Dad at 4 Years Old

As we work on family photos, here is a professional one of Dad at four years old. The year would have been 1930.


What a great family photo…

Family-photo-early-1950sThis is a photo taken in 1953 with Kodachrome slide film (the quality up close is amazing!) and it is so fun to see these people in their prime, as only Gene, Marlys, Nancy and Janice are still with us.

Back row left to right: Adelaide “Addie” (nee Borsch) Wachsmuth; Carol Wachsmuth; Margaret (nee Fitzgerald) Borsch; Marlys Borsch; Clara (nee Haefer) Borsch; Dorothy (nee Wolla) Borsch holding daughter Nancy Ann).

Front row left to right: Gene Wachsmuth; William “Bill” Borsch; Ed Wachsmuth (holding he and Addie’s grandaughter, and Gene & Carol’s first born daughter, Janice).

By the way, this photo was taken at Clara Borsch’s house (the one she and husband John E. Borsch built in 1922 at 4500 Garfield Avenue South in Minneapolis, MN.

Note: John & Clara Borsch were Bill’s grandparents and Nancy, Steve, Jeanne and Mary’s great-grandparents. John passed away in 1949 and Clara, seen in the back row right next to Dorothy holding Nancy, passed away in 1956 shortly after Steve was born.

Photos of Dad and Mom

Slowly-but-surely I’ve been going through the thousands of photos scanned from Mom and Dad’s house after Dad passed. Here are a handful that I thought should be added here:


No idea where this photo is from, but this is before Nancy was born


This was taken at Dad’s parent’s house (Clarence and Margaret Borsch) in south Minneapolis

Dad in South Minneapolis


I’ve been scanning family photos like crazy and came across this one…a photo I’d never seen before. I’m going to guess Dad is in his late twenties or early thirties as he is sitting by his folk’s house in south Minneapolis near Roosevelt High School.

Dad’s Photo Boards

When Dad passed away I had scanned in dozens of photos and from that selected a few I could use for photo boards. You know…the ones on easels at someone’s reviewal and at the church during the funeral and luncheon.

I created these in CollageIt (the ‘Pro’ version), made them in to high resolution PDFs, and then imported those PDFs as images in Photoshop. From there I saved them as JPGs and had Costco’s Photo Department print them on foam-core board for something like $16 apiece.

Now that we’re downsizing (we’re putting our house on the market in the next several weeks), I came across these boards and, unfortunately, we can’t take them with us. Instead I’ve just finished uploading the original, high resolution images of them here to my Flickr account if you’d like to see them bigger.







A 1960 Christmas and Mom’s Windows

One wonderful memory my sisters and I have from Christmas appears in the first photo below. Mom would take cartoons, photos, or cards and freehand-paint them (with acrylic tempera paints) on to our picture window. There is a color photo of one of Mom’s windows from a later year in a box somewhere at my house, but I’ve got too much going on with the holidays to dig through containers of photos right now. Will do so soon since I *think* it shows a scene Mary remembers of a snowman, a hill and kids on a toboggan. Wish we had photos of all of the windows Mom painted.

These pics below were taken at Christmas in 1960. We lived near Valley View park in Bloomington, MN (which was a great place to grow up) and Christmases were always fun for we kids. That said, they probably weren’t always a delight for Mom when she had to drag us shopping and we protested like crazy, or for Dad since back then most toys were the sort that said, “Some Assembly Required”.

Nancy, Dad and me goof with Christmas presents but check out Mom's painted window!

Nancy, Dad and me goof with Christmas presents
but check out Mom’s painted window!

Steve, Jeanne and Dad

Steve, Jeanne and Dad

Nancy, baby Jeanne, Dad, Mom and me

Nancy, baby Jeanne, Dad, Mom and me

Dad and Mom Courting

The photos below are of Mom (Dorothy Wolla) and Dad (William Borsch) during their courtship in about 1951. They often told stories about walking around Lake Harriet before or after they went dancing, to a movie, or one of their other date activities.

Mom lived in an apartment in the Linden Hills area of Minneapolis just a few blocks from Lake Harriet (click here to see a satellite view) and they obviously enjoyed being so close to the lake. It is so fun to see these photos, especially of these two young people, obviously in love, and because of that love my sisters and I are here!

Click on any photo to view a larger size…

The only problem was that the photos were these really tiny “Packet Prints” and were only 2 1/4″ by 3 1/4″ so you had to squint to view them. This photo print size was pretty common in the 1940s and 50s since photo finishers probably wanted to keep printing costs down.

Packet Prints with photo sizes of 2 1/4" by 3 1/4"

The good news is that yesterday was my birthday and my wife bought me a gift I’d wanted for some time: an Epson V600 photo scanner. With it I can scan photos in significantly better quality than I’ve ever been able to do before and the bonus? I can scan them at much higher resolution and sizes (set up now for 6″ x 4″ but could scan versions for an 8″ x 10″ too).

Have you ever scanned old family photos? It is amazing how it has connected me to the people in the photos in ways I never expect. I’ve been scanning family photos for years and, as I tweak and modify the photos in Photoshop on my computer, end up being surprised.

As I touch up the photos, I think deeply about the people in those pictures, the time within which they were taken, what was happening historically, what they might have been thinking and feeling, and I come away with a much more profound experience than just looking at a few pictures in a slideshow and then going about my next activity.

It is what happened as I scanned and touched up these photos of a 21 year old woman who would become my mother and a 26 year old man who became my father. They were so young, so fresh, so full of hope and optimism, and just starting out in life. It makes me appreciate and love them so much more.

Hope you enjoy them.

Newly Discovered Photos of Dad

My sisters and I have found photographs all over Dad’s house and Nancy collated several older ones in a small box just this past week and most of them I had never seen before. As I thought about Dad today—the first Father’s Day without him—I thought I’d share just a few that delighted me out of this batch. More will be scanned and added as time allows.