I recently found a bunch of old photos that made me smile.

1965: The first one is the yearbook photo of the girls in my dorm in my sophomore year. I lived in a small scholarship dorm that was much less expensive than the regular dorms. In return for the deep housing discount, each resident was required to contribute about two hours of assigned weekly housekeeping work–assisting the cook (yes, singular) with meal prep, serving, or clean-up; cleaning a hallway or a common area; cleaning a communal bathroom; etc. Most of the chores were done by teams. It was a good deal for us, and this is where I met the friends I still get together with.

2003: Ted and I were scouting out places to take a family photo for the kids’ upcoming visit. Here’s Ted, posing with Lewis and Clark and their dog, Seaman.

2003: One of those fun-loving National Weather Service guys had time to photoshop Ted and Vince at a beach. They’re both wearing NWS shirts, so maybe it was supposed to be a working vacation.

Summer 2003: Ted and I went to Washington, D.C. The breadline memorial is one of the rooms in the FDR Memorial on the Mall. Ted decided to get in line.

Christmas 2004: I think Kathy gave Ted the Packers sweatshirt, cheesehead, and ball cap. I don’t know who gave Sky the baby-size sweatshirt. It looks like Grandpa is trying to mold a future Packers fan.

January 31, 2004: It’s New Year’s Eve, but the Weather Service staff is hard at work. Tom, Ted, and Vince took a midnight break for some New Year’s Eve champagne. Alcohol is not allowed in federal offices, so they made their toast in the middle of the dead-end street in front of the office, off the federal property.

2005: I have no idea what’s going on here or who took the picture, but it looks like Ted and I are having a great time in Florida on our spring break trip.

2007: Ted and I have entered one dance contest in our lifetimes: the twist contest at our niece, Cheryl’s, wedding. You probably think the first place winners are on the left, but you’re wrong; that man and woman are the third place winners. Ted and I won the first place trophies. As long as we never enter another dance contest, we’ll have a perfect winning streak.

2009: The bobcat in this photo was in our yard to dig our swimming pool. Ted’s dream car?

2012: My dream car in Little Rock, AR.

2014: Ted took this picture of me in Mt. Rainier NP on one of our visits with Thom.

Today is a day to celebrate our families. I usually post a single photo of my siblings and me to mark the day, but this year, I’ve decided to pay tribute to six generations of siblings in my family.

I only have one photo of a grandparent with siblings. My Grandma S. is on the right, standing beside her brother, Phil and her sister, Gladys. The seated lady is Grandma’s mother, my Great-grandma D.

Ted’s and my parents and their siblings are the next generation. It’s unfortunate that the only picture I have of Ted’s dad with his siblings was taken on a day that Paul was enjoying a home visit from the hospital. I always think of him in that chair, but never in a reclining position. His siblings are Cella, Bob, and John. The picture of Ted’s mother with her older sisters, Verna and Leona, was taken before her younger brother was born.

My dad is the blonde standing in the center back. His youngest brother, Ken, wasn’t born yet. The other siblings are Gerry, Arch, Lynn, and Bob. My mom is on the left of her siblings, Gibby, Shirley, and Ruth. Two of her brothers had already died when this photo was taken.

In generational order, Ted and I are next. The only picture I have of him with all of his siblings is the one below: Gary, Ted, Mutzie, and Dan. I’m eleven in the photo with my siblings. Left to right, it’s Russ, Tom, Steve, Denny, and me.

After Ted and me, our children are the next generation. We took this picture at the zoo in 1979.

Our kids have grown up, so now we have sibling grandchildren as well. On the left is a 2021 photo of Thom and Katie’s family: Julian, Sefton, and Hadley. The top right is Jeff and La’s family in 2010: Alex, Kyra, and Zack. Dean and Kari’s family is in the lower right in 2017: Sky, Dylan, and Teddy.

And the beat goes on. Our first great-grandchild, Alex and Kaitlyn’s son, just celebrated his first birthday. So far, he doesn’t have any siblings, but I’m including him here as the first member of his future sibling group. Here’s Ollie.

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 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, and they all lived through those horrific (sarcasm here) experiences. 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. It looks like I should have offset the plant behind Kathy so it wouldn’t look like she’s growing leaves, but this was the time of film, so we had to wait until the pictures were developed to see our mistakes.

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

1972: 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. Ted hasn’t changed his suit, shirt, or tie since last year.

1974: The kids are a year older, so it’s time for an updated portrait. If it worked for Ted, it should work for me. 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: Now 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? We obviously buy clothes we like and we get a lot of wear out of them before we 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.

We took a lot of pictures in 1982, and I posted some of them recently. Here are some others from that photo album that I thought were fun to look at.

One summer day, for no particular reason, Ted took a picture of me as I was sitting on the swing, relaxing on the patio. It turned out pretty nice. Ted gave me that necklace for Valentine’s Day one year.

We celebrated Christmas with our parents in 1982 and have some nice photos of them. Here are Ted’s parents.

I like this picture of my mom with our younger daughter. Mom is holding one of Kari’s many stuffed cats that needed to be included in the picture.

My dad looks pretty happy. This photo was taken in Mom and Dad’s living room. The pine cone wreath on the wall above Dad’s right shoulder was a gift from me one year when I made pine cone wreaths for us, for our parents, and for a few other people as Christmas gifts.

1982 was the year I decided I wanted a ceramic nativity set. I had never done any work with ceramics, but I knew I didn’t want to start with an ashtray or a mug–typical starter projects. I jumped into the deep end of the pool and bought three 15-piece nativity sets: one for us and one for each of our parents as Christmas gifts. I enjoyed making them and I finished all three sets with time to spare, but I’ve never worked with ceramics again.

Here’s my finished nativity. It’s sitting on a bookcase Ted and I bought for $50 the first year we were married. It moved with us three times and was gradually demoted from storing Ted’s and my books in the family room, to storing children’s books in the dining room (before we bought a dining room set), and then to the basement. We finally replaced it in 2012 after 43 years. (Note: I still put out this nativity set every Christmas. When Ted’s parents died, I was given their nativity set and I think I gave it to one of our kids.)

For several years, Thom’s dream was to drive a big rig. He knew everything about big trucks and he had a number of books about them. As we drove on highways, he would name the maker of the truck (Kenworth, Mack, White, Peterson, etc.) from behind by identifying the smokestack. A friend of ours, Mr. Siress, worked as an accountant at a trucking firm in St. Louis. He invited Thom to go with him to his workplace one day. Thom had a chance to sit in the cab of a big truck, and I think he was treated to a short ride around the lot as well. He pretty much floated on air for the following weeks. After the trucking experience, Mr. Siress took Thom to Lion’s Choice for lunch. From that day forward, Mr. Siress walked on water in Thom’s opinion. Here’s Thom, looking at a calendar with Mr. Siress. They’re probably admiring a big truck, judging by the calendar cover. The woman on the left is Mrs. Siress; the woman on the right is Mary M., a neighbor.

Ted turned 40 in 1982, so I planned a big party for him. A friend of mine made a bikini cake for the event. This is also the year I gave him the “Forecasters do it . . . ” shirt. That’s me on the left and Lindell T. on the right.

And that’s it for my selected scanned photos from 1982.

The weather was cool and rainy, so I decided it was a good time to go through another old photo album to pull some pictures of good memories. The year is 1982, when Ted’s parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Here is their wedding portrait and their anniversary photo. Look at that wedding veil! All that fabric on the floor is her veil, not the train of her dress. I knit the doily the pictures are standing on as a gift to Mom one year.

The celebration began with a dinner at the church. Dad was ill and hospitalized at the time of the anniversary party. He couldn’t be at the dinner with Mom, but her sisters sat beside her for the meal–Verna on the left (below) and Leona on the right.

After the dinner, Dad was released from the hospital for a few hours to be with the family at home. We took a few pictures while Dad was at home. Here is the anniversary couple.

I don’t have any pictures of Mom and Dad with their children–Ted and his siblings–or their grandchildren, but I do have photos of Mom and Dad with their siblings. Here’s Dad with his sister, Marcella; his brother, Bob (behind Cella); and his brother, John (right).

Of course, the next picture is Mom with her siblings: her brother, Clinton; and her sisters, Leona (center) and Verna (right), sitting beside her.

Just for fun, here’s a picture of the three girls, circa 1912. Left to right, it’s Mom, Verna, and Leona. Those are big hair bows. It looks like Verna and Leona have identical skirts, blouses, shoes, and hairstyles. All three girls have similar necklaces and Loella’s hair and clothes are similar, if not identical to her older sisters’. So pretty!

Returning to 1982, Mom’s wedding dress didn’t fit her after 50 years, but it fit Lisa, her granddaughter, so Lisa modeled it for us.

When we finished taking photos, there was visiting, cake, and more food for everyone. Two of the grandchildren admired the cake and were probably hoping to have a piece ASAP. That’s Kari (4) and Kathy (9).

During that same summer visit to Wisconsin, there was also some kind of celebration with my parents, but I can’t remember what it was. The only significant date in that time period was my mother’s 60th birthday, but we have no pictures of a cake or presents, so I don’t know if that was the special event or if it was just an opportunity for the entire family to be together. While we were all dressed up (after church?) we took pictures. The first photo below shows the entire family. Left to right are Tom and Jo; then Ted and me with our kids; Steve (still single) in the red shirt; Russ and Betsy (dating, but not engaged until six months later); Grandpa L; Bev with her children, Eric and Cheryl (her husband, my brother Denny, died 5 years earlier); and Mom and Dad.

We took a picture of Mom and Dad and a picture of them with their children (me and my siblings). Back in the days of film, we couldn’t check to see if my eyes were closed or if Steve was looking at the camera. Photos like this give us things to laugh about later.

Then we took individual photos of each of us kids. Ted had glasses with photochromic lenses that went from clear to dark in bright light, so he looks like he’s wearing sunglasses in all of our outdoor pictures during the time he had those glasses.

While we were all dressed up, someone (probably my dad) took a photo of Ted and me with our children. I sewed the girls’ matching Strawberry Shortcake dresses.

Grandma wanted a picture with her granddaughter, Kari. If the lilacs and the snowball bush were blooming, this is around Memorial Day.

After the photo shoot session, it was time to change into informal clothes and have some fun. My dad joined the sibling chorus line in the back yard. I assume my mom took the picture.

Then Grandpa took Tommy and Jeff to the mill pond and taught them how to fish.

It looks like June 1982 gave us a chance to be with all of our family members for some good times and good memories.

When I was in eighth grade, the University of Wisconsin played Southern California in the New Year’s Day Rose Bowl game. I don’t remember which team won, but that was when I decided that, when I went to college, I was going to attend UW in Madison so I could go to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl. Hahahahaha! UW had its worst football teams ever while I was in college. The University of Iowa was the bottom-ranked Big 10 team, and UW lost to them with a score of 51-0. We cheered for first downs as if they were touchdowns because first downs were about as good as the team got, and they didn’t happen that often. Even without a Rose Bowl holiday, UW was a good choice for me. Football weekends were great and I never had enough money to go to Pasadena anyway.

