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.