“If you don’t think photos are important, wait until they are all you have left.”

I have no idea who said this originally, but I wholeheartedly agree, and I have posted this quote on my Facebook page and on my Instagram page a time or two.

Photos may seem silly and annoying to some and some absolutely hate having their photos taken, but just think of it this way – some day, those photos of you could be the one thing that brings peace and joy to your loved ones.

This past weekend, I found some old photo CDs and spent much of the afternoon looking through them, reminiscing about the past.

Those photos – some of which were taken more than 65 years ago – evoked so much emotion. The pictures I found of my parents from when they were in their prime to those that were taken just a few years before they passed away definitely brought me joy. They made me smile, laugh and yes, maybe even tear up, but my heart was happy looking at them.

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I saw a photo of mom with all her siblings that was taken at a family reunion many moons ago. There was a photo of my dad with some of his siblings taken at his birthday party shortly before his Alzheimer’s took over. The smiles on my parents’ faces nearly brought tears to my eyes. It made me think of all the good times we’ve shared.

Leona Schneider (front, right), the author's mom, is pictured with her siblings, (clockwise from bottom left) Terry, Lucille, Josephine, Irene and Victor. The photo was taken at a family reunion. (Contributed)
Leona Schneider (front, right), the author's mom, is pictured with her siblings, (clockwise from bottom left) Terry, Lucille, Josephine, Irene and Victor. The photo was taken at a family reunion. (Contributed)

Red Schneider (front), the author's dad, is pictured with some of his siblings, (back from left) Doris, Jimmy and Alvin. The photo was taken at Red's birthday party. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)
Red Schneider (front), the author's dad, is pictured with some of his siblings, (back from left) Doris, Jimmy and Alvin. The photo was taken at Red's birthday party. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)

I found a picture of my paternal grandparents that was reminiscent of two paintings, "Grace," which features an old man praying over bread and "Gratitude," which features an old lady praying over a Bible. My grandparents combined the two and had a photo taken. It’s so beautiful.

Looking at that photo instantly brought me back to Sunday dinners with them in their cute little house in Meire Grove. I could almost smell the ham cooking in my grandma’s wood stove in the basement and the scent of my grandpa’s pipe, which he was always puffing on. I could hear their voices, drenched in a heavy German brogue.

I also came across a black and white photo I took of my inlaws, Vic and Lynn Edenloff, while they were fishing on their dock on Lake Ida while their three grown children – Lee, Al (my husband) and Vicki – were fishing in a boat not far from shore. That photo ended up being used on their headstone after they died in 2009, sadly less than three weeks apart.

A photo taken by the author is now etched in the headstone of her in-laws, Vic and Lynn Edenloff. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)
A photo taken by the author is now etched in the headstone of her in-laws, Vic and Lynn Edenloff. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)

Seeing that photo made me think of Vic, who sang the best little diddies, loved the Twins, lived to tell stories and smoked a pipe. And Lynn, who hosted the best Christmas Eve celebrations, made the best Swedish meatballs, had a heart of gold and who cared so deeply about family.

Another photo I found was of my own siblings. It’s a black and white photo taken several years before I was even born. All five of them – Donna, Alan, Steve, Karen and Mike – were sitting in a row oldest to youngest. They all have sweet, innocent smiles on their faces, which for some reason always makes me chuckle.

The author's siblings, oldest to youngest from left, Donna, Alan, Steven, Karen and Mike, in a photo taken before she was even born. (Contributed)
The author's siblings, oldest to youngest from left, Donna, Alan, Steven, Karen and Mike, in a photo taken before she was even born. (Contributed)

Another photo captured an image from my graduation day. It showed me and three of my best friends – Tracy, Trena and Jen. Coincidentally, I just visited with them last Friday. My face and my abs hurt so bad the next day from all the laughs we shared. Seeing that picture of us brought back a flood of memories.

Echo Press reporter, Celeste Edenloff (left), is pictured on her graduation day in 1990 with her three best friends, (front from left) Jennifer Akerson and Trena Eller and (back) Tracy Vlaminck. All four are still friends today and regularly get together. (Contributed)
Echo Press reporter, Celeste Edenloff (left), is pictured on her graduation day in 1990 with her three best friends, (front from left) Jennifer Akerson and Trena Eller and (back) Tracy Vlaminck. All four are still friends today and regularly get together. (Contributed)

I am one of those people who loves to take photos. Lots and LOTS of photos. And the reason why is because looking back at all those photos on Sunday made me so happy. I don’t think I stopped smiling the entire afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed that walk down memory lane.

Photos capture moments, people, places, items in your life that may not always be there. Photos can evoke the memories and feelings that go with those moments, people, places, items. That is why I say take the photo. That is why I take so many and why I will treasure each and every one.

“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.