I paid for college with scholarships and grants–a good deal because I didn’t have big student loans to repay. Ted’s college education was covered by the GI Bill, so he didn’t have big college loans either. I needed to work 10-15 hours/week during the school year and full time in the summers to avoid loans, so I did. During the summer between my sophomore and junior years, I worked two jobs–40-hours/week at the university library and 20 hours/week as a Kroger checker.

During the school year, I qualified for work/study jobs, which were partially funded by the federal government and paid more than minimum wage. Minimum wage was $1.25/hour; work/study paid $1.50/hour–20 percent more. Unless you were a boy, that is; then the pay was even better. My first work/study job was in a campus administration office as a “typist.” This job was very educational because it introduced me to unfair salary practices for men and women. Example: There were also three or four male students working in that office, but they were “draftsmen.” I did a little typing, but I never saw any of the men drafting. The reality was that we all stuffed envelopes for mailers regarding meetings and conferences on campus. I stuffed much faster than the men (I can show you the trick of rapid stuffing because I still do it with our Christmas cards), but the men made $2.25/hour–80 percent above minimum wage. Is it any wonder that the next episode in an historic series of women’s rights movements was ramping up during my college years?

In the spring semester of my freshman year, I was invited by the UW history department to be one of twenty students attending a six-week seminar at Smith College (one of the elite Seven Sisters schools) in Northampton, MA with all expenses paid. I have no idea how I was selected because I hadn’t even taken a history course, but it was a fun summer. I needed a job for the other six weeks, so the Financial Aid office found a work/study opening at the Old Wade House in Greenbush, WI, not far from my parents’ home. The job allowed me to work before and after the six weeks at Smith. That was a sweet deal!

The Old Wade House was essentially a hotel/restaurant in the days of traveling by horse. It was located halfway between Sheboygan and Fond du Lac–the distance a horse could travel in a day. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places. I was a tour guide and have tales to tell about the visitors. During slow times, another work/study student and I had time to goof off. One day we took pictures of each other, just for the fun of it. Here I am in my tour guide dress. It won’t surprise you to know that my mom made this dress and another one for me to alternate on my work days. It’s hard to see, but I’m touching the hand of a male mannequin as if I’m flirting with him.

Colleen, my best friend, attended Cardinal Ritter College in Milwaukee, but didn’t like it because it was an all-girls school. During her junior year, she convinced her parents to let her transfer to UW Madison. Her dorm was near mine and we frequently spent time together. Our favorite times were when her mom would make a batch of turtles (big ones with four pecan “legs” and a pecan “head.” When one of those boxes would arrive, Colleen would call me and say, “I’ve got turtles. Want to come over?” You bet! In this photo, we were on a double date going to a fraternity theme party. That’s not my dress, sweater, or scarf. I think the sweater was Susan’s (a dorm mate), but I don’t remember the rest. It looks like we were having a good time.

You do crazy things in college and spend the rest of your life saying, “It was college, for heaven’s sake!” Why would we decide to smear our faces with toothpaste, wear our shower caps as if they were high fashion fascinator hats, put on dress heels and flats with our bathrobes, and get someone to take our picture? Crazy, but fun. That’s me on the left, then Eileen, Becky, and Susan.

I loved my college years, but my senior year was the most fun of all. I shared a house in the summer with three former dorm mates. In the fall, we moved to a bigger house and added another dorm mate plus a friend of Eileen’s. The six of us had a ball and we still keep in touch and get together. Here we are at Christmas. Barb isn’t in the picture because she got married on December 21. We all kidded her about it being the longest night of the year. It looks like we had a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, but I remember we had a ball decorating it. Left to right, it’s Leila, Carol, Eileen and Lin. I took the picture.

The late 1960s were a politically active time on American college campuses. UC Berkeley and UW Madison were among the most active, with regular protests against the Vietnam War, including protests against Dow Chemical Company, which produced agent orange, a carcinogenic defoliant used in the jungles of Vietnam. In February 1969, there was a campus protest against Dow, and I guess it was expected to be unusually violent (by 1960s standards, not by today’s protest standards). I didn’t want to go to jail or get beat up, so I didn’t participate in protests. I attended my early morning class and was shocked when I left the classroom and saw National Guard troops with rifles standing in every hallway. I’d never been that close to a soldier with his gun ready to use and I was frightened.

On the way to my next class, this is what I saw–more armed National Guardsmen standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the southern boundary of the campus. After class, I headed home for lunch. I had to cross University Avenue to get home to the house I shared with the other five women. By that time, the four-lane street had been closed to traffic and there wasn’t a car in sight. The guardsmen were more scattered, standing farther apart. With no traffic, I assumed the guardsman at the corner would be happy to see a non-threatening person (me) leaving the campus and carrying nothing but books. Wrong! As I stepped off the curb, the guardsman stepped directly in front of me, raised his rifle with a bayonet attached to it, and pointed it at me only a few feet from my chest. “Get back on the sidewalk!” he shouted. “I’m only going home for lunch,” I squeaked. He looked both ways (no cars in sight) and said, “Then wait for the light.” So I stood there on the sidewalk and he stood there at the curb with his bayonet pointed at me until the “Walk” light came on. Then I legally crossed the empty, deserted street and went home for lunch. I think I skipped my afternoon classes, or maybe I didn’t have any that day.

Time moved on, things calmed down, and June 10, graduation day arrived. My parents and brothers and my Grandpa L. came to watch me graduate, and so did Ted, who was working at the Weather Service Forecast Office (WSFO) in Washington, D.C. at the time. Here are three of my four brothers at my graduation–Denny, Russ, and Steve.

There were thousands of graduates and it was quite an efficient, if meaningless, operation. We were called by schools, so I walked with the School of Education students. You knew it was your turn when you heard “School of Education” on the loudspeaker. No individual names were called, and that was a good thing with so many graduates. The line never stopped moving. We walked toward the stage in a random group, received a quick handshake from everyone along the way (don’t stop or pause as you pass), and returned to our seats carrying an empty red faux leather folder for the diplomas that were mailed to us later. The picture of the graduation ceremony (below) was taken by my mom. Graduates (in black) are seated in the lower rows of the stands. I have no idea where I am in the crowd and maybe Mom didn’t either. I assume she timed the shot to at least show the School of Education graduates with our light blue tassels.

Graduation was held in Camp Randall, the UW football stadium. You can see the field and some of the stands on the other side in the picture below. As I mentioned earlier, football weekends were fun times. Students could buy season tickets for a pretty low price, and it seemed like everyone turned out for the games. I don’t think it was about winning or losing; it was about going somewhere that was a lot of fun and only incidentally watching UW lose the game. Seniors and grad students got the best tickets, so when I went to a game with Ted in my senior year, we sat near the front of the stands on the 40-yard line. As a freshman, I was at least two-thirds of the way up on the bottom level and probably on the far side of the 30-yard line. I remember having to look away to the left to see the cheerleaders. Camp Randall seated 70,000 people and was sold out for every home game. In contrast, Lambeau Field, where the Green Bay Packers play, only seated and sold out 55,000 seats at that time. Yes, football weekends were great!

Grandpa wanted a picture with me in my graduation regalia. Our six-woman fun house porch and steps are on the right. Can you believe Grandpa and my dad wore suits to a June graduation where they had to sit in the sun on bleachers?! So did the other adult men in the pictures above. Dress codes for graduation ceremonies have certainly changed over the years.

Four days after my college graduation, Ted and I were married and headed for Washington, D.C. where we were going to live. This is our first Christmas tree. It looks normal, although a little wide, but it was so full and so crooked that we couldn’t get it to stand up in any way that resembled straight. We settled for hiding a kitchen chair in the corner behind the tree, weighting the chair with lots of Ted’s Encyclopedia Britanica volumes, and tying the tree to the back of the chair. You can’t see the chair through that thick Christmas tree, but you can see my sewing machine cabinet on the right. I bought it used during my freshman year in college and I still use it. The picture on the wall was my first gift from Ted. It’s a watercolor of Lombard Street that he bought while he was in San Francisco the summer we met.

Ted and I learned our lesson. When we moved to a larger (two-bedroom) apartment, we bought an artificial tree for our third Christmas. It stood nice and straight. By this time, we had accumulated some furniture. Pole lamps were in style, so we had one of those. The picture on the wall is one that Ted bought when he was on R&R in Japan during his Army service in Korea. We bought the black and white TV to watch Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon. When we bought it, I said to the salesman, “Doesn’t it even come with a stand?” He went into a back room, came out with a stand, and gave it to us for nothing. The drapes cover an entire wall where we had sliding doors to a balcony. I made the drapes on my sewing machine, sitting at the sewing cabinet in the previous picture.

This was the time of data punch cards and everyone with access to discarded cards was making Christmas wreaths out of them. I worked at the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau was tabulating the decennial census by computer for the first time ever. Did I have access to used punch cards? More than you can imagine. Here’s my punch card wreath, sprayed with silver paint, decorated with sparkles, and highlighted with a sprig of artificial greenery in the center. Very vogue in the early ’70s.

When we got married, Ted was driving a 10-year-old Pontiac Bonneville tank he bought when he was discharged from the Army. The heater didn’t work, so we had to cover our legs with a blanket in the winter. In Spring 1971, we bought an Opel Sport Coupe with the big engine–2.2 liters. The small model had only a 2.0 liter engine. That extra 0.2 liters made a difference, right? The car cost $2,200 and it was awesome! In all the time we had it, it only needed one major repair. The head gasket blew off when the car was 14 years old and it was a $400 repair. We debated whether or not the car was worth the money, but since it hadn’t cost us more than regular maintenance (oil, filters, tires, etc.) for 14 years, we fixed it and drove it for three more years. By that time, the brakes were failing and the clutch was so worn out, you had to start the car in second gear. Ted and I could manage that, but Jeff was 16 by then and he was learning to drive. We didn’t think it was a safe car for a 16-year-old to use, so we replaced it with a used Nissan Stanza. We never saw many Opels in the U.S. but we lost count of how many we saw in Germany when we were there.

A little over a year later, it was time to buy a car seat for the Opel. I was pregnant with Jeff and wanted a rocking chair to rock the baby. We bought this chair at “the world’s most unusual lumberyard” where they sold more than raw lumber. It was unfinished, so I stained and varnished it The stain and varnish cans are sitting on the floor. On the right, you can see the bookcase that held the encyclopedias we used to hold our first Christmas tree upright. When the varnish on the chair was dry and the chair was ready to use, I made a seat cushion and a back cushion for it (with my sewing machine at the sewing cabinet, of course). I rocked all four kids in this chair and it’s still in excellent condition in our upstairs library.

I think that’s all the photo history I have of myself–elementary school, high school, college, and marrying Ted. The next phase of Ted’s and my lives is raising our children. Good times, all the time.

I’ve had three photo albums sitting on my desk for months, waiting for me to go through them to scan some more photos. The first album has photos of me from my parents’ albums. The second album includes photos I took when I got my first camera–a hand-me-down Kodak Brownie Reflex from my mom when she bought a new camera for herself. The third album has Kodak Instamatic 110 mm pictures beginning with my college years and ending when Ted and I were first married–four days after my college graduation.

