a very treasured photo

this is the story of the special project that i have been working on as a surprise gift to dad!

to begin, we must go back to june, 1990 – yes, almost 22 years ago!

at this time, i was just starting to dabble in running. semi-regularly, i would invite myself out to run with dad [dad’s been a dedicated runner since the ’70’s, during the running boom of that era]. we’d go maybe 30 minutes or so around our chicopee neighbourhood. i only ever ran with dad, and right from day one, we’d have the best talks during our outings.

i don’t remember how the decision was made, but somehow i ended up on the start line, with dad, of the waterloo 10k classic road race, held on father’s day. i had never run that distance before! the furthest i had gone was maybe 5-6k?? but when you’re young and foolish and don’t know any better, you don’t set limits on yourself! [sidenote: dad and i last participated in this very same race on father’s day, 2010. that race recap is here!].

anyway, all was well and good in that very first race experience until just after the 9k mark. at that point, i kinda hit the wall. i was tired and did not want to run anymore! (locals: we were on seagram drive, by the railway track, nearing the stadium – all we had to do was continue a few hundred metres up the road, go around the seagram track, and cross the finish line)!

as i was saying i thought i needed to walk, dad grabbed my hand and kindly yet firmly guided me to keep running. we ran a few steps hand-in-hand, and my urge to walk disappeared. i finished my first 10k with zero walk breaks (back in 1990, race participants were pretty hardcore; the run/walk method of running was unheard of). that race and dad’s encouragement to keep running was a defining life moment, and cemented my lifelong attitude towards running: you are stronger than you think you are. don’t give up when the going gets tough.

now: unbeknownst to dad and i, during the few steps that we held hands and kept on running at that 9 k mark, someone snapped our photo!

"the photo"

[apart from the race circumstances, you know why i cherish this photo? 1) the expressions on our faces – we are not posed and smiling; you can see effort and concentration! 2) notice how our legs and feet are in symmetry! we were running as a partnership! 3) my shoes: that was my first pair of “real running shoes” – they were the adidas peachtree model, purchased at webco sports, and i loved them for years. 4) look at what we’re wearing: cotton tshirts! ’80’s styling! and those shorts were my mom’s! 5) how serendipitous that the photographer happened to be at the right place at the right moment – pretty amazing timing. add up all of these elements, and this is one precious photograph].

so, that is part one of our story.

part two: dad and i were frequent participants over the next several years in many of race director lloyd s.’s runwaterloo races – we ran the father’s day classic every year, and also enjoyed the oktoberfest 10k, the fridgee 8er, etc. at each of these races, lloyd would put out a photo display – and every year he included that photo of dad and me. i would be so embarrassed! dad and i always searched out our photo, though, and enjoyed a good chuckle, esp as our times got faster, and we improved as competitive runners. what a benchmark of how far we had progressed.

fast forward to about a year ago or so. one day, the idea popped into my head that it would be a great father’s day gift to get a copy of the “holding hands” photo and give it to dad as a surprise. i’ve gotten to know lloyd quite well over the years…

file photo: lloyd and me, father's day classic, june 2010

…so, i emailed him and asked if i could borrow the photo to copy. lloyd replied that he would dig out the photo and let me know when it was available.

well, i didn’t hear back from lloyd! and i kind of forgot about my request!

now, let’s jump ahead to the beginning of february/last month – out of the blue, i got an email from lloyd stating that he had found the photo i was looking for as he was prepping for the fridgee 8er. he’d leave it at runner’s choice [ooo, i had to go into our competitor’s store!] and i could make a copy and return it at my leisure. let me tell you, i was on cloud nine the rest of the day! what a fun surprise to arrange for dad!

i debated organizing the reprint now, but waiting til father’s day to give the photo to dad…but, i was too impatient and excited to wait that long! i decided to give dad the reprint as a just because random giftie!

first, it took lloyd’s original photo to black’s photography at fairview park mall (theOTHERstore is just down the street, so i went over one day after work) and had two copies made (i wanted one, too!). now, look what i found on the back of the original photo:

our picture was an entry in the photo contest!

the reprints turned out so well – i am super impressed with photo technology nowadays. no film negative, remember!

hard to tell original from reprint, eh?! on the L is the reprint; on the R is the original

i got a frame at michael’s and wrapped up dad’s surprise:

project complete - a few weeks from start to finish!

last eve, i went over to mom and dad’s for dinner. time to present dad with the surprise!

what could this be?!

dad was super-touched and pleased by the photo surprise! we reminisced for a bit about the fun races and places we have gone to, over the years.

then and now!

note to self: frame and display MY copy!

please tell me about a photo that is very special to you! it is very cool that we have blogs, digital cameras, computer files for our photos in this day and age; however, there is something to be said about the sentimental factor of hardcopy prints. all of my photo albums are prized possessions.

