Love behind a lens

I can’t tell you how cranky my mom and I were when my sister Jenny sent us on an errand earlier this week, and how grateful I am for the magical rabbit hole it sent me down.

The errand was to pick up a jump drive containing 2,254 photo files from slides my dad had shot, and it came with a deadline that forced me to cram the outing she demanded into a very busy Monday.

Later that night, I jammed that jump drive into my laptop and quickly (a little resentfully, if I’m being honest) scrolled through. Then, I slowed down and, eventually, I paused entirely.

In addition to being an architect of a magical childhood for all four of his children, my dad managed to preserve it for us so we can pop back there anytime we’d like. Such a gift!

Beyond that, I couldn’t help notice how much my dad loved my mom.

Though I’ll spare you the many shots of her backside, I did ask her about them yesterday.

“Well, in college he did say he always liked to walk behind me,” she said.

His pictures of my mom tell the story of her sense of adventure and athleticism, the way she loved her children and the way they loved her. He photographed her on the tennis court, in the swimming pool, on a park bench and in the midst of chaotic birthday parties and Christmas mornings.

His shots speak eloquently of a devotion he might have been too bashful to say out loud, and they bear witness for generations to come.

I can’t wait for his grandkids to scroll through these shots!

Here’s a shot of my mom on the beach at a cottage we used to rent in Waupaca.
On a tree swing in Colver, Pennsylvania.
In front of the apartment we stayed in when my dad played for the Baltimore Colts.
On a beach in Hawaii.
On a catamaran in Hawaii.
On the tennis court. (She taught herself to play from a library book and then taught him to play on the public courts in Cincinnati.)
With his mom at our house in Appleton.
This might not be the best picture from a photography standpoint, but I love it anyway. It captures a moment one Christmas Eve in Green Bay around 1969 after all the presents had been unwrapped.
Jumping ahead to Christmas Eve 1980 and a camera with a self-timer on it.
My sister Jenny’s first birthday.
Our backyard in Green Bay.
With her sister Doris (and my brother Mike).
With my sister Kathy.
As it turns out, my dad was a very good photographer and, apparently, my mom was his muse.

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