Let’s start at the beginning. Like David Copperfield, I am born. Here I am at one month old. What a cute baby!

Ted and I obviously had similar interests in our first year of life, even though we didn’t meet until 20+ years later. Bringing the baby’s high chair outside for the picnic must have been the thing to do in those days. Ted is on the left; I’m on the right, several years later. The difference: my family actually gave me food!

Here’s how I took a bath when I was a baby. I remember the “bath table” from when my younger brothers used it. When the cover was down, it was a changing table. See all the diapers below the basket? It also has handy pockets on the front for diaper pins, baby’s hair brush, etc. With the top up, Mom could put water in the basket, bathe the baby, then open a plug and drain the water through an attached hose. It seems more complicated than bathing the baby in the kitchen sink, but nobody asked me for a better idea at the time.

I remember people telling me I was “Daddy’s girl,” but I never really thought I got special treatment for being the girl. Maybe my four younger brothers would disagree. I don’t know–I’ve never asked them. I always thought I had it tough because I was the oldest and my younger siblings seemed to get away with a lot of things I didn’t as my parents eased up on some of the rules.

When my oldest brother, Denny, was born, I stayed at Grandma’s house while Mom was in the hospital. Mom’s younger sisters, Shirley and Ruth, still lived at home. They played with me and hung a swing for me from Grandma’s washline posts. Here I’m on the phone, talking to Mom about my new baby brother. Grandma lived in the city and already had a telephone with a dial. It was several more years before we got a telephone with a crank out in the country.

My mom–like everyone else–had a wringer washing machine when I was little. I used to “catch” the clothes as she ran them through the wringer. On my third birthday, I reached too close and my left hand got caught in the wringer. You can see the merchurochrome on my hand. That was the year I got a tricycle for my birthday.

From the time I started first grade, I’ve always loved school. I learned not to flaunt my love of learning when, during the summer before second grade, I mentioned to my friends that I couldn’t wait for school to start again. They were aghast! None of them liked school and they made fun of me for saying I did. I think I was about eight years old when I first heard someone talking about getting a doctoral degree. “Wow!” I thought. “You can keep going to school that long?” That’s when I decided I’d like a doctorate. Receiving my doctorate and being hooded by Dr. Henschke was a high point in my life. My love for school might have started when I was at least four years old. Here I am at my Aunt Ruth’s high school graduation and already practicing for my own graduation day(s).

I think I was four when this picture was taken. I’m sitting with my two grandpas.

When I was five years old, I was the flower girl in my Aunt Shirley’s wedding. My Aunt Ruth was the maid of honor. Here we are before leaving for the church. I still wonder why Aunt Shirley picked lavender for Aunt Ruth’s dress and light green for mine. Really?? Purple and green??

My elementary school had about 50 students in eight grades. Ted’s was smaller, with about 20 students–6 of whom were his siblings and cousins. Ted’s was a true one-room schoolhouse, so I tease him that I went to school in town (population: 200) where we had two–and later, three–classrooms. On your birthday, it was the general rule to invite all the girls in your classroom (i.e., half the girls in the school) to your party. I was in 5th grade here, so these are the girls from the fifth through eighth grade room. Only Colleen (dark hair, lower left corner) and Mary Beth (behind Colleen on the left side, back row) didn’t go to my school. They went to parochial schools. Colleen’s mother and my mother grew up together and were best friends, then were pregnant with Colleen and me at the same time. Colleen and I have always said we were friends before we were born. Mary Beth was in my Sunday School class.

I’m in the center front row beside Loita, a Mexican girl whose family were migrant workers. Loita taught me my first Spanish sentence: Mi casa es blanca–My house is white. Her older brother, Onesimo, was 16 years old and in the eighth grade. I don’t know what happened to Loita, but Onesimo became a Wisconson Supreme Court judge.

As I look at this picture, I could probably tell a story about every one of the girls, but I won’t.

It’s summer and I’m going on a picnic with the other three girls in my fifth grade class. I’m on the left and then it’s Ruth, Judy, and Lynn. Fashions have certainly changed! Those halter tops are a thing of the past, and that’s probably a good thing. Look at our footwear! Not flip-flops or sandals, but leather buckle shoes or Keds with socks. We didn’t have a city park in my little town, so “going on a picnic” meant taking our bikes and riding to some farmer’s field, spreading a blanket on the ground, and eating our lunch. Look for cow-pies before spreading the blanket! It looks like it was my turn to bring the blanket.

Kids were eligible to join 4-H when they were ten years old, so I did, and so did all my ten-year-old friends. We had a boys’ 4-H club (the Handy Helpers) and a girls’ club (the Wide Awakes). I was named the Outstanding 10-Year-Old Girl in the county that year, based on the activities I described in my 4-H Record Book, which I still have. That’s the Outstanding 10-Year-Old Boy beside me and the two older honorees are the Key Award winners. You had to be 15 to be eligible for the Key Award. This picture was printed in the local newspaper.

This was the time when poodle skirts were in style. A poodle skirt was made of a full circle of felt fabric with a poodle appliqué on it. If you spun around, your skirt would flare straight out. A hem would have turned downward, so felt had to be used because it’s a pressed fabric and doesn’t ravel. My mom was an expert and superior seamstress. When I was growing up, you could sew a very nice garment for about one-third the cost of purchasing it, so a lot of women in our town brought patterns and fabric to my mom and she sewed clothing for them. She also sewed one-of-a-kind garments that a friend of hers marketed to a high-end clothing boutique in Chicago. Anyway, Mom made my “poodle” skirt. Unfortunately, I think the pattern included a design for a horse appliqué instead of a poodle, but I never minded. It was the concept that counted: full-circle, felt, and appliqué.

Here I am on my tenth birthday. I loved the skirt I’m wearing. It was a full skirt and made out of taffeta, so it swished when I walked. Awesome! Hey, kids, do you recognize the cake? Yes, that’s the well-known Vienna Torte my mom always made for my birthday and for my brother Tom’s birthday because we both liked it so much. I’ll be making it again for my birthday this year–as always. Check out the kitchen décor–curtains, stand mixmaster, woodcut trim above the sink and–ta-da!–one of the two automatic dishwashers in our town (the white appliance behind me with a flat top that lifted to load the dishes). The wooden kitchen chairs pre-date the faux-marble Formica top tables with chrome trim and legs, complete with matching chrome and vinyl chairs. We had one of those kitchen sets later on.

My mom was the oldest and my Aunt Shirley and Aunt Ruth were the youngest of six siblings. That made my aunts old enough to go to proms and formals when I was young/old enough to play “dress-up” with their used party dresses. It was one of the things my friend Nina and I liked to do. After we were all dressed up, we would walk a block to the local grocery store and buy some candy for a penny or a popsicle for a nickel. We just knew everyone who saw us would admire our fancy dresses. You can do that kind of thing in a small town.

In fifth grade, we must have studied American history because we had to dress as our favorite historic character. I remember Kathy had to do the same thing when she studied Missouri history. Kathy dressed as Laura Ingalls Wilder. Do you recognize my character? That would be Sacajawea. I think one of my brothers had the bow and arrow set. My “dress” was made out of a burlap potato sack (washed, of course) and decorated with painted macaroni and spaghetti noodles. I doubt that Sacajawea was blonde or ever wore burlap and noodles, but it made sense at the time. I still remember how scratchy it was.

Like me, my mom was usually the one who took the pictures, so I don’t have many of the two of us together, but here’s one. Naturally, we’re both wearing dresses that Mom sewed.

Remember how I said I went to a small school? Here’s a school picture of the sixth, seventh, and eighth graders when I was in sixth grade. I just showed this picture to Ted and said, “Can you believe this is three grades of kids?” He scoffed and told me that, when he was in sixth grade, his school had only seven kids in those three grades. Yes, Ted, but I went to the big school in town.

Here I am in my eighth grade confirmation dress and heels, holding my new hymnal–the traditional confirmation gift. My dress is my favorite shade of blue–made by Mom. Confirmation was always on Palm Sunday in those days. This might have been examination day, the week before confirmation. On examination day, members of the confirmation class had to answer random questions from the pastor about what we learned in catechism classes about the Bible and church doctrine while the rest of the congregation watched and listened. It felt like high stress, but I don’t remember anyone ever flunking examination Sunday and being turned down for church membership. Transitioning from eighth grade to high school used to mark the age when a girl changed from bobby socks to stockings (cf Frankie Avalon) and from flats to high heels. I remember when Kathy modeled her confirmation dress and heels, Thom (nine years old at the time) said in awe, “Kathy looks like a lady!” That age is certainly when you begin to move from childhood to adulthood.

This is surely confirmation Sunday, because I’m in a white robe and I have a pink carnation corsage. We’ve got all the obligatory poses. First, with my parents, . . .

. . . and then with my grandparents. That’s G & G S. on the left and G & G L. on the right.

Last, but not least, we have me with my sponsors (godparents), Aunt Jerry and Uncle Gibby.

After confirmation, the next big highlight is eighth grade graduation. Here’s my seven-member eighth grade class, the largest class to graduate from my school at that time. Our official photographers were our mothers. The teacher was Mrs. Genzmer. In all of my school career–elementary school, high school, bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees, and a doctorate–I have been fortunate to study with four teachers who could easily be named the National Educator of the Year every year. They exemplified what it means to be a teacher, and they were: Mrs. Genzmer (elementary school); Mr. Meyers (high school physics and advanced math); Dr. Zeni (masters program, English); and Dr. Henschke (doctoral program, adult education).

The last photo from these two albums shows me in my junior-senior prom dress just before my high school graduation. Naturally, Mom sewed my dress. I went to the prom with David, my steady boyfriend at the time. We thought we’d get married, but we broke up at the end of the summer. Ahh, young love.

Next time: The College Years

Ted brought me another batch of old family photos. Some pictures had information on the back identifying the people, the date, and the activity. Ted did his best to identify people and guess at dates for the others. If any of my readers can contribute better information, please let me know. The photos and memories below are in chronological order, to the best of Ted’s knowledge.

This is one of only two pictures we have of Ted’s mom as a child. The picture noted that it was taken at the farmhouse in June 1918, when she was ten years old. Check out the water pump. Ted thinks the pump was removed and capped when he was in high school.

This is Grandpa Theodore, for whom Ted is named. It was his farm where Ted’s mom grew up, where Ted’s dad was the hired hand before marrying Ted’s mom, and where Ted and his siblings grew up. Ted’s mom lived in this house her entire life until after his dad died. Grandpa Theodore had a heart attack and died in the barn when Ted was six years old. For a long time after that, Ted said he was afraid to go into the barn.

This photo specifies that it was taken on February 23, 1930. The lady is Ted’s mom and we think the man must be her fiancé, Gerhart, who died in a motorcycle accident two weeks before their wedding. Ted thinks Gerhart has a suitcase because he’s going somewhere. (Duh!)

