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Our Parents Were Awesome: 20 Photos That Prove It

Before I had children, I always thought of the lives of my parents as beginning with my own. I never gave much consideration to the people they were and the lives they led prior to giving me my own. To me it seemed they had materialized shortly before I was born. Occasionally, I would stumble across a fuzzy photograph tucked away in an old paperback or crammed to the back of a junk drawer — a snapshot of the two of them at a dance, my dad working on an old car while my mom looked on, my mother proudly wearing my father’s letterman jacket with ’80s bangs — and think, “How weird is that?” or maybe even “How embarrassing!” before going on with my self-absorbed teenage existence.

It was only after I had children that I came to the realization that my parents were once young people, too. My mother was a teenage girl who fancied herself a likeness to Pat Benatar and dreamt of traveling to places far beyond the small town in which she was raised. My father was a high school football star who loved the Eagles and had a head full of thick, curly, red, hair not yet thinned by the years to come.

I know now what I didn’t know then. My parents were once stylish and cool and in the know. My parents were awesome.

Recently, Anders has begun to show signs that I embarrass him. I’ve gotten the “Ew! Yuck!” when kissing him good bye and suddenly my inquiries into his day are met with exasperated sighs and even the occasional “I don’t want to talk about it with you, mom!” Perhaps my payback for all those years spent rolling my eyes at my mom and begging my dad to drop me off around the corner has finally arrived.

It felt a lot like fate when I happened upon Eliot Glazer’s site, My Parents Were Awesome, a few days ago. Filled with reader-submitted photos of parents “before the fanny packs and Andrea Bocelli concert,” the site is a must for your blog roll. It’s a daily reminder that before the days of school lunch packing, carpool driving, and little league coaching, we were all once trendy and free-spirited kids with our own desires and dreams to chase.

The site has gone blog to book this year with My Parents Were Awesome: Before Fanny Packs and Minivans, They Were People Too, containing essays that accompany some of the amazing vintage photographs you will find on the site. I’ve picked a few of my favorites to share with you here, but make sure to check out Eliot’s blog for even more awesome parents.

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  • Your parents loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, too! 1 of 20
    Your parents loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, too!
  • Your mom was fashion-forward and your dad wore shorts a little shorter than you may be comfortable with. 2 of 20
    Your mom was fashion-forward and your dad wore shorts a little shorter than you may be comfortable with.
  • They loved the thrill of wind in their hair and even had hair to be windblown. 3 of 20
    They loved the thrill of wind in their hair and even had hair to be windblown.
  • They took silly vacation photos. 4 of 20
    They took silly vacation photos.
  • They went through a bikes-and-leather-vests phase. 5 of 20
    They went through a bikes-and-leather-vests phase.
  • They loved flashy cars. 6 of 20
    They loved flashy cars.
  • Your parents once had matching afros! 7 of 20
    Your parents once had matching afros!
  • Your mother had boots you may actually be willing to wear today. 8 of 20
    Your mother had boots you may actually be willing to wear today.
  • Your parents could cut a rug back when the phrase ‘cut a rug’ was cool. 9 of 20
    Your parents could cut a rug back when the phrase 'cut a rug' was cool.
  • They traveled to far away places together. 10 of 20
    They traveled to far away places together.
  • They posed for silly pictures. 11 of 20
    They posed for silly pictures.
  • Your mom and dad may have fallen victim to jean shorts back in the day. 12 of 20
    Your mom and dad may have fallen victim to jean shorts back in the day.
  • Your parents got cozy in a photobooth together. 13 of 20
    Your parents got cozy in a photobooth together.
  • They may have been free-loving, flower children. 14 of 20
    They may have been free-loving, flower children.
  • They wore awkward couple Halloween costumes. 15 of 20
    They wore awkward couple Halloween costumes.
  • Your parents looked fabulous on their night out on the town. 16 of 20
    Your parents looked fabulous on their night out on the town.
  • Your parents were once bold and carefree. 17 of 20
    Your parents were once bold and carefree.
  • Your parents may have had a wild spring break at the beach. 18 of 20
    Your parents may have had a wild spring break at the beach.
  • Your mom made a bouffant look hot. 19 of 20
    Your mom made a bouffant look hot.
  • They even looked smoking in their bathing suits. 20 of 20
    They even looked smoking in their bathing suits.

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