We took my son to Fort Rickey for the first time today! It is a petting zoo that my mom used to take me to when I was little. My mom wanted to do something special as a family to celebrate her birthday, and I suggested Fort Rickey. I wanted my mom to be with us the first time we went because it was such a special treat for me when I was young.
I dug out the old photo albums and found a bunch of photos we took there on two separate trips. Once when I was Oliver's age and once when I was about five years old. Inspiration struck as I flipped through the pages. How fun would it be to try to recreate these photos with Oliver! I took out my favorites and put them in a plastic baggie, charged my camera, agonized over outfits, and got my mom and husband on board (well, mostly). Things didn't go quite as planned, but it was a blast trying!
The top image is from when I was just about two or three years old. I'm actually standing behind my mom here. I have no clue who that cute little boy is! The building in the background is still there and hasn't changed a bit.
This next one was a really hard shot to try to copy. Oliver was just never in the right place and we had already used up all our ice cream cones of food by the time we made it to the goats. I think I want to try this one again the next time we visit since it is one of my favorites. It's just a really great shot, framed well, plus you can see the weird horses on my mom's skirt.
This shot with the deer was another hard one to recreate. My husband started getting frustrated because we were moving around too much and were never in the right spots. We had to try it several times, but the deer didn't mind. In the top image, I'm wiping my hands on my bum after the deer licked food off my hands. My grandmother is in this one with us, so of course, I had to make sure my mom was in our version. Her head got cut off a little more so than my grandmother's did, but it was the best one. Again, no idea who that boy is, but he's pretty excited! And just for the record, I still don't like having deer slobber on my hands.
The next two are from when I was a little older than Oliver is now. I looked for the spool tables, but they didn't have them anymore. They did have rocks and stumps in the new goat area for the little guys to jump and sit on. That meant that Oliver didn't have to get down low to pet them. As I'm typing this, I realize that in this photo, I'm sitting the same exact way that Oliver sits all the time. Too funny.
Not only is this last photo my favorite Fort Rickey picture, but it is in the top ten favorite pictures of me as a kid. No one knows who that blond bombshell is...did he work there? Was he just visiting? No clue, but look at those arms! I'm sure I didn't notice at the time. It's just a really sweet moment. I brought the print with me today thinking I'd never be able to copy it. After we left the zoo and I was scanning through the images on the camera, I realized that my stepdad recreated the moment without even realizing it! My mom commented that he's like the blond kid all grown up. I'm good with that theory.
I had a lot of fun trying to recreate these images from my past with my mom and son, but more importantly, I felt like we were creating a tradition. It was a little like reliving a part of my childhood, while passing it on to my own child. At the same time, we created our own new memories. Memories that are unique to Oliver. Moments that only he could create.
I hope my son will flip through an old photo album when he is my age and get the same inspiration. I hope that some day I will get to be the grandma with her head cut off in the deer picture!
Cassandra Zingaro - photographer, mom, wife, owner of HeartStrings Photography and first time blogger