The information on the back of this picture said it was taken at the Port Wellar Bridge in Wellar, Ontario on August 13, 1930. Ted identified the people (L>R) as Loella, her sister Leona, and her brother Clinton. We think this picture was probably taken on the trip Loella took to Niagara Falls with Louis and Leona, her sister and brother-in-law, and that Clinton was also invited to come along.

This picture of Paul and Loella was taken at the farm on July 26, 1931. They were 23 and 24 years old at that time.

Loella always had a big garden. She told me once that “the farmer takes care of the land and the farmer’s wife takes care of the garden.” She froze and canned a lot of food every year. She was still gardening and “putting up” food through her 70s. We are guess-timating this picture was taken around 1931.

Snow! There was no information on the back of this picture, but we think the people are Loella and a man. Her dad? Ted’s dad? We have no idea. We’re going with 1936 because my mom repeatedly told me stories of how much snow there was in the winter of 1936.

Introducing Baby Teddy. Maybe the family was having a “fry-out” (as we called it in Wisconsin), so they brought Teddy’s high chair outside. This is probably the summer of 1943 because it doesn’t look like Ted is wearing walking shoes yet.

It looks like Baby Teddy is happy to ride his tricycle and to help his mom with the laundry.

Here’s Ted holding one of the barn cats. He thinks he might be seven or eight years old.

When Ted was ten years old, he joined the local Busy Bees 4-H Club. One of his club projects was to raise a calf. He showed this calf at the county fair.

This is Ted’s sixth grade picture.

Ted’s dad often attended agricultural classes at the University of Wisconsin Extension Center. Here’s a picture of him (center back) and his classmates one year. Ted’s best guess is mid-1950s. We suspect the man on the right was the teacher, trying to look as if he just handed the certificate to the man beside him.

Every year, the high school FFA Club (Future Farmers of America) selected a local Farmer of the Year. One year (maybe late 1950s?), Ted’s dad received the honor and his picture was printed in the local newspaper. The picture was taken in front of the corncrib on his farm.

This is Ted’s high school graduation photo.

After high school, Ted wasn’t sure which career path he wanted to follow. There was a draft at the time, so he decided to meet his obligation to Uncle Sam for three years and give himself time to think about his future. In the early 1960s, lots of U.S. soldiers were being sent to Germany (including Elvis), but Ted got unlucky and was sent to South Korea. One of his buddies took this picture of Ted washing his feet in a mountain stream in 1962. The picture says “The water was real cold and really felt good in the terrific heat.”

Note: Ted did find a career path in the Army. One of his duties in South Korea was to launch weather balloons. The balloons sent radio signals with information about the upper level winds so that if it became necessary to launch an Honest John missile at North Korea, the missile launchers could adjust their aim as needed. Fortunately, there was no need to launch a missile while Ted was serving in South Korea. As a result of his weather-related duties, however, Ted later attended the University of Wisconsin and graduated with a degree in meteorology, then became a forecaster for the National Weather Service.

After serving 13 months in South Korea, Ted’s next assignment was at Fort Benning, GA. One of his duties on base was to serve as the chaplain’s assistant. The picture notes that Chaplain Kelly took this picture Ted sent home. The back of the picture also informs his parents that he bought a tripod with the money they sent him and that he was looking forward to using it.

Ted also served in the Color Guard at Fort Benning. Here he is in his uniform. All he needs is a flag. It’s 1963, and he’s almost ready to be discharged from the U.S. Army.

Meanwhile, on the home front, here are Ted’s grandparents (Paul’s parents, Elizabeth and John) with Ted’s nieces, Lisa (the younger one) and Cindy.

There is no information on the back of this picture, but we both think it was taken in 1972 during the weekend celebration of Paul and Loella’s 40th wedding anniversary. Check out the men in the family: (L>R) Dan, Ted, Paul, and Gary. Note that they all have the same nose and they all have their right leg crossed over the left. I have another picture of them somewhere. They are standing together outside in the family stance: they are all roughly the same height and they all have their legs spread the same way and their left arm crossed over the right arm. It must be bred into them!

The last picture we have in this pile of old photos celebrates a happy time. It’s cherry-picking time in Door County in 1983. From left to right, that’s Helen, Cella, and Loella. Those are some fantastic-looking cherries! And look how much fruit the tree is bearing! My guess is they started on the right where the tree branches look more bare and filled those four buckets without even going to another tree. Good times!

P.S. Is that car on the left a woodie?

While I sorted through pictures of my family last spring, I told Ted he should sort through photos of his family. My sorting system was based on (1) pictures I liked in (2) chronological order. Ted’s classification system was more detailed and was based on photos by (I assume) the main character in the photo. He had a separate pile for each person.

Today, I picked out an envelope of Ted’s photos of his parents to share on this blog, and they struck me as a love story. My photo love story begins with young Paul. Here he is, working at his job on a freighter on the Great Lakes. The “M” on his sweater is for Milwaukee Teachers College, where he was a history education major.

Here’s another picture of Paul on a Great Lakes freighter. I’m thinking there was some real work to be done, so he ditched the fancy BMOC college sweater and put on his working clothes.

While Paul sailed the Great Lakes, a young woman named Loella traveled to Niagara Falls with her sister and brother-in-law, Louis and Leona.

Loella liked this new coat so much, she had her picture taken in it.

This picture was taken when Loella became engaged to marry Gerhard. Two weeks before the wedding, Gerhard died. He was riding his motorcycle and was hit by a car.

Paul was the hired man on Loella’s father’s farm. Here’s Paul at the farmhouse. I’m not sure what he’s holding, but he looks proud of it. An award or trophy of some kind?

Paul and Loella fell in love and were married. Ted identified (to the best of his knowledge) most of the people in this wedding day photo. Left to right for the adults, we have: Theodore and Clara, Loella’s parents; an unknown man and woman; John, Paul’s brother and best man; John’s wife, Helen; Paul, the groom; Marcella, Paul’s sister and a bridesmaid; Loella, the bride; two more unknown people; Dorothy, a cousin of Loella and the maid of honor; Grace, a cousin of Loella; Bob, a brother of Paul’s; and Elizabeth and John (face not included in the photo), Paul’s parents. Ted recognized two of his cousins among the children. Myron is on the left in the front row and Jeanette is the third from the left in the back row of children.

Here we have the wedding party. Left to right are Dorothy, the maid of honor; John, the best man; Paul and Loella, the bride and groom, and Marcella, a bridesmaid.

Paul and Loella visited Keshena Falls, WI on their honeymoon. Keshena is about 45 miles northwest of Green Bay. I assume Paul was the photographer for this picture of his new wife.

Time moved on, and Paul and Loella had a family. Left to right are Mutzie (Ted’s sister), Gene (a cousin), Dan (Ted’s brother), and Karen (a cousin). The baby in the front row is little Teddy when he was seven months old.

This family picture was taken at Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Manitowoc, WI. Ted looks like he’s between one and two years old.

Jumping far into the future, this photo is the most recent one Ted has of himself with all three of his siblings. Left to right are Gary, Ted, Mutzie, and Dan. Their families include 8 children, 14 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren. In addition, Ted and I are expecting a great-grandchild in March and a grandchild in June. The beat goes on, and so does the love story.

I found some more old photos while I was looking for something else. I always enjoy looking at old pictures and remembering the good times they bring to mind.

Some of our visits to Thom’s house included helping him with home projects. In August 2006, we helped him tear out the overgrowth along his back yard fence. There was a lot of it and the yard looked noticeably larger when we finished. Things were going well, so Thom decided to take advantage of the extra help to dismantle some structures he didn’t like in his back yard. There was a good-sized pile of scrap lumber when we finished.

When we visited Thom in March 2008, he needed help lifting, holding, and nailing drywall to his bedroom ceiling.

In July 2006 and August 2008, we went to Houston for family reunions at Steve and Joan’s house. Who knows how goofy stuff gets started? During the reunions, we posed a “directional” picture at every place we visited. On July 2006, we were all on the same page about which way to go for our sightseeing. That’s (L > R) Ben, Phil, Russ, Steve, Todd (you can see a little bit of his hair, his orange shirt, and his black shoes), Matt, and Ted.

By August 2008, we were older and apparently more confused. This time it’s Ted, Carrie, Eric, Steve, and Todd. This might be inside the Houston Space Center main building. It was obviously time for a refreshing beverage.

Ted and I were excited to have grandchildren. Here is our first family group photo with our four children and almost all of our grandchildren. Julian didn’t come along with Thom this time.

We had a larger family in December 2005 when I graduated with my doctoral degree. This isn’t a digital picture (although we bought a digital camera in 2003), so we didn’t know until the film was developed that Annette is only partially present (left).

Going back in time, this is a photo of Ted and me going to a homecoming activity in October 1968. We had already purchased my engagement ring and our wedding rings, but hadn’t told anyone that we would soon be officially engaged. We’ve always counted it as our engagement picture.

Good times. Good memories.

Ted and I started today’s bike ride on the Busch Greenway approach to the Katy Trail, then followed the Katy for less than a mile before going up the ramp to the bike lane on I-64 to cross the Missouri River. On the St. Louis County side of the river, we entered the Monarch Chesterfield Levee Trail, a portion of the Missouri River Greenway system.

It was a beautiful fall day for biking.

The levee views were kind of blah, since most of the crops are harvested, and the trees have not yet reached their peak colors. Even so, it was nice to ride along the top of the levee for 23 miles.

Almost immediately after entering the trail, we were surprised to see a small cemetery alongside the bike path

The headstones were engraved in German. This woman’s age was even given in months–89 years and 2 months.

These two markers were the epitome of simple.

We joined the levee trail near the middle of its length. Eventually, the trail will make a ring around 1,200+ acres and we’ll be able to bike in a circle. For now, we biked along the arm to the right, then back to cover the other arm, and then back to the Katy trailhead in the center. At one end of the levee trail, we saw a scenic barn and windmill. The windmill is on the right side of the barn. It doesn’t show well from this angle.

About halfway down the other arm we stopped at a rest stop. It looks like it’s supposed to provide some shade, but it didn’t. The high temperature today was 87 degrees, so a little shade would have been nice.

When I saw this tree, I couldn’t help thinking that it’s begging for someone to kick a ball through it and yell “Score!”

This bike ride was a bit of a “remember when” ride. The Monarch Levee was one of 1,000 levees that failed during the Great Flood of 1993. Its failure resulted in 15-20 feet of water covering the Chesterfield Valley and making US 40 (now I-64) impassable through the Valley for months. Note: At one point in 1993, Missouri was “a state divided.” The Missouri River runs across the state and every bridge crossing was flooded except the I-70 bridge in St. Louis County and a bridge in Kansas City. It was literally impossible to cross the Missouri River to travel north and south across the entire state except near the Kansas and Illinois state lines.

After 1993, the original 100-year levee was replaced with the 500-year levee we biked on today. After the Great Flood of 1993, the City of Chesterfield offered a tax incentive that made the Chesterfield Valley a mecca for retail. This idea has become a model for other cities to develop floodplains. I assume all those retailers hope to make enough money between now and the next levee failure to cover their future losses.

