Forty years ago today

Today is our 40th wedding anniversary! Sadly, because of an accursed virus, we have to spend it 800 miles apart. Our relationship is strong, though, so we’ll abide.

I did flip through our old photos, though. Here’s one with my parents and her parents on our wedding day.

To grumble a bit…we’ve got all these ancient photos that I would nowadays immediately throw out. We just had a relative with a cheap kodak point-and-shoot wander about and snap pictures, and it shows — I take sharper, brighter photos of spiders than we’ve got of the early days of our marriage. Oh, well, it’s the life that matters, these pieces of paper will just end up in a landfill in a decade or two.

Now I just have to get her back home, but even that can wait. Better that she avoids the risk and stays healthy, and it’s also important that she not spread a virus on an 800 mile transit (we have no idea whether either of us have been infected, but it’s wisest to pretend we are. We don’t need to kill immunocompromised or elderly people so we can share a cupcake and a glass of ginger ale.)


  1. davidc1 says

    You can get a flat bed scanner ,it will scan negs and slides ,don’t know about chucking them out ,don’t
    you think your grand kids would like to see them a few years down the line?
    Come to that you can scan the photos themselves .

  2. Sean Boyd says

    I feel for you, PZ, even as a never-married type. It’s gotta be unpleasant to be alone on your anniversary. Well, save for that one group to keep you company: your P. tep. buddies, and the Horde. Okay, you’ve got two groups to keep you company: your P. tep. buddies, the Horde, and your online students. Fine, so you’ve got three groups to keep you company: your P. tep. buddies, the Horde, your online students, and your evil cat. Shit, so four groups to keep you company: your P. tep. buddies, the Horde, your online students, and your evil cat. But besides them, it’s gotta be unpleasant to be alone on your anniversary.

    Seriously, though, many happy returns!

  3. Sean Boyd says

    davidc1 @1,

    I get the sense that PZ wasn’t planning on doing the chucking, but was instead contemplating his own mortality.

  4. says

    I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and I remember when you used to call her your “trophy wife”. I knew you were just joking and that you guys are just as much in love now as you were 40 years ago. Congrats.

  5. charley says

    Congrats on your 40 year partnership! It’s a shame how many memories were captured on those garbage fixed-focus Instamatics back then when there were decent point and shoot 35 mm cameras for about $100.

  6. kestrel says

    Happy anniversary… when you get back together in the same state, you can have that glass of ginger ale and really appreciate it. Here is hoping that will be soon.

  7. says

    I had a nice 35mm Pentax back then, and access to a darkroom, so I shot lots of black & white photos of the kids (no one wants to see B&W anymore, except as arty stuff). Those came out nice and sharp, so I know there was decent camera gear out there. It’s just that we all got sold on those horrid plastic things. Instamatic. 126 film cartridges. Dropping them off at the drive-up 24 hour film processing booth. We had no idea what kind of garbage we were being served, but it was cheap and easy, the American way.

  8. mastmaker says

    I second davidc1. I did it myself about 8 years ago: Bought a Canon flatbed that also scans negatives and films, scanned every single piece of film at home, cataloged by Y/M(/D)/Subject and saved them with one at home and one off-site backup (not a fan of cloud services). I still have the films – don’t have the heart to destroy them – but I no longer have to worry about losing the precious mementos of our lives.

  9. charley says

    Pentax in 1980-check, B+W darkroom-check, big Cutty Sark model for Christmas-omg me too. Your recent recollections are kind of freaking me out, PZ. I’m guessing you also perused the Edmund Scientific catalog as a kid.

  10. blf says

    An alternative approach — albeit you need a TARDIS to accomplish this — is to not bother taking pictures. That, sans the TARDIS, been my method since before writing was invented (excepting a brief period of time when starting University, when I had a very good, if unusual, camera (Minox 35(GT?))).

  11. says

    Yeah, Edmund Scientific + hanging out at Radio Shack + plus browsing the garbage heaps at the Boeing surplus store + dissecting roadkill.

  12. jack16 says

    Happy anniversary PZ.
    Virus suppression, supplement with D3. Google grc + vitamin D. Might help.
    Photos, dates and names, on the backs.


  13. nomdeplume says

    Aw, PZ, you look so young and serious…But happy anniversary to both of you. Hopefully next year we can all celebrate anniversaries properly.

  14. birgerjohansson says

    Please scan the photos as a back-up. And write down on the far side of the original photos which people can be seen on the photos, their relationship with you, and the occasion /approximate date of the event. I have saved tons of my parentes, uncles and aunts’ photos, but without context, they are like those ancient pots looted from mesopotamia.

  15. unclefrogy says

    the memorabilia is to my mind more valuable then all the the other stuff found in antique stores, it is stuff like that tat Ken Burns uses to tell his stories or professor Gates finds the roots. I am in possession of a large hamper full of ephemera from as far back as my great grand father who I never met. I try not to cling to it nor my life but the past is not mine nor is the present I just am here now and the history is something I can pass to who may want it
    just label everything so when you are gone it can be identified.
    uncle frogy

  16. jonmelbourne says

    Sorry you’re apart for your anniversary, PZ. I hope she makes it home safely.

  17. magistramarla says

    Congratulations on your 40th anniversary, PZ! When Mary returns, the two of you should have a wonderful celebration!
    Coincidentally, as I’ve been diligently opening boxes after our recent move, I opened some boxes this weekend containing family pictures and albums. Besides all of the many pictures of our five kids, we also have many of the pictures of both of our families from over the years. My husband had a great-great grandfather who was “the good doctor” mentioned by Edison. Edison, Rockefeller and Ford would travel into the Catskills to visit him. The doctor’s son became one of the first pilots in WWI, and we possess the pictures that he took from above Europe as he flew.
    My husband is slowly digitizing those pictures that we own. We feel proud to be the keepers of our families’ histories.
    Be proud of those low-quality pictures, PZ! They may well become family treasures in a generation or two.

  18. says

    Congratulations — and save those pictures somehow, even if you just keep them in an album and don’t go digital. And even if you don’t label all of them as suggested above, label a few representative samples with lots of people. Even if none of your kids are interested now, you have grandkids already and you never know when the geneology bug will hit people. My sibling went crazy with it shortly after a relative died, collected every photo they could find of older generations, and bemoaned the fact that most of the photos were basically anonymous — my grandparents did a lot of travel between the world wars and after the second one, and visited lots of relatives in other countries, and so we have a lot of old photos of strangers. Some of them are relatives, some are just people they met while traveling, and some are probably relatives we knew but when they were much younger and had different hairstyles and were basically unrecognizable.

  19. garysturgess says

    40 years! That means you must be … hmm, carry the 2, add 4 … at least 20!

    Congratulations, and commisserations that you have to be apart.

  20. magistramarla says

    Adiposis Dolorosa @ 26
    I also love PZ’s mother’s dress. I had one that looked just like it in coral for my 8th grade graduation in 1971.