I was looking for a picture frame in our storage room and found a box labeled “family photos.” I couldn’t resist opening the box to see which photos were in there. I was surprised to find most of the formal portraits and Christmas pictures we’ve had taken through the 70s, 80s, and 90s while our kids lived at home.
The words “family picture” were not what our kids wanted to hear. It seemed like every time I wanted to take a family photo of a special event or a celebration, I had to listen to the kids’ gripes and groans before telling them that we were going to do it anyway. Period. When it was time to take the pictures, the kids put on their good sportsmanship faces and smiled for the camera. As a result, we have some nice family pictures that Ted and I (and maybe even the kids) enjoy looking at as we remember those times.
Get comfortable, because here come my favorite family photos from the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
Part 1: The pretty nice pictures
1970: Ted and I had our portrait taken at a department store photo studio. We’ve always liked the picture, but my parents insisted that it didn’t really look like us. ???
1974: Ted came home from work with the news that he would be attending a training in Washington, D.C. and ended that sentence with the suggestion that I join him after the training for a few days. Here we are at the Tidal Basin with the cherry blossoms in bloom–one of the most beautiful sights of the D.C. spring. We moved from D.C. to MO almost 49 years ago, but I still miss the spring flowers in D.C.
1978: This is one of my favorite pictures of our kids. I took it in the family room of our previous house.
1979: New house, new family picture. We took this picture during the first spring in the house where we still live.
1980: I think Ted and I set up a tripod and set the camera timer to take this picture in front of our fireplace.
1982: On a visit to see our parents, I took this picture of the kids climbing one of Grandpa Schroeder’s apple trees. Ok, so these weren’t their climbing positions. I asked them to crowd together for the picture.
1983: We took the following two pictures in Neenah, WI when we attended Russ and Betsy’s wedding. There was a playground in the churchyard (maybe a parochial school?), and it looked like a good setting for the 1983 Christmas pictures.
1988: I think I did a decent job of staging some of our home photos. It seems like a lot of professional photographers include a drapery and a plant, so I did the same.
1989: We went to Blanchette Park and let the kids pile on the Mazda RX-7. The weather and the fall colors made it a good picture. We felt a little bit naughty driving the car off the roadway and onto the grass to take the picture.
1990: The kids are growing up. We took our Christmas picture on the Lindenwood College campus in the summer because Jeff would be leaving for college in the fall. It looks like the dress code was white shorts.
1994: Ted’s and my 25th anniversary. We had a big party, bought corsages for ourselves (pink carnations, like our wedding flowers), and took pictures in “nice” clothes. When we changed into more comfortable clothes, we didn’t want to waste the corsages, so we pinned them on our T-shirts.
1994: This might be my #1 favorite set of two pictures. We went to Forest Park in St. Louis for the photo shoot. The family group looks very nice, but I especially like the picture of the kids.
1995: I have no idea where we took this picture, but it’s another of my favorite kids’ pictures–maybe my #2 favorite. Don’t the boys look cool with their sunglasses?
Part 2: The slightly “off” photos
1973: Here’s our first professional family photo with our first child, Jeff, and yes, that’s a maternity dress I’m wearing in anticipation of Kathy’s arrival. Oops! There’s baby drool on the shoulder of my dress.
1973: New baby, new family photo. This might be a church directory photo.
1974: The kids are a year older, so it’s time for an updated portrait. Oops! I wore the same dress and the same necklace as I did the year before.
1976: Thom was born, so an updated family photo was on the agenda. This was probably another department store studio photo. Neither Ted nor I remembers why he isn’t in the picture. Weird.
1988: The kids were especially cranky while I set up this picture–maybe because we’d already attended church and Sunday School and they wanted to change clothes and start making lunch. Still, they all smiled nicely. After we took the first picture below, I suggested we take a backwards shot to lighten the group’s mood. It actually worked!
1989: It’s Ted’s and my 20th anniversary, so we had one of the kids take our picture against our default outdoor background: the privet hedge. It was definitely the 80s: big glasses, big hair, and big shoulder pads.
1994: Another oops! picture. It’s our 25th anniversary and we’re wearing the same clothes we did five years ago, except that Ted put on a different tie and we added the corsages. What can I say? I obviously buy clothes I like and I get a lot of wear out of them before I get rid of them.
1993: Here’s another picture taken at Forest Park in a different year than those above. Jeff and Kathy were home for Thanksgiving break so, in spite of the cold and the snow, we had to get the Christmas picture taken. To keep our clothes dry while sitting on the snow, we brought white plastic trash bags with us. If you look closely, you can see the bags underneath the kids.
1994: Jeff, Kathy, and Thom were home from college for Christmas and I wanted a family picture while we were all together. In return for co-operation, I suggested a second photo in which we set our Santa hats to point upward for a touch of humor.
I had fun reviewing the box of family photos and I’m glad I didn’t let all those gripes and groans stop me from taking them.