Just for fun, I looked up some of our 110 mm Instamatic 1993 pictures to compare them with our bike ride today. Here are two views of the Missouri River from the I-64 bridge. One was taken today, after weeks of very little rain; the other was taken in 1993 during the flood. See if you can tell which is which. Ted and I remember looking down from the bridge deck in 1993 and being amazed at how rapidly and powerfully the water was flowing and how much large debris it carried.

Today, Ted and I rode our bikes across the Missouri River in the bike lane on the bridge, safely protected from the eight traffic lanes crossing the river. In the summer of 1993, it wasn’t a problem crossing the bridge on the roadway because the highway was closed. The dry road surface ended in St. Louis County shortly after crossing the bridge. That’s Ted on his bike and Kari bravely standing in the middle of the highway, excited about the lack of traffic.

We biked across the bridge several times in 1993. It was a kind of tourist attraction for bikers and walkers. The commuter parking lot on the St. Charles County (western) side of the bridge was filled with cars equipped with bicycle carriers. The river in flood and the extent of the floodwaters were amazing sights. Also, it was just fun to bike on a closed / empty highway across a major river. The photo below shows how far we could go on the eastern side of the bridge. Notice the barriers trying to keep the water off the available roadway.

The photos below were taken from the eastern side of the Chesterfield Valley. Both pictures were taken after the floodwaters receded far enough to open US 40 (now I-64). Picture 15-20 feet of floodwater covering the highway. The upper photo was taken by a newspaper photographer from a helicopter; the lower one was taken by me from the side of the roadway.

Like other sightseers, Ted and I drove across the Valley when the highway opened to gawk at the floodwaters and the damage. Unfortunately, only a few hours after the highway was opened and only a few minutes after I took my photo, MODOT began putting barriers across the entrance ramp to the highway because the water was rising again. Ted and I had to take the long way home over I-70 instead. The highway remained closed for several more weeks.

Thankfully, we didn’t have any drama like that today–just one more enjoyable bike ride.

I was scrolling through old photos for a project Ted and I are working on and found an interesting series of pictures. I don’t remember why, but one day in 1995, when Kathy, Thom, and Kari were all at home, we decided to take a picture of each of us with our cars. Maybe we were inspired by Jeff’s picture of his new car.

Ted had a 1987 Mazda RX-7. He was privileged to have the snazzy sports car. We loved driving it because it had a 49/51 weight distribution and was great on corners and curves. The stick shift added to the thrill. The car did not have a back seat–not even a mini back seat–so it had to be insured as a sports car, not a coupe. The curved back window on the hatch and the pop-up headlights were so cool!

I had a 1992 Toyota Camry that we bought when we needed space to get the kids and their stuff back and forth to college. That was before kids needed a U-Haul to tote all their college-bound stuff. The Camry had such a smooth ride, we used to get sleepy on long drives. We called it “the Camry effect.” My favorite feature was the moon roof.

Jeff bought a brand new 1995 Saturn when he graduated from college and got a full-time job with Hughes in Aurora, CO. This picture was taken in his Aurora apartment parking lot. He was excited that the purchase included a free car wash with every oil change. It was totaled when another driver pulled out in front of him, so he replaced it with another Saturn, which he drove for 13 years.

Kathy had (I think) a 1987 Toyota Tercel. I know it was a Tercel; I’m not sure of the model year. A deer hit her one time and left a minor dent on the hood. She taped a band-aid over it. She got amazing gas mileage (38 mpg?) with this car.

Thom also had (I think) a 1987 Toyota Tercel. Again, I’m not sure it was a 1987, but it was the same year and model as Kathy’s car in a different color. When he moved to Arizona, he packed it so full, that when he squeezed a can of Campbell’s tomato soup into the corner of the back window, there was no more empty space beyond the driver’s seat. I think Thom liked the car so much, he replaced it with another Tercel.

Kari got the cheapest car–a 1976 Chevy Impala with low mileage. Grandma Schroeder was no longer able to drive and Kari was her only grandchild (the youngest) who didn’t have a car of her own. Grandma generously gave her car to Kari as a gift. Grandpa Schroeder bought the car in 1976 because it was the last year Chevy was going to make such a big car. The 1977 Impala was about a foot shorter. This car had leg room beyond belief and a huge trunk! Kari drove the Impala for many years. When she finally gave it up, I think the car was probably looking forward to retirement.

Interesting note: Ted and I like driving a stick shift car and we always had one until 2011. Stick shifts have become hard to find and now require a special order. Technically, I can shift my 2011 car manually with the paddles on the steering wheel, but there’s no clutch and and it can’t choke, so that takes the fun out of shifting.

When we taught the kids to drive, we made them learn to drive both cars–the automatic shift and the stick shift. More than one of the kids was literally reduced to tears; all of them were frustrated and whined, “Nobody drives a stick shift. Why do I have to learn this?” Surprise! Jeff’s, Kathy’s, and Thom’s first cars all had a stick shift–by their own choice. I think Jeff and Thom still have stick shift cars. Grandma had an automatic shift. Sorry, Kari. At least your car was free.

I was looking for a photo and found this while I browsed. It’s from Christmas 2003 and I think all that green stuff was from Kathy and Annette. Go Pack!

I’ve had bikes on my mind (see previous posts)–probably because Ted and I have been biking so much during the past six months of our COVID-limited activities. Our recent bike activity reminded me that Ted and I have always biked, and I remembered a picture from October 1972. Jeff is eight months old and is already a bicycling veteran. After Kathy was born the following spring and was able to sit, we bought a matching baby bike seat for her and mounted it on my bike.

Compared to today’s baby bike seats and baby bike helmets, this doesn’t look very safe, does it? No helmet for Ted (or me) at that time either.

We moved into our present house in July 1979. The following spring, we planted three trees in our yard: a sugar maple, a green ash, and a sweet gum. We purposely chose the sweet gum tree for its fall colors, but didn’t give a thought to the @#%&*! gum balls it would drop from late fall to early spring. Fortunately, we planted that tree on the far back corner of our lot where we had the vegetable garden and where we now have Ted’s “brush pile” area, so the gum balls aren’t as much of a problem as they’d be if they fell in a higher traffic area of the lawn.

Here’s a picture of Jeff (8) and Tommy (4) watering the sweet gum tree in October 1980, . . .

. . . and here’s a picture of the sweet gum tree today.

The tree has grown so much that I had to walk all the way to the other side of our neighbor’s back yard to fit the tree in my picture. Good work, boys.

To celebrate Independence Day, Zaque’s group of missionaries decided to re-create photos of family members who had served in the U.S. armed forces. Here’s Zaque, re-creating a picture of his Great-Grandpa Pete. He’s not really a look-alike for my dad, but I think the family genes are visible. (Raised left eyebrow, jaw line.)

If I’d known what Zaque was planning to do when he requested a military photo, I’d have sent this one.

Today, Ted and I celebrated our 51st wedding anniversary. Last year, we celebrated with all of our children and grandchildren. This year, the celebration was more subdued.

We spent some time looking at our wedding album and enjoying the memories.

Our wedding cake was sour cream chocolate because neither of us likes white cake, the traditional wedding flavor.

Our first dance was awkward. We had never danced together before the wedding, and Ted didn’t know how to lead. We’re better dancers now.

According to one of the four local newspapers that reported our wedding, I was a “Hingham girl” whom Ted “claimed.”

We had a star-studded guest list according to the guest sign-ins.

We started our anniversary celebration by buying a hot tub yesterday afternoon. Picture it here in 2-3 months, after the manufacturer catches up on production. The tree needs to disappear.

This afternoon, we rolled last year’s anniversary gift–our e-bikes–out of the garage and took a 12-mile bike ride in the beautiful weather. We’ve ridden over 300 miles so far this spring. (Plus the 365 miles we rode last year.) After the ride, we needed a dip in the pool to cool down.

And, of course, we burned our anniversary candle. It’s an annual reminder of all the wonderful things we’ve shared since our wedding day.

This is my dad/Grandpa Pete. I don’t remember the hat and I can’t tell what the pin says. I can’t even remember Dad ever wearing a cowboy-style hat, but pictures don’t lie. Or they didn’t in 1979.

Sticking with the 1979 cowboy theme, this is Ted’s Aunt Verna, his brother Gary, and his mom on our new front porch. (We moved into this house in July 1979.) I don’t remember Gary’s cowboy phase either, but it looks like Sheriff Brett Maverick has come to visit. Maybe he went shopping with my dad.

When we bought a bike for Jeff, he didn’t want to practice riding it. He told me he didn’t see any point in practicing, since all the kids who were six already knew how to ride. His plan was to wait until he was six and then get on his bike and go. It wasn’t easy to convince him that the six-year-olds could ride their bikes because they had practiced. He’s seven in this picture trying out his new, larger bike, and it looks like he’s happy to have mastered that skill.

This is Kathy in first grade. If I remember correctly, her class did a unit about Native Americans and she made this costume.

Thom (Tommy in 1979) is three years old and already in love with trucks. His career goal for many years was to drive an 18-wheeler, and he could recognize semi cabs from behind, as in “Well, only a Kenworth has a smokestack like that.”

Here’s one-year-old Kari with her Christmas doll, Kelly. Kelly came with her fluffy elephant friend named Elly.

It’s July 1979 and it’s hot outside. The building on the left is a day care center. Our house was the first residence built in this plat of the subdivision. See the swimming pool complex in the background? This picture must have been taken within the first two weeks of moving to our new house, because Ted and Jeff walked to the pool to buy a membership for us a few days after we moved in. After that, we didn’t use this backyard swimming pool. With nothing between us and the pool complex, we could sit in our back yard and hear the music blasting out of the concession stand to the accompaniment of the twang! of the diving board.

I think this must be the picture we sent with our Christmas cards in 1979. Check out Tommy’s colorful belt. All my life, I wanted to learn to play the piano. My early career goal was to play like Liberace (I watched his TV show every week), but my parents never had a piano. Ted bought this one for me for Valentine’s day in 1974 and I took piano lessons for five years. During that time, Thom and Kari were born and my practice time disappeared. That’s a 60-inch long console stereo against the far wall in the dining room. After a bedroom set and a kitchen table and chairs, that was the first piece of furniture Ted and I bought after we got married. It had a spindle that held six LP records, an AM-FM radio, and a tape deck to hold Ted’s reel-to-reel tape recorder to play tapes. And all in stereo sound!

I was looking for a particular photo that I wanted to print, but I couldn’t find it, so I started opening folders I thought I might have moved it to. I never found that specific photo, but I found an interesting folder. Here are some of the pictures from that folder.

This is the most boring one to look at, but it was fun to read.

I think I took this picture in LaCrosse, WI. Ted and I were taking a walk after checking into our hotel and, when I saw this, I thought of Shel Silverstein’s book Where the Sidewalk Ends. This is the place.

Here’s some grocery store art I saw several years ago. Obviously, during the Christmas season. Construction materials: Pepsi, Coke, and Sprite cases.

I found this cartoon.

One of my teachers had this clock in her classroom.

