My father’s birthday was last month and this year what he wanted was to take a family day trip to Columbia State Historic Park to take old-timey family photos. Columbia is about an hour and a half away and full of historical reenactment of gold rush-era life. Since it’s so close everyone I know has visited Columbia at least once on a school field trip. It’s a great place if you love history and both my parents certainly do. We got there early enough in the day to bring faux-bentos and have a picnic lunch before exploring. We all drove up in one car for maximum togetherness, which means Grandma and Grandpa (or Ama and Papa, as we call them) were treated to many scream-songs and “are we there yet?” queries from Isobel. Perhaps it’s a good thing they’ve grown a little hard of hearing over the years.
Since we arrived early in both the day and the season, it was actually a little bit chilly during our picnic. We definitely preferred a breeze to the heat.
Isobel picked me a lovely bouquet which lead to a great discussion about only picking your state’s flower when it grows in your Mama’s flowerbed in the backyard. Oops.
We made an appointment with Kamice’s Photographic Establishment and then wandered around the town. By this time it had warmed up slightly so the weather was perfect.
My Dad didn’t just want old-timey photos just because (although I’m sure that was part of it). We were actually looking to recreate two photos on this particular trip. The first was was taken in Columbia in 1982 when I was a very worried-looking three year old. My sister was just a n00b sitting on my Mother’s lap. It’s a great photo and one of our family’s favorites. I am actually wearing my Grandaddy’s sister’s baptism gown in the photo and so my parents have been itching to recreate this shot ever since Isobel has looked large enough to fit into Aunt Jesse’s dress.
We brought this photo with us to Kamice’s. The other photo we wanted to recreate was a genuine antique family photo. It featured one of the great grandmother’s I’m named after, Carrie, and her daughter, Aunt Jesse of the dress. Carrie is sitting down and toddler-baby Jesse is hugging her from behind, her arms thrown around her mother’s neck. It’s a precious photo but we didn’t have one handy.
I was a little nervous about going to Kamice’s. Anthony and some friends and I actually spent a disastrous birthday in an old-timey photo place like this one, and the bad memory of that experience has become legend among our friends. Our experience couldn’t have been further from this memory. We had a great time and the mother-daughter team that worked there were extremely patient, kind, and willing to roll with the punches of trying to get a four year old to take direction. They made it a fun experience and let Isobel try on all the hats they owned while I took photos.
For Isobel the studio was a blast because what is a place like this except for a giant dress-up box? She practiced all sorts of faces for the camera, including this new version of the cheese-smile. (It needs some work.)
And the old-timey photos? They are fantastic.
The mother-daughter shot turned out so cute they are adding it to their sample book.
I told Anthony that the next family shot we will take there shall involve ponchos.
We had such a fantastic trip and my Dad had a great birthday. In the end that’s all that matters.