My dad died yesterday.
What better to start off with than this adorable picture?
While the wildflower pictures I was seeing drove me to GSMNP for the weekend, the rivers, cascades, and waterfalls were among my favorite memories from my 40th birthday trip there two years ago, so there was no way I’d miss those on this trip.
Last weekend, I drove up to Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the weekend. I follow the park on Facebook and Twitter, and I’d been seeing lots of pictures of beautiful wildflowers, so I got the itch and decided I had to spend the weekend in the park. On Friday, I left work and headed up to Maggie Valley, then took the Blue Ridge Parkway into the park.
As I mentioned in last week’s post, my parents “got” me in July 1974, and then headed off to Walloon Lake two days later for our annual two-week summer vacation. This year, the typical three-family core was sharing the cottage: Goudies, Bakers, and Dunns.
Let’s get one thing out of the way:
I was a damn cute baby
First, a note about the series. I spent last weekend in Rochester at my parents’ house and discovered more than a thousand old family photographs – several boxes of photos that belonged to my late Grandma Goudie (Fran). And oh by the way, there are also boxes with rolls and rolls of print film negatives from my Dad’s early life. And then the front hall closet and chest of drawers full of print film from throughout the course of my life. So I may have to revise my numbering system at some point. For now, though, onward!
Now with me
In the first 75 minutes of April 30, 1974, I was born in Pontiac, Michigan. My birth mother was 18 years old, and her interests included crocheting and roller skating, among other things.
I’m sure most people know this already, but I was adopted into the wonderful Goudie family (my original name: Marc Boring). I have a two-page adoption summary that gives an overview of what my birth parents were like at the time, which is why I know the roller skating tidbit. Who wasn’t into roller skating in 1974?
The summary document also describes what their families were like, and a very high-level family medical history. That’s a definite benefit of being adopted: during medical intake, I never have to answer any questions about family medical history, instead deflecting all those questions with one word: adopted.
When I was a teenager and my parents were showing me my baby book (wonderfully under-completed, like most baby books) and adoption papers, I spotted something in the paperwork that they had missed: my birth mother’s full name and address. So I’ve known for more than 25 years who my birth mother is. She tried to get in contact with me in the late 1990’s, but I declined through an intermediary. Those are probably stories for another blog post though. Let’s get to cute baby pictures instead.
Then I was got
Another great thing about being adopted is your parents talk about the day they “got you.” Biological children are “had”; adopted children are “got.” Bill and Jan got me when I was around ten weeks old from the adoption agency in Pontiac. These pictures were taken at the agency during one of final pre-got inspection:
If you’re wondering what child safety seats were like in 1974, I offer you this picture:
Front seat, baby!
I should note that these pictures were also before I got my Jan-implemented sense of baby style, so don’t blame her for my ten week old clothing choices. There will be plenty of time for that in upcoming posts.
(I am kidding, I’m sure she dressed me before taking me out of the agency or let my dad take these pictures. Saddle shoes = dead giveaway) Also, I’m 99% sure she also chose Doug and Bill’s outfits on this day. Doug’s, you probably already guessed, but wait until you see Bill’s below.
And then home
My parents had built a home in Rochester in 1970, so that’s where I went to join them and Doug as my new family. Then we took a series of pictures on the front steps, with me looking fabulous.
Then I made lots of new friends
I had a steady stream of visitors to the house to make my acquaintance.
Note the trailered boat behind my Grandma in the driveway. Only two days after getting me, my parents took me on my first trip to:
Next up: Walloon Lake 1974
I usually have the next post or two worked out, but my computer with all the pictures is currently being repaired, so we’ll have to wait and see. Hopefully I won’t have to miss a week.
My Life in 35mm is a series of posts with the story of my life as recorded on the slides of my dad and other family members. This series is updated weekly (mostly). To get email updates of new posts, subscribe at the bottom of this page.
You can also view all posts in the My Life in 35mm series.
Warning: this post turned out to be long. Sorry, Betsy.
We spent some time talking about the early cousins in the last post, and we’ll continue that in this post, along with the appearance of a brother. I guess he wasn’t my brother when he was born? So confusing…anyway.
Last time, we took my parents from childhood through to roughly high school. This time, they meet in college, get married, and go to Europe a couple times.
Things happened before I was born. Long before I was born.
That may be a difficult concept for modern young people to consider, and it took me a while to come to terms with it, but all this photographic evidence eventually won me over. Let’s explore.