My class site at Pike-Lincoln Technical Center in Eolia had a major fire in 2012. While I was helping my teacher inventory what was left of her classroom, she showed me this. She had a a bunch of red rulers rubber-banded together in a file drawer and they melted down to form this sculpture, which she told me she was going to save as a memento of the fire.

The pile of rulers was lying on its side on the bottom of the drawer and against one side of the drawer, so two sides of the “sculpture” are flat. The large flat side (back of the sculpture) shows the rubber band that survived on the bottom of the pile (you can see where it was in the picture above). It also shows that the melted plastic ran over a pencil and a ball point pen. The markings on the rulers are visible in both pictures. Cool!

This picture was taken at Christmas 2005. The kids were here for my doctoral graduation and someone (probably Kathy or me) gave Thom a Beethoven figure. Kathy and I thought it would be fun to let Beethoven play his “Moonlight Sonata” so we set up this photo op. I still smile when I see it. Maybe Kathy does too. (Remember phone books?)

Continuing the Beethoven theme, I saved another cartoon.

When Ted and I (and Jeff and Kathy) moved to Missouri in 1973, Ted’s office was at Lambert Airport. We bought a house in St. Charles rather than closer to the airport because we knew the STL WSFO (St. Louis Weather Service Forecast Office) was already under construction in St. Peters, a few miles west of St. Charles. At that time, St. Charles was basically a bedroom community for McDonnell-Douglas and St. Charles County was rural, with nothing but farmland and very small towns west of MO Hwy 94. It looked like the pictures below. When the St. Peters WSFO opened in 1974, Ted climbed the radar tower and took pictures of the Cave Springs area around the office.

This photo looks to the northwest. The horizontal road near the horizon (barely visible) is I-70; the diagonal road going to the left side of the photo is Jungermann Road. We moved from St. Charles to St. Peters in 1979 and it was still several years before I met more than two or three cars driving between home and Cave Springs on the two-lane Jungermann Road. Now it’s a 5-lane road and has constantly heavy traffic.

This view faces northeast. In the right center, the black-and-white striped Venture store sign is visible. When Venture was built, it was “out in the country” about six miles west of our house and there were no city lights past MO Hwy 94–just the darkness of rural Missouri. The city lights now extend westward without a break past Warrenton, 32 miles west of MO Hwy 94. In the right foreground, you can see the shadow of the radar tower where Ted is standing with his trusty Pentax camera that he bought in Japan. The WSFO moved from Cave Springs to Weldon Spring in 1993 when it upgraded to Doppler radar.

Here, Ted is facing southeast. When we decided to buy a larger house in 1979, we looked at one in the subdivision visible in the picture. The large building on the left is Cave Springs Lanes. The road running from the left side of the picture toward the lower right corner is Mexico Road. It was a gravel road when the WSFO opened. It’s a five-lane main arterial road now (and paved), and has been for a very long time. Cave Springs used to be described as having three main commercial buildings: The WSFO, the Venture store, and the bowling lanes. Now it’s a major commercial area, offering just about anything you might need. The WSFO building is currently being used by a department of the St. Peters city government. The Venture store was razed, and the site now houses a strip mall with an Office Depot, Northern Freight, Hobby Lobby, and some smaller stores. The bowling ally is still open for business.

The last photo from today’s search was a mystery to me for a few seconds. I’ll give you a moment to look at it and I’ll describe it below.

Those are my sunglasses lying on the poolside picnic table with a lawn chair behind them. They are reflecting the umbrella over the table.

So far, the extra free time I’m finding with the COVID-19 lockdown is still fun.

After deciding to get back to scanning old photos, I remembered two boxes of photos in storage–one from Ted’s family and one from mine that we received after our parents died. We took our respective boxes and went to work last night. Ted had more pictures to sort because I had already winnowed mine a little bit many years ago. It’s really interesting to go back through family history and to remember things that happened in the way back.

This four-generation picture taken on my mother’s first birthday, is one of the oldest family photos I have. From the left, that’s my grandpa (Lorenz Lorenzen), my mother (Violet), my great-great-grandmother (Eliza Lorenzen, paternal grandmother of my grandpa), and my great-grandfather (Peter Lorenzen, father of my grandpa and son of Eliza Lorenzen).

Jumping to my dad’s side of the family, that’s my great-grandmother, Johanna (Josie) Dell with her three children: (L>R) Gladys, Philip, and Mabel (my dad’s mother). Great-uncle Phil had an apple orchard just north of Hingham, my hometown. Grandma Dell lived about a hundred feet up the street from us and I remember walking up to visit with her when I’d see her sitting on her porch. She always seemed to have a cookie for me. She died when I was six years old.

Here’s Great-grandma Dell with her great-grandchildren in 1950. I hope I live to see this many great-grandchildren. That’s me and my brother Denny in the coaster wagon. My cousin Carol is the oldest and is standing right in front of Grandma. Carol died two years later of meningitis. My Grandma Soerens buried two grandchildren before she died–Carol and my four-year-old cousin Lori, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver. My Grandma Lorenzen buried her eight-year-old son (who died of a ruptured appendix), a stillborn grandson, and my oldest brother (Denny, who died at 27 in an Air Force plane crash). Ted and I are fortunate that our children and grandchildren are all healthy and with us.

Grandparents (including Ted and me) love to have pictures of themselves with their grandchildren. Here are Grandma and Grandpa Lorenzen on their 35th wedding anniversary with their grandchildren. I’m the oldest, in the center, and my brothers are to the right of me in the photo–Tom, Steve, and Denny. Russ is the little guy on the right at the table.

There were some fun pictures of siblings in my pile. Here’s my dad (back center) with four of his five siblings. There was one more to come.

As the older sister, I tried to help mom with this photograph by turning Denny’s head toward the camera. He didn’t like it.

This is Denny, me, and Steve. That’s not our dog, so it must be an early photo-bomber.

My dad built this little shed to store our trikes, bikes, wagons, and other outdoor toys. “Hey, kids! Wanna paint the shed?” That’s Steve and me, hard at work.

My mom took this picture of Dad, Steve, Denny, and me, but she never liked it. I think it was supposed to be a “planting and greening of the earth” moment, but she always said it looked like we were trying to eke out a living on a hardscrabble farm. Those are our raspberry bushes and cherry trees in the background.

Maybe modeling runs in the family. Here’s Grandma Lorenzen, Mom, and me struttin’ our stuff.

In the 1950s, the majority of married women did not have full-time jobs. Apparently, our homemaking training started early. Here I am, at about three years old, ironing my doll clothes in the left picture. The iron has a cord and actually warmed up a little bit. That’s why I’m testing it with my hand. On the right side of the left photo, you can see my doll, patiently waiting in her buggy for freshly ironed clothes.

In the right photo, I’ve got my household set up on the front porch. That’s Steve in the doll crib. Note that there’s a dresser for my doll’s clothes, a cupboard with doll dishes in it, a table and chairs, and a buggy for the baby doll. The two boys in the center are our neighbors; the girls might be their nieces who lived in Florida and visited every summer. (The boys had a much older brother and sister.)

I joined the Hingham Wide-Awakes 4-H Club when I was ten years old. One of my “projects” that I worked on each year was sewing (still learning to be a housewife). I’m eleven in the photos below and I’m modeling the clothes that I sewed and entered in the County Fair. The pictures went into my 4-H Record Book that I completed each year to describe my year’s club activities.

Another 4-H activity was demonstrations. We gave them at meetings and there was also a county-wide demonstration contest with cash prizes. Here I’m practicing my demonstration on how to make a scarf. It’s more documentation for my record book.

Since this was a pile of my family photos and since I was my parents’ first baby, there are a lot of pictures of me. Here are a few. I’m probably under a year old and enjoying my first winter. If the baby keeps falling off the sled, put her in a cardboard box.

My mom (and everyone else) had a wringer washing machine when I was little, and I used to “catch” the pieces of laundry as they came through the wringer. On my third birthday, my hand got caught in the turning rollers of the wringer and they scraped the skin off the back of my hand. All of my third birthday pictures show a big splotch of mercurochrome over the injury. Mercurochrome didn’t sting like iodine, but it actually had a little mercury in it, so it’s no surprise it was later banned.

I tried out for and got a part in most of the high school plays. Here I am, hoopskirts and all, in Jane Eyre. The home ec classes made the play costumes; the shop classes made the sets.

The last picture from this batch of historic photos shows me in my band uniform. I played first chair clarinet and I was also in the pep band. Pep band got me free admission to all the home games. Good times! Knowing my mom and the way she tried to make her photos look good, I suspect she removed the corner table to take this picture.

I started scanning selected pictures from old photo albums and posted a few of them on this blog in August, October, and December 2018. Several months ago, one of my readers (name begins with “J”) asked when I was going to post some more old photos. With reader demand like that, I decided it was time to go through some more photo albums. Last night, I picked up where I left off more than a year ago. Let’s start with the big project of 1981.

Ted and I moved from Washington, D.C. to Missouri in July 1973, just six weeks after Kathy was born. Here’s where we lived in St. Charles.

We had a deck over the patio in the back of the house. We frequently used both levels, depending on whether we were looking for shade or sun. The patio included a gas grill / oven that was connected to the gas line for the house. I used it to cook roasts, casseroles, etc. and sometimes, when Ted came home after an evening shift, he’d grill hamburgers for the two of us out there after midnight. The galvanized watering tank was a popular style of backyard swimming pool in this area in those days. Question: how did we get it home with the Opel?

The back yard dropped sharply down to two drainage creeks. Ted and I built those two redwood bridges so we could access those parts of our yard. The swimming pool and swing set were in the “middle” back yard, and the garden was across the second creek in the “back” back yard. (The back yard against the house was the back yard.) This was a pretty view from the deck in the summer, especially when the garden was in full growth.

Thom and Kari were born while we lived in St. Charles and we needed a larger house. In 1979, we moved to St. Peters and bought our current house. The sale closing date was 7-9-79. The subdivision was very new and ours was the first house built on this plat. The house and the neighborhood were both undeveloped and stark when we moved in. I could wave to our nearest neighbor in the distance if we both got the mail at the same time and saw each other. For several years, we lived with constant construction noise as other families built houses in the subdivision.

The deck furniture and the watering tank swimming pool made the move with us. We used that watering tank pool for a week or two before we joined the subdivision swimming pool. Ted and Jeff walked to the pool (five vacant lots down the street) to see if we could buy a pro-rated membership for the remainder of the summer. I’ll never forget the look of pure joy on Jeff’s face when he and Ted came home with a family pool membership. We all put on our swimsuits and headed for the subdivision pool. Next question: How did we get rid of the watering tank?

In Spring 1981, we added a pergola over the patio so we could get some shade from the hot summer sun and sit outside. A local lumberyard had an architect on staff at no cost if we bought the lumber there. He came to our house and then drew blueprint plans (no computer plans in 1981) for us to use, including every detail down to how many lag bolts and washers we’d need. I remember showing them to someone once and the guy remarked, “You even have funny papers for your patio cover?!” In the photo below, the rough-sawn cedar lumber has been delivered and we’ve started working. Ted is admiring the good job we did affixing the first triangular support bracket to the brick on the house beside the back door. That took us an entire day! We finished the other two supports on the house in much less time.

