near a Buddist temple, or having my dad visit us and dress up as a California Raisin. My absolute favorite memories were the trips from the hospital with a new baby in the back seat next to me.
    We were fortunate to take so many wonderful trips while we were in the military. All of those pictures are in a box in the basement.
    I guess I'd better start scanning!

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    1. Your dad dressed up like a California Raisin? That sounds like a post on your blog to me!

      I am duly impressed with your list of memory-makers. You may be ground level in Kansas now, but you have seen the world.

      Scanning is the way to go but I'll have to convince Betty that once pictures are scanned and backed up in several different locations we don't have to keep the actual photos. Otherwise, what's the point!

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  6. It's funny, and after your adventures sounds very boring, but we came to Ocean City, NJ for 2 wks. every summer no matter where we were living on the East Coast. With all the moving we did it became the constant in our lives and now we own a house there. The kids and grandkids love to come visit at the beach.

    I've spent lots of time scanning pics into the computer over the years so not too many albums left to go through. What I'm finding now is not having enough printed to put into frames. I like to update and rotate photos in frames. So I think I'm going to put some on a disc and have them printed out at CVS or someplace.

    You have a lovely family Bob!!
    b

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    1. Like your family, we went to the same time share on Siesta Key on the Gulf Coast of Florida for 20 years. We ended up buying the weeks from Betty's parents and added an extra week of our own. We have pictures of the kids from barely able to stay afloat all the way through Senior High School at the same pool at the resort. It is quite a time line. Eventually, we decided enough is enough and sold the three weeks. But, if you say Sea Club V (as in five) to anyone in our family, you'll release a lot of good memories.

      One solution is to load a bunch of digital photos in a digital frame that does a slideshow. Over time, you can easily swap out photo files.

      Thanks for the compliment, Barb.

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  7. Bob, you had a very wide variety of family vacations - thanks for sharing them with us! When I was in junior high-high school we would ALWAYS go to Port Aransas, Texas, on summer vacation. My mother was a divorced mother of 4 kids. She and her mother would load us all into the station wagon along with various beach accessories, food, and drink, and drive from East Texas to the beach. We stayed in the same little motel year after year, and we all had a blast. Our motel was within walking distance of the beach, and the Gulf is very shallow a long ways out, so we had lots of freedom and room to play. Of course, once I got into high school I tended to wander off and look for kids my own age LOL

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    1. That is the amazing thing about the Gulf. It was the same right in front of our place on Siesta Key. You could walk out seemingly forever and still only be to your chest. But, at one point, it dropped quite rapidly.

      Betty's parents took her to the same motel in Myrtle Beach year and year. Like you she was fine until she got older and wanted to be with friends and not mom and dad. It happens.

      Cari, please email me at satisfyingretirement(at)gmail.com. I'd like to talk with you about being included in my upcoming book.

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  8. Love the old photos of you and your family! Thanks for sharing them with us!

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    1. You are very welcome! Have a great weekend.

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  9. We have never been to Hawaii but our 3 kids went there on their honeymoon and loved it.
    This past winter I changed my VHS videos to dvds. My husband bought me the recorder for Christmas. It was fun to watch them. Though I admit that some I just set to record and left them. I still have lots of reel to reel videos to change but that is expensive. I also started to reduce my photo albums by only keeping some of each and putting them in new albums. I don't think I would ever look at them if they were in a hard drive. And like my sister says, who is going to look at them when we are gone?
    Can you look at my post on social security? I value your opinion. Thanks www.filledwithretirement.blogspot.com

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    1. After all the comments I do believe I will start a project to convert the albums to digital files. They can be easily seen again on newer TVs that have a thumb drive port or they can be burned onto DVDs.

      Beatriz, I'd be glad to look at your blog and make a comment or two, but there is no e-mail address on the site. If you'd like to send me an e-mail, I'd be glad to look at your site and give you some feedback.

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  10. Enjoyed the photos, but I bet you enjoyed them even more! You must have had a lot of fun going through photos and choosing a few for this post. Digital albums on a computer are just not the same as sitting down with an album in your lap and flipping through the pages.

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  11. Somewhere Betty found these gigantic albums. When full each ways around 10 pounds. Actually, watching them on the TV is easier on my back!

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  12. Must tell you, our daughter recently told me she always thinks of me as when I was 40 years old. She was nine or ten at that time. She also has a memory of me running with our family dog where she was amazed how powerful and fast an adult human could run -- and I, too, have the collaborative photos. It was delightful to know, even now, that she had been impressed

    ..

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    1. That's nice that she has such a powerful, positive image fixed in her mind. Most of us have a similar self-image that makes us younger and better-looking than reality. I know I am really only in my late 40's and have no thinning hair...until I look in the mirror!

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  13. So many of us have tons of old photographs stored in a closet, out of sight. I recently discovered a company, Classic Memories, that transforms all of your photographs into stunning DVD slideshows or photobooks.Yyou just send them your photos and they do the rest! My DVD slideshow turned out beautiful. I highly recommend them for preserving your memories and getting them out of the closet! Www.classicmemories.com/DVD-slideshows.html

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