Favorite Photo

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 2 “Favorite Photo”

I had originally intended to write about this photo of my great-great-grandfather, Gage Spring.  I don’t know what happened to the original, but one day when I was setting up my scanner for more photo scans, this image was still in the scanner program cache memory.  I hadn’t used this scanner for a couple years.  In fact it was turned off and in the closet. Recognizing the image but not remembering whether I had the image stored on my computer, I copied over the image preview of the scan and saved it.  As it turned out, I did not have a copy of the image on my computer and to this day, I cannot find the original. This fuzzy image has been downloaded and linked to many ancestry trees.  If anyone has the original or at least a better copy, please let me know.

Because of the story surrounding how I came by the photo of Gage Spring, this was going to be my favorite photo.


That was until I received this photo from my niece, Tammie. This is a photo album that I thought was long gone.

When my mother, Mickie, and father, Arden, were divorced and my mother remarried, almost all of my first 8 years were treated as not happening; didn’t exist. My life was severely redacted. Any picture with Arden was put away or destroyed. No one talked about it. 

I loved my mother’s second husband, Fred. He adopted all three of her kids and was every bit “Dad” to each of us as well as our two sisters from their marriage.


But I did have a birth father and my life didn’t begin when I was 8.  When Tammie sent the picture of the photo album, I was so excited. It was like a bit of my childhood was being given back to me.  When she brought out the album, it was almost everything I hoped for. There were still no pictures of Arden, these had been removed, but lots of pictures of mom, my older sister, Merideth “Babe”, me, and my brother, Al (Blaine), and cousins.

There are very few names on the pictures so I will have some fun scanning, naming, dating, and placing the photos. There are a couple of people I don’t recognize right off so cousins will have to give me a hand with the some of these.

I have a lot of photos and it is difficult to pick a favorite. Each one is special in its own way. The pictures of us three older kids is special because it was a time when we were really close to each other and I miss that. The pictures of all five of us kids and mom and dad is special because we were very much one family.

But the picture of the old photo album is my current favorite because it represents memories found and the kindness of my niece in giving me back a little be of me.


Junction City, Oregon


  1. Susie says:

    Dan, not only was your life before 8 redacted, I did not even know you, Babe, and Al had a different father until your wedding day. To this day, I still know little to nothing of your birth father and his family and when the topic comes up am overcome with such a variety of emotions. Over all an intense jealousy of "my brothers and sister" and a complete disconnect with yours and Mom's life before Dad. Irrational, yeah but none the less it exists and is strong. I would love to learn more. Also you mention a photo with Mom, Dad and all five of us kids. I have never seen one. Can you send me a copy? I also have an envelope of old photos. I will see if the photo of Gage is in there.

    1. Dan says:

      Susie, I fully understand the irrational feelings when our early life comes up. I always knew about Arden, but it was never discussed and barely acknowledged. I think it caused Mom a great deal of pain but more pain to pretend it didn't exist than actually talk about it. Dad worked hard at making a life for all of us and was jealous of any mention of Arden. I was very conflicted for a long time. I knew Babe talked with Arden when she in her early teens but I didn't want anything to do with him. As I got older and moved out, there was less influence from Mom and Dad and more from Dede who couldn't understand how I could not want to see my father. It was Dede and her mother [Dede says it was her mother and Babe] who sent Arden the wedding invitation. I actually made them wait until just before the wedding when I was sure it was too late for him to come down. Boy, was I wrong. He dropped everything and flew down. I saw him the night before my wedding--the first time since I was six or seven. Talk about nervous!

      Just so you know, Babe, Al, and I never separated the five of us kids into "us" and "them". As far as we are concerned there is and always was just sisters and brothers.

      I'll dig around for a picture of all of us together.


  2. Susie says:

    Well that explains the disconnect. I really wondered through the years, how I could have missed you all being away and possibly spending time with the Olsens and I never noticed. Of course, kids are little ego-centrists. I was very young and could easily have missed all of it.

  3. Tammie Schiermeister says:

    Glad I could give this to you. I don't know for sure how I came to be in possession of it.

    1. Susie says:

      Can you send it to me too please Tammie.

      1. Dan says:

        I am in the process of scanning and fixing (as much as possible) all of the photos in the album. Once I am done, I will make it available to everyone.


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