It looks like we have sufficient bracing for the uprights. Except for lifting the three 18-foot 4 x 12 solid cedar beams projecting outward from the house, we did all the work ourselves. The beams weighed over 500 pounds each and it took Ted and two neighbor men (we had a few neighbors by 1981) to raise them onto the upright posts and the support brackets on the house.

One of our new neighbors had railroad clamps that he lent us. Those are the metal poles projecting above the top of the pergola, They made it possible to clamp the crossbeams to the layer below and hold them in place while we pounded in the nails.

Ted gave me the honor of putting in the last lag bolt. When we finished, the entire structure was solid. The architect told us that “sandwiching” the upright 4 x 4 posts with 2 x 6 boards would keep the 4 x 4s from warping. They never warped, and the pergola never wobbled.

The pergola is all stained and finished, and it looks good. After 30+ years, we had to replace the original, but we used the same blueprints because we like the design that much. The second time around, however, we could afford to hire a professional carpenter. I honestly don’t think his work was any better than ours.

Here’s how the house looked in August 2018, thirty-nine years later. When we bought it, it was at the top end of our budget, but we both loved it and decided to go for it. We’ve never been sorry and we still love it.

I have my mother’s 1940 high school yearbook. That was the year she graduated, so there’s a short (and interesting) paragraph beside her picture. As I read her friends’ notations in the yearbook, I couldn’t help noticing two things. (1) Mom must have been as social as Kari and seems to have known nearly everyone. There were 387 graduates in her class, and it looks like most of them signed her yearbook. (2) I lost count of how many of Mom’s friends used the word “swell,” as in “we had a swell time” or “you are a swell girl.” That must have been the most popular slang word of the day because I also noticed it in the letters my mom wrote to a friend in the early 1940s.

Mom is Violet Lorenzen, the second photo from the top in the right column.

I also have my dad’s Distinguished Flying Cross, which he was awarded in 1945 as a Lieutenant during World War II. Dad was a B-25 pilot and was engaged in intense enemy aircraft fire that damaged his plane. In spite of the damage, he was able to keep his plane on course so that his bombardier could release the plane’s bombs and devastate a vital enemy railroad, contributing to a successful mission.

The DFC is on the left; the photo shows my dad in uniform as a lieutenant; the small name badge / pin was my mother’s ID when she worked for the War Department in 1944 making shells for the U.S. Army; the rose pin was awarded to my mother for serving as president of the local American Legion Auxiliary chapter.

In the 1980s, I embroidered a crewel family tree as a gift for my mom and dad. It documented our immediate family, from Mom and Dad’s marriage through their grandchildren at that time. I included extra yarn so Mom could update the information as needed. The family tree hung on the dining room wall until after Mom died in 1995. At some point after that, it was returned to me. My brother Russ said he always admired it and would like to have it. I made another family tree for myself showing Ted’s and my families, so I don’t need the one I gave to my mom. I sent it to Russ (with the extra yarn for updates), and I hope he’ll enjoy it for many years.

My brother Denny died in 1977. When my sister-in-law remarried, Mom cleverly added a branch in the lower left corner of the picture to include Bev, her second husband, Steve, and their daughter Heather.

Fifty years ago today, Ted and I were married. Tomorrow, we’ll get started on the next fifty years.

My mom and I designed and made my wedding gown. I cut the appliqués and sewed them and the lace on by hand. My bouquet was similar to my mom’s wedding bouquet.
We’re still this happy together.
You can see rice in the air. It definitely brought us prosperity, fertility, and good fortune.
We never had a chance to finish eating the first piece of wedding cake we cut for each other. It was a sour cream chocolate cake, and every crumb was eaten because people came back for seconds.

My cousin circulated a photo of the Prange’s store in Sheboygan as it looked “back in the day.” Judging by the cars, this is probably in the 1940s. Everyone from the Sheboygan area remembers Prange’s. It was the largest downtown store and a meeting place to hang out–“I’ll meet you at Prange’s corner.” All those display windows were unveiled on Thanksgiving Day, revealing animated Christmas scenarios featuring carolers, Christmas toys, and a Santa Claus display. It was a tradition to go downtown after Thanksgiving dinner to join the crowd looking at Prange’s windows.

My mom often took me to Prange’s as part of a Friday girls’ night out, leaving my dad at home with my brothers. Mom and I would have supper (that’s the evening meal in Wisconsin-speak) at Prange’s and then we’d shop at Prange’s and at other downtown stores. Those were special evenings that I still treasure. (Name-dropping note: Mom went to high school with the Prange and the Kohler kids. I only knew those names as corporate entities.)

While I’m reminiscing, . . . When we were in Hawai’i, Ted and I saw a photo of Honolulu before it became the hub of activity it is today. Our resort was on Waikiki Beach–the curved shoreline in the foreground of the picture. The beachside walk Ted and I took started beyond the hotel where the beach juts out in the center of the photo, and went deeper into the foreground of the photo. Ahhh, back in the day . . .

This afternoon, I was looking for a form that I knew I printed, but couldn’t find, so I had to rummage through my inbox files to see if it was there. That’s where I throw stuff from my desktop if I don’t want to deal with it immediately, which meant I’d be cleaning out my inbox clutter. I don’t clean the boxes often, but I always find something interesting when I do. Today it was old photos of my siblings and me.

1952 when I had only two brothers. That’s Denny (3) on the left and me (5) restraining Steve (1). I remember those halter tops.
I have three brothers in summer 1956. It looks like we’re ready for bedtime prayers and no, we didn’t all sleep in the same bed.
Late summer 1956, before Russ was born in October. I’m holding/wearing a vintage 1940s Kodak Brownie Reflex Synchro model camera, handed down from my mom. Denny is apparently the geek, with his shorts pulled up high; Steve is the cool one, with the rubber sunglasses (you could pop the lenses out) and the Hawai’ian shirt.
Here’s baby Russ! It’s Winter 1956 and the three boys are in matching pj’s. Mom bought yardage and made all their pj’s from the same pattern and the same fabric. Russ and I might also match–I can’t tell for sure.
Winter 1956 again. Tom, Denny, and Steve are in the back; I’m holding Russ in the front. Steve’s baby picture is on the end table in the corner.
1958. I loved that dress! It was a two-piece, very in-style chemise. I wore it to the 4-H awards ceremony and had my picture in the local paper for being named the outstanding 10-year-old girl in the county. I’m wearing my gold 4-H award pin.
Fall of 1962. In the old days, before gender equality, I had to help Mom at home in the summer and on Saturdays, and the boys had to work with Dad at his Allis-Chalmers dealership and maintenance shop. Check out Steve’s “barn” lunch box and Denny’s more modern square one with the shorter, squat, wide-mouth Thermos that stood along the side instead of resting in the lid. I don’t recognize the people on Tom’s lunchbox, but I’ll bet he remembers who they were.
1963. We’re growing up. Steve (12), Tom (11), and Denny (14) are in the back and Russ (7) and I (16) are in the front. Mom spread out my skirt so it would look nice in the picture. My high school boyfriend liked that red dress, but I can’t believe those glasses were in style!
1967. We’re starting to leave the nest. It’s Denny’s high school baccalaureate evening and I’ve finished my sophomore year at UW-Madison.
July 2004. This is the most recent picture I have of the four of us–Tom, Steve, me, and Russ.
Denny died in 1977. The framed photo on the bookshelf is Kari and Dean holding Sky, their first baby.

Just for fun, here’s one more picture I found. It’s a sibling picture of my dad and his three brothers (he also had two sisters). My mom noted on the back of the photo that “They are singing some song they made up.” Dad’s given name was Wilton, but he was called Pete; Ken’s nickname was Beanie; Harold was always Arch (middle name Archibald); and Bob would answer to Duck. Don’t ask; that’s just how it was. Ken and Arch are still living in Wisconsin and are in their 90s.

Probably sometime in the 1950s. Left to right, it’s Pete, Beanie, Arch, and Duck.

I scanned a few more photos tonight and, as usual, enjoyed the memories.  The kids were so little!  Ted and I were so young!  And, of course, our parents were still with us.

1978 was Kari’s first Christmas.

My mom and dad spent Christmas 1978 with us.

It’s March 1979.  Jeff and Kathy are climbing the tree in the front yard at our first house.  Tommy is standing safely on the ground.

April 1979.  We took the kids to the St. Louis Zoo at least once each year when they were little.  Only big brother Jeff’s feet can (barely) touch the ground.

Tommy, the birthday boy, is 3.  That means Jeff is 7, Kathy is 6, and Kari is almost 1.

In May 1979, we celebrated Kari’s first birthday in WI with our parents.  Ted’s mom and my dad both had May birthdays as well, and we celebrated my dad’s retirement from the U.S. Air Force on this visit.  Party on!

After lunch with the Spencer family, I was talking with Lara.  She said it meant a lot to Ruth and Ken that Ted and I made time to visit with them.  I told her that both of them have always been special to me.  She said the same was true of my mother for her.  In fact, Lara said, when she was pregnant with her first child, she and Jim had decided that, if it was a girl, they would name her Cassidy Vi for my mother.  Lara said she didn’t want “Violet” because Mom was never Violet; she was always Vi.  They had a boy and named him Jake, but I was deeply touched that Lara held my mother in such high regard.  Mom was Lara’s sponsor, and Lara always held a special place in Mom’s heart too.

This is Mom and her siblings–probably in the 1980s, judging by the eyewear.  L>R:  Mom, Gibby, Shirley, Ruth.

During my senior year in college, I shared a house with five other women.  Four of us met each other in the dorm where we lived during our freshman and sophomore years; the other two were friends from outside the dorm.  The six of us had a blast!

I’ve seen Eileen and Leila several times over the years, and the three of us had a roommate reunion in Madison with Lin in 2014.  It was so much fun, we had another one today.  In the past year, Eileen “found” Carol and might have found Barb–we’re still waiting to hear if her message went to the right Barb.  Today’s lunch was even more fun than our 2014 get-together, so we decided to make this an annual event.  I hope next year, there will be six of us at the lunch table.

Fall 1968–dinner in our Orchard Street kitchen.  L>R:  Lin, Leila, Eileen, me.  Carol took the picture.  Aren’t we the healthy Dairyland girls–all drinking milk for dinner.


Christmas, 1968.  We put up a tree in the living room.  Look how happy we are to be together!  L>R:  Leila, Carol, Eileen, Lin.  It was my turn to take the picture.


June 1969–graduation day at the University of Wisconsin.  L>R:  Eileen, me, Kathy, Lin.  When Barb got married during our senior year, Kathy took her place in the house.  She was already a registered nurse, and didn’t attend UW.  Leila got married two days before graduation, so she wasn’t at the commencement ceremony.  (I got married five days after graduation.)  I don’t remember why Carol isn’t in the picture.


Zoom forward to September 2018–49 years after we graduated, and still having fun together.  Back row L>R:  Eileen, me, Carol.  Front row L>R:  Lin, Leila.