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  • dorry  On March 5, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    such an awesome story! and I love that he still had the photo. seriously – that photo! such a cherished memory, and so precious that y’all are holding hands. I have a number of photos from my childhood that are so near & dear to my heart – all family photos with my parents (when they were still married!) and my sisters. I love them all. we got my dad a digital photo frame a couple of years ago and I add updated photos to it for him a couple times/year…need to do that again before we move!

    • 1970kikiproject  On March 6, 2012 at 6:18 am

      thanks, dorry! photos really do mark chapters of our lives, don’t they. that is wonderful that you have photos from childhood all the way along, too. digi frame -> yes! thanks for the reminder of another photographic advancement! that is awesome that you gave one to your dad…oops, now you have another To Do on the march list!…

  • Zo  On March 5, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    This is a great story and post, Cathy! It’s great that you remember it all so vividly and then have the photo to show as well! And so lovely that you got the photo to give to your Dad!
    I have two similar photos that I love…both taken when I was a kid on vacation, one with my brother, one with my dad. Back then, I had just learned to fish..so there’s one picture of my brother and me standing with fish on our poles. The other one is of me standing next to my dad holding a pole with a fish…hands on my hips looking triumphant. I caught the fish but was too freaked out by it, so my dad had to hold the pole in the picture! [I believe the fish were thrown back, and my fishing days are long over…]

    • 1970kikiproject  On March 5, 2012 at 7:31 pm

      thanks for your enthusiastic feedback, zo! it is true – that whole story remains so strong that it is hard to believe it was 20+ years ago! i love your fishing photo stories, and that they involve your dad (and brother), too. i would love to see that expression on your face, holding that fishing pole! and i don’t blame you for NOT touching the fish – ick!

  • Lisa  On March 5, 2012 at 9:14 am

    What an amazing story and photo, Cathy! Wow! This is what life is about. Really.
    Defining moments such as this one—for you and your Dad.

    Amazing. This really touched me, but then when I saw the pics of Dad at the end, it brought tears to my eyes.

    I have a couple meaningful pics.
    One is my sister and I at my great aunt’s wedding (when she was 60 and I was 8)–it was the first wedding I attended (4 ppl in attendance) and my aunt was my favorite person, and died of cancer when I was 11.

    Another is a pic of my sister and I hugging, cheek to cheek when I was about 16.

    And the most recent are of matthew and I–one when he was a newborn sleeping with his head on my shoulder, and the other is us kissing when he was 1 or so (his mouth is wide open).

    I miss “hard copies” of pictures…. and love looking at photo albums that my mom made as I grew up (and thinking about looking at the albums over and over as I grew up)…

    Thanks for such a touching post and the push to remember my own memorable photos!

    Have a wonderful Monday!

    • 1970kikiproject  On March 5, 2012 at 9:57 am

      thank you so much for your thoughtful comments, lisa! i so appreciate when we can continue to chat via comments! that photo of you and your sister sounds precious. and you have shared some very cute and touching photos of you and matthew…so glad you have those, in print and on your blog! there is such a sentimental component to looking at photos! happy monday to you!

  • Gina Unger  On March 5, 2012 at 8:46 am

    what a wonderful surprise and story, here, cath! i am feeling all emotional for you guys as photos are HUGE for me! thanks for sharing this great blog with us! πŸ™‚

    • 1970kikiproject  On March 5, 2012 at 9:54 am

      thanks, gina! yes, you have a ton of photos from childhood right through the present time, i know! good to know that you see the value/treasure these snapshots of life, too! i think we both have a good assortment that tracks our friendship over the years, too!

  • The Orchard  On March 5, 2012 at 7:04 am

    What a great story, surprise, and photo! I love it!

    I have a few special photos, both involving my mom. The first one is a family photo taken at a family reunion. It was the last family photo of us, but we didn’t know it at the time. My mom had cancer in the photo, but we just didn’t know it yet. From that same reunion there is also a photo of my mom, sister and I sitting on the grass. I love it!

    Thanks for sharing your neat story!

    Enjoy your day.

    • 1970kikiproject  On March 5, 2012 at 8:22 am

      thanks, tricia! yes, both those photos would be dear to your heart. do you have them framed, or are they in an album? either way, i am glad you have those family photos. enjoy the sunshine today!

  • Stephanie  On March 5, 2012 at 7:00 am

    What a lovely post. This made me feel all warm and fuzzy on a Monday morning.

    • 1970kikiproject  On March 5, 2012 at 8:20 am

      thanks, stephanie! hope your monday goes well! i think a plasticine figure montage of father and daughter could have enhanced the post, even more! πŸ™‚

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