Revisiting My Childhood in Pictures

My father loved to take pictures with his Minolta 35 mm camera and through the years he accumulated thousands of slides. My younger brother became the curator of his slides and has been converting the good ones to digital format. His Christmas present to us this year was a DVD with many pictures from my childhood. In the photo at the top of this post you can see our Ford station wagon in Yosemite National Park.

In 1959, when I was eight years old, my father’s work required him to go to California for several weeks. Instead of going by himself, my parents decided to take the whole family on a cross country journey to see America.

I spent many hours crammed in the back seat of our station wagon, usually on the hump in the middle between my two brothers. I wonder how many times my mother had to turn around to tell us to be quiet?

Our family of 5 traveled cross country and back in this Ford Station wagon in 1959

I had so much fun looking at the old photos converted from my Dad’s slides. Each one brought back so many memories. As I was going through the photos I found a few that I unknowingly replicated as an adult during our RV travels. On the left is me in 1959 on the Big Tree in Redwood National Park and on the right that’s me in 2007 at the same tree.

Dad took a picture of Yosemite Valley that looks a lot like the one I took almost 50 years later. It looks like we were standing in the exact same spot.

Here’s our two pictures of the Yosemite tunnel at Tunnel View. I love the old cars in Dad’s picture.

Mount Rushmore in 1959 and 2006.

While we were in California we went somewhere almost every weekend. We visited national parks, theme parks, San Francisco, and even went panning for gold. I’ll never forget our trip to Disneyland. Where were the crowds back then?

Disneyland in 1959

Dad loved gathering the family together in the basement for slide shows. Thank you to my brother for putting these slides into digital form to be enjoyed over and over again.

20 thoughts on “Revisiting My Childhood in Pictures

  1. We did almost the same trip a year later! We stayed in a cabin in Yosemite, no reservations needed! Do you know what your brother used to convert the slides? I’d like to do the same thing with my dad’s collection.
    Thank you for posting these.

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  2. Fantastic – love it! My dad took bunches of slides as well, and I have them safely stored in our climate controlled storage unit. What a wonderful gift from your brother. So fun to see the photos 50 years apart. Oh how I wish we didn’t have to endure the massive crowds at the parks these days. Really takes the joy out of a visit, but such is the price of globalization!

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  3. How wonderful, Beth! It is fun to see the pictures side by side. Must have made your Christmas extra special. And those old cars are great. Maybe I need to leave some in my photos for future generations to enjoy. Your family was quite adventurous for a time before freeways. We are in Gulf Shores on our way back west. Cancelled Skidaway and headed to FL 3 days early because of the cold weather. It has caught up with us here, but we have had some very nice days too. Camp Lake Jasper was great for our stay in SC. Happy New Year!


  4. What a thoughtful gift! I can only imagine how much fun it was looking at the old photos again. How neat that you have since replicated several:) It is a LONG trip cross country in our comfortable MH with highways. That must have been a really long trip on back roads, no A/C, and three in the back. But what an adventure as a child.

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  5. My dad used to sell Minolta cameras, so we too had a huge archive of slides by the time I became an adult. I became the curator of the them and I had the ones I wanted printed. I put together an album for myself and one for my brothers. I get such a kick out of looking at those pictures of such wonderful bygone days.

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  6. Wow. What a wonderful peek into your past. My favorite shot is the first one, with your lone station wagon alongside all that grandeur. But I also love the then and now shots. Remarkable. Happy trails in the new year!

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