I scanned another photo album tonight and enjoyed some more memories.

This picture of my parents’ house from April 1977 is a sad memory.  It was the day of my brother Denny’s funeral and my dad had the flag at the house at half-staff.  After the burial, I was the one who raised the flag to full staff with tears in my eyes.


A few weeks later, there was a celebration with happier memories:  Aunt Shirley and Uncle Richard’s twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.  I was the flower girl in their wedding and, at the party, they took pictures of everyone who had been in the wedding party.  Here I am with the ring bearer, whose name I don’t remember.


The rest of the story is that, when the band played the Grand March at the wedding and everyone was kissing his/her partner, I followed their lead and kissed the ring bearer.  The wedding photographer must have had his eyes on us to catch this brief moment.  Judging by the ring bearer’s degree of participation, it looks like I was a leader, even at the age of five.

It’s strange, but I don’t remember my flower girl dress being this pretty.   After the wedding,  my mom let me wear it to play dress-up.  I wore it to tatters, and that’s how I remember it.


In February 1978, we headed for Disney World.  Here are Jeff, Kathy, and Thom on Lookout Mountain in Chatanooga, TN.  Standing on the mountaintop, Jeff proclaimed–with all the enthusiasm of a six-year-old–that he must be the highest person in the whole world.


This picture from Thom’s second birthday in May 1978 shows how he ate as a baby.  First, he’d put food in his mouth; then he’d stuff his fingers in his mouth while he chewed.  Look at that red hair!


Fifteen days after we took that picture of Thom, Kari was born.  She had Ted’s dark hair and, right in the center of her head, there were about 20 strands of white hair.  Can you see them?


This is what I saw the morning after I came home from the hospital with Kari.  It’s one of my all-time favorite photos.


Another all-time favorite was taken in August 1978 when we visited my sister-in-law, Bev, in Upper Michigan.  The picture includes our four kids and their cousins, Cheryl and Eric.  I’ve always called this “Can you find the six kids on the sofa?”


Tonight’s photo album ended in November 1978.  We had just bought a new car–a 1978 Chevy Caprice Classic.  The new I-70 Blanchette Bridge was finally finished and scheduled to open the next day, so we drove the new car onto the end of the new bridge and took a picture.  That’s Kari and me in the driver’s window.   Raise your hand if you remember that you’d get that glow on the right side of the photo if you were at the very end of the filmstrip.

Today, I scanned some photos for the kids from the 1972-76 albums and found some great memories.

This picture of Jeff on the U.S. Capitol grounds is one of my all-time favorites.  He’s 13 months old and had been walking for only two or three weeks.  Ted and I have always called it “Tiptoe through the tulips” (cf Tiny Tim).


On that same day, Ted took this picture of Jeff and me at the Capitol.  I labeled it “Jeff 13 months.  Mom 8 months.”  It was almost time for Kathy to join us.


Look at the delight on seven-month-old Kathy’s face.  Bubbles are magic, and not only for children–Dad and Jeff (in the mirror) are having fun too.


We bought Jeff a bicycle, but he refused to practice riding it.  When I asked him why he wouldn’t practice, he said he was just going to save it until he was six years old because all the six-year-olds knew how to ride bikes.  I finally convinced him those six-year-olds had practiced, so here he is–riding a two-wheeler at the age of 4-1/2.  Hey, Jeff, is that another pair of your favorite plaid pants?  (Note that Dad also has plaid pants in the photo above.  They really, really were in style in the 70s.)


Here’s a 1974 classic of Kathy, two months before her second birthday.  I called it “Whistler’s Sister.”


My brother Tom bought a pistol in 1976.  He showed it to us when we visited for Thanksgiving, so my brother Russ, Ted, and I all posed with it.  Do we look like we’re starring in a cowboy western?  (I mean, except that we’re all smiling and drinking Pepsi.)  I’m sure the pistol was unloaded.  Please say it was unloaded, Tom.


On that same visit to Tom’s Beloit house, a miracle occurred at our Thanksgiving dinner.  We changed wine into milk.  Oh, the days when we were too young and too broke to have enough glasses to go around the table twice–wine for dinner, rinse the glasses, then milk in the same glasses with pie for dessert.  That’s six-month-old baby Tom on Uncle Tom’s lap.  Check out the eight-flash pack on the camera sitting on the table in the bottom photo.


I’m loving this photo-scanning project!

With all the updating Ted and I have done to our yard this summer (a new pool liner, all new outdoor chairs and a glider, party lights, and landscaping), I thought it would be interesting to look at our house over the years.  Here we go . . . .

1979, when we bought the house


1998, nineteen years later


2018, twenty more years later.

While the kids were home in June, I asked them to go through some of our old photo albums to mark pictures they’d like to keep.  The plan is for me to scan the old photos and put them on a USB drive for each kid.

Going through the photos brought back lots of memories.  One of those memories was that Thom never liked to smile in pictures, as shown in the photos below from the 1994 album.

March 1994–my birthday.  Thom is thrilled to celebrate with me.  I baked my traditional Vienna Torte birthday cake.  Why is the shirt so big???

May 1994–ditto for Thom, except this time, it’s Kari’s 16th birthday.  Isn’t that a pretty princess cake I made for her?  The “16” doll on the left of the cake completed her baby-through-16 doll collection.

June 1994–Thom’s graduation.  It’s another happy day for him.  Does he have an acorn in his cheek?

2017–my birthday.  Thom is a much happier guy now.


I predict more photo memories coming up as I work my way through 12 albums.

Celebrate!  In honor of National Siblings Day, let’s re-visit July 2004.

Really, Steve?  Making bunny ears on yourself??

I don’t normally think, “I know what I’ll do today–I’ll look through some old folders,” but every time I look through old folders, I find something enjoyable.  Obviously, I have the good sense to fill my folders with interesting memorabilia.

Today, I was trying to find a document in an old folder and found some information my dad probably sent me about Hingham, WI, my hometown.  I had totally forgotten that Hingham has an Historic District with 13 buildings that were recognized August 6, 1994.  I remember all the buildings, even though some have been updated and don’t look like they did when I lived there.  Presumably, they have not been altered since 1994, but I left for college in 1965 so there was plenty of time for change before the buildings became “historic.”

If there were 200 people living in Hingham while I was growing up, that was probably a high estimate.  The 2010 census counted 886 residents of Hingham, so the town–still unincorporated–has grown.  I never thought much about living there and never thought it was anything special, so I was impressed when I read that Hingham, originally platted in 1850, was “one of the early and prominent communities in Sheboygan County.”  (Prominent?  Hingham?)  In 1890, however, the railroad was laid two miles west and “effectively ended the town’s emerging status.”  The railroad went through Adell, where my family went to church.  The 2010 census gives Adell 516 people, so I don’t think the loss of the railroad had any major long-term effect on Hingham’s emerging status.

If accumulated stuff is supposed to be thrown away unless it is useful or joyful, this folder gets to stay.  It was joyful to find this information on an unseasonably cold April afternoon.

A grade school friend’s dad owned the Hingham Feed Mill.  It originally operated with a millrace to turn the mill wheel.  Kids used to swim in the millrace.


The Hingham Hall was the gathering place of the town.   In the summer, it was ground zero for kick-the-can games and for bike tag (you play tag biking around town instead of running, and the Hall steps were “home free”).  During the school year, it was the venue for school plays and for roller skating parties sponsored by the 4-H club.


One of my grade school classmates lived upstairs in the George Poole Store.  I don’t think she knew it was an historic building.  At that time, her dad owned it and it was the Clover Farms grocery store.  My great-grandma Dell lived in Whitcomb House.  When I was five years old, I remember walking the short distance from my house to hers to visit with her on her porch.  She often offered me a cookie.  Maybe she enjoyed baking cookies as much as I do.


If I had drawn this map, I would have included “the pond” in the blank space bordered by Co. Hwy. F and Water St.  The pond is where we went ice skating in the winter and swimming in the summer.  Along with the fire escape on the “old grade school,” the pond was a defining feature of the town to my friends and me.   Until I saw this map, I had no idea I lived on Maine Street!   It’s spelled “Maine” on the map, but “Main” on the picture of Whitcomb House.  Either way, it wasn’t Main(e) St. when I lived in Hingham.

In The Proposal, Betty White (the grandma) gives Sandra Bullock (the soon-to-be granddaughter-in-law) a necklace that has come down through the family.  When Sandra protests, Betty insists that grandmas love to give their things away because it means they’ll still be around in some way after they die.  This is true.

A few years ago, I gave Kyra, my only granddaughter (as she likes to remind us), a few pieces of my jewelry.  I wasn’t sure if she’d wear them or not, but I hoped she would at least treasure them as a memento of me.

Kyra is currently serving on a mission for her church in Bakersfield, CA.  She sends a weekly email message and always includes some photos about what’s going on in her life.  Today, as I was scrolling through the pictures she sent, I recognized a necklace from me on her neck.

Yes, grandmas love to give their things away.  They love it even more when they see their granddaughters enjoying those things.

This is me at three years old.  Check out the necklace.  I’ll bet my mom made that skirt and blouse.  The decorative bow in my hair that matches the skirt is definitely her touch, and she loved to do detailed sewing like the blouse.

Here’s Kyra.  Check out her necklace.  Beautiful girl, treasured necklace, and a little tear of happiness in grandma’s eye.

I was reading some of Jeff’s old blog posts and came across this picture of Jeff and Kathy with my brother Denny’s kids, Cheryl and Eric.  Jeff always makes fun of the clothes he’s wearing in his childhood pictures–and he did so in his blog post–but that’s what was in style at the time.  I once spoke with a young clogger, dressed in her clogging outfit with a can-can under it to hold out her skirts.  When I told her my friends and I all wore can-cans in grade school, her response was, “You actually wore these in public????”  What will today’s young people say when they look back and see themselves with their pants hanging below their hips?

But back to the cute kids . . .

I’m guessing the ages, but the kids from left to right are Kathy (3), Cheryl (2), Jeff (4) and Eric (4).

My brother Tom lives in a western suburb of Chicago.  With the heavy snow hitting Chicago this week, Tom sent some childhood pictures to family members.

That’s me, bundled up and sitting on the sled the horses are pulling.  I was three years old at the time.  Dad told Mom to take a picture because it would likely be the last time he ever drove a team.  As I recall, the horses and sled belonged to my great-uncle Phil, who lived about a mile from us, but Tom doesn’t remember Uncle Phil having horses, so I could be wrong.  On the other hand, Tom wasn’t born until two years after this photo was taken, so Uncle Phil might have sold the horses before Tom joined the family, making this the last time my dad could drive his team.


This is Tom at age 6, standing high in a front tractor scoop (tractor driven by my dad).  In those days, we got a lot of snow in the Wisconsin winters–look at those snowbanks!–so this wasn’t overkill when the driveway needed to be cleared.  Note:  Dad could drive (and fix) just about anything!

What a good-looking guy, even after all these years.  Note that his smile gets bigger as he gets older.  He’s not only good-looking–he’s happy!

Third grade?

8th grade