Wish You Were There Photos

Project Digitize Old Photos has begun!

Well, no actual digitizing has happened, but about a month ago I made room in the trailer for this new project; I grabbed a box of pics from my old house in West Virginia; and I bought a portable scanner. That’s as far as I got. Now that we’re staying at a friend’s house while we wait to see where we’ll go next, I’ve got room to organize some of the photos on a big kitchen table. Turns out they are amazing.

(If you’re not familiar with my Wish You Were There reference up top, that’s what I call my blog section on personal grief. Which is not the topic of this post! These photos do illustrate those stories, though, so I thought I’d tie them all together with the title.)

So Many Photos

I’m most excited about pics from my childhood: casual shots of family that reveal expressions I’d forgotten about, shots of the house where I grew up, all that nostalgic jazz.

That period is also when Dad took most of our family photos, so I’m in luck there regarding quantity. You can tell what his favorite things were by how big those stacks are: our dog, my mom, the garden, family vacations.

Mom and Dad

There’s a tall pile of pictures pre-me, but I’m not going to organize them yet, only because there are too many mysteries to solve re: who’s who and when’s when, with no one left to unravel the clues with me.

These shots stood out though, Mom and Dad from the 1950s to 1970s. What cuties.

Dad’s Planes

Turns out we took a lot of trips when I was little, partly because it was cheap on account of Dad having a small airplane. And there sure are a lot of pictures of his airplanes over the years.

Looking at the interior of the one he flew the most makes me remember exactly what it smelled like (vinyl and leather that sit closed up for a long time) and felt like (bumpy, sleepy, bumpy).

This was just normal childhood to me, which amazes me now.


There are even more photos of our dog, Humphrey—on the hammock, under the Christmas tree, in people’s laps—all his favorite places to sleep.

I don’t know if you can see that one on the left of Mom sleeping in a recliner and Humphrey sleeping behind it—it’s hilarious. To the right of that is him and me checking out a cardinal that knocked itself silly flying into our sliding glass door. What a gentle guy Humphrey was.

This one’s my favorite. Everyone’s on Dad’s lap while he tries to read a National Geographic. I’m pretty excited about that Cookie Monster puppet; Humphrey, not as much.


I rode as a kid, and my dad tried like hell to get a good shot over the years, so the stack of horse photos is the tallest of them all.

This is Dad on Dixie Baby when he was a boy.

And the jumping ones are of Dad and me at about the same age, Dixie Baby again, I think, and my goofy pony Steady Eddie. You can see how safety gear has changed over the years! Thanks to Paul who so thoughtfully had those framed for me like that.


These locations were tough to distinguish since we’ve gone so many places, which I hadn’t thought about until now. There are Disney shots, clearly, but we went somewhere else just a few months earlier, and damned if I can tell where. Same bathing suits, same photo developing, mystery location.

I know Dad flew us to Bermuda and the Bahamas, and maybe Barbados? I’ve been to Barbados, I know that much. Seems kind of far for Dad to have flown to, though.

Now, the mystery pile of what are clearly US-based beaches must be from our summers of going to the Outer Banks. How fortunate we were.

A huge pile of shots is from the West Indies, the island Kim loved so much called Bequia. I got so excited when I found underwater photos of a bunch of squid from there, thinking, “Turns out I’ve been fascinated by squid for decades before I got squid tattoos!” I think maybe Kim took those photos, though? Which would be a cool discovery, seeing as how I keep unearthing things we both had in common.

All About Me

Not to toot my own horn exceedingly, but there are a lot of photos of just me. Seriously, a lot.

Apparently I used to dress up in other people’s clothes, wear weird hats, and walk around with odd things on my feet (a butter dish, a dust pan).

The school portraits: not so interesting. But, once I had them in a pile and then guessed about their order, I might as well snap a pic of their progression. I think my expression remarkably remains the same as I grow older.

Kim, Mom, Me

Back to the family photos. Our lives got really busy after Dad died, Kim getting married and having Katherine, Mom with her work and then getting remarried, me just growing up.

There are very few shots of the three of us, with the exception of two trips: When Kim and Mom visited me at grad school in Montana, and then when Mom and I drove across the country when it was time for me to move back to the East Coast.

I’ve written about the Cox Girls Tour, as Kim called it, previously in Wish You Were There. Remember when Kim tried to sleep in a tent? Yeah, hard to forget that one.


My mom was absolutely full of enthusiasm for every aspect of life. I knew that, of course, but just a glance at photos of her doing basically anything reminds me what a bright light she was.


I’m still not ready to look through these, because you can see just at a glance Katherine’s health deteriorating through the years. The early ones are just as heartbreaking in her beauty.

So begins Project Digitize Old Photos.

When actual digitizing will begin is a mystery, seeing as how my new scanner software isn’t compatible with my iPad (doh!). Tracy has rigged his laptop to interface with the scanner, but it runs on Ubuntu, which means I don’t even know how to start it up. Where there’s a will there’s a way, though, and in my case where a bunch of photos is taking up room in the trailer, I will find a way to get them online and then back in Paul’s attic. This is a good start, though!

5 thoughts to “Wish You Were There Photos”

  1. You are so blessed to have this wonderful collection of photos. They’re priceless little pieces of life. And your parents! So cute. Love the school pic progression. Wish I could do that.

  2. My mom has reels and reels of slides that I have said I will take off her hands if she ever feels the urge to throw them out. I imagine if it comes to that, I’ll have similar struggles identifying a lot of places.

    1. I found the pictures of us riding Eddie without any tack in the snow, too. Not one photo of you otherwise! I must’ve taken those out and put them in a special album. 👯