Yesterday, thanks to inspiration from recent posts by various bloggers, I sat on my butt for hours and cleaned out the remaining photo albums in my possession. Initially the impetus was to get the backs of pictures labelled. It turned into an overhaul of sorts.
I have already passed on all the baby pictures of my three children, their chronological albums and mementos to each of them respectively. At least they have every thing I’ve taken over the years. I love their pictures, remembering the moments when they were babies, learning to crawl, eating dog food from the dog bowl, being silly-kid goofy, school memories…but I decided long ago that I wanted them to have those memories for themselves now, as they begin their families and lives as adults, rather than finding all these things stashed in a box in 40 years when they are charged with cleaning out an empty house.
I have been holding onto a few vacation scrapbooks, an album of pictures my own father had when he passed, and also a varied group of photos we got of our kids and ourselves when my husbands mother passed.
In conjunction with my archivist, aka daughter Alison, I decided that the vacation pictures needed to be divided among each sibling so now all three have memories of past family trips to Hawaii and very early trips to our own Pacific coast. We found a few that made us roar with laughter.
The other sets of pictures included a lot of repeat school pictures that each child already has, a few baby pictures that were divided into respective, appropriate sibling piles, some of me during the 1980’s, and some of my husband.
Alison asked specifically that this one make an appearance on the blog and noted the likeness found in the caption.
As to the multiple beer bottles sitting alongside the baby bottles on the counter…I have no idea or excuse.
The only really old pictures I have, meaning pre-marriage/kids, are a few random baby/young kid pictures of me my dad was given when he and my mother divorced. We found one picture of my maternal grandmother from 1959, the year I was born, and quite a few of my paternal grandmother both as a young woman and very late in life. Those will be nice to show Miss G and Miss C when they are able to understand the familial relations.
Actually most of the photos we still have of my own fathers family were collected, as copies, in a little booklet someone put together after his death.
The last album was my wedding album. It was in bad shape, and I never really realized just how not-good most of the pictures were. The situation then was one of those friend of the family photographer things that you only regret later when you discuss cost savings versus clear faces and meaningful scenes. Plus, the photos themselves had been placed into an album that really wasn’t suited for keeping photos in good condition. Anyway, I found duplicates of duplicates. I found four different sizes of the same photo numerous times. I found blurry photos next to identical photos that are clear. I found photos that clearly were taken just to use up a roll of film. Yes, film was still a thing in 1983 for those who may only know digital. I found a series of photos, most people pictured in those photos unknown to me, of the quintessential ‘fill the car with balloons and toilet paper so the bride and groom can’t see to drive away from the reception’ festivities that was often the highlight of young wedding attendees back in the day.
Needless to say, and I believe that I did actually, not long ago in another post (that I don’t want to find and link to right now) that these photos certainly hold very different meaning for me and my situation at the present moment. Looking at them now, they evoke more nostalgia for just how odd the 1980’s were, rather than happy thoughts, or what was, or if only types of memories. So I removed every single one from the yellowed, cracking album, went through each photo, chose the clearest ones in some sort of chronological order – pre-ceremony posed, ceremony, reception – and set those into the pile with the really old family photos for Alison to label, put into some sort of archival storage box, and hold onto.
One final photo to share, cataloging the horror that was often associated with the 1980’s. Although I loved my dress, could not one person have told me to tone down the blush…
Alison is now the appointed KEEPER OF THE ARCHIVES as the last remaining adult child living at home. When she leaves, the archives go with her, which means that if she has the storage space, I may just send my small box of childhood keepsakes along as well.
Alison and I spent hours on this project yesterday. We actually had quite a bit of fun, at least I did, until my thumbs and wrists gave out. I’m only assuming that, because organization was involved, it was fun for Alison as well. She asked a lot of questions about the pictures so I got to share stories. Those stories sparked memories, which of course sparked more stories. I believe she is planning to put the archives into the Cloud, so that her siblings have access to photos that they may want now. The originals will be stored with her, labelled and ready to pass on a small bit of our history to the next generation if they want it down the road.