The one thing I can say about the current state of shelter in place is that unfinished projects seem to be all around and calling out to be completed. In that vein, I have been working on family photographs and getting them organized, so in the future, there can be no doubt about who, what, where, and when a particular photograph represents. It is a large task, and unfortunately, in the case of many of my family photographs, not all those questions will be answered. However, that does not mean that we should not try.
The picture shown above is of my mother and father. I had not looked at this picture for a long time, but how the memory did rush back. I recalled things I did not know I even remembered. The picture was taken in the Spring of 1965. I had been taking pictures around our home, and my parents had come out to the front porch. I had just returned from the corner store (remember those?) with a nice cold bottle of Pepsi to enjoy. In just over a year from this picture, my father would die, and my mother would not smile for many years. Life is funny in that a photo taken on the spur of the moment can bring so many feelings front and center even 55 years later.
Time it was,
And what a time it was,
A time of innocence,
A time of confidences.
Long ago…it must be…
I have a photograph.
Preserve your memories,
They’re all that’s left to you.
Bookends Theme Simon & Garfunkel (1968)
If not you, then who? The time is now to get your family story organized so future generations will at least have the opportunity to learn about their family’s past and perhaps come to a better understanding of other family members and possibly even themselves. Just start and don’t worry about the perfect way to do it. Just get started and do the best you can.
You could upload to MyHeritage to use their colorization software free through the 23rd. It is surprisingly acccurate!
Thanks for the tip. I did try it and the result was good. However I do like the old B&W photos so I don’t think I will do too much with color.
Thank you, these old photos are fun to work with.
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good advice, but like all advice, it’s more honoured in the breach than in the practice. I’m as guilty as anyone at getting around to it, eventually. Problem is, “eventually” never comes.
I know all so well what you mean. I should practice more of what I preach.
What a lovely photo. And I love the porch! Good for you on the photos!
It was a split house that we rented. It was a great place to live. However my mother moved us out just a few months after my father’s death.
Oh I’m so sorry. It’s like a double loss.
Here in North Carolina, I have been working away also at organizing a large box of old photographs! It took days, but I finally have them at least in envelopes labeled as to their general category. I STILL need to actually label ech one with names…will I ever get it done! Yet I cherish them.
This story touches my heart Charles as your stories often do! I agree with a picture taken spur of the moment can bring back many memories! Thanks for sharing, Helen
Helen thanks for the comment. How about blogging about a few of those photographs you are working on? I am sure they have some good stories waiting to be told.
Beautifully written with timely advice. I certainly do remember the corner store, wonderful memories flooding back 🙂 This is truly a precious photo of your parents.
Yes this is a good photograph of the two of them together. While I do have a few others I wish I had more.
A lovely photo from the year I immigrated to Canada! The two look so happy, content and relaxed.
My parents were matched up well. They were very happily married, and you are right it shows in the picture.
Funny how photos do trigger the old memory cells. You’re right that it’s a good time to catch up on projects. I’ve made a little progress on scanning my paper files and getting the computer files organized. So much more to be done and I’ve barely touched the photographs. I recently got all of my mother’s albums as her dementia has gotten to where they are meaningless to her. That’s quite a stack to go through, not to mention my own bunch!
While I am sure I do not have nearly as many pictures to sort and organize as you, it still is a slog to get through. But they do bring back memories.
You are right that this is the perfect story to be telling our stories and sorting through boxes of photos. Telling the story is everything.
I tell my family’s stories through scrapbooking, as you know, and I’m also using this time to complete the 100 Day Project – using the time to write about myself – to tell my story – to record in words and photos my service with the Royal Air Force.
That’s a lovely photo of your parents.
If we don’t tell our stories and those of our family it is very likely they would be lost in one or two generations. I find your scrapbooks both interesting and very artistic.
Thank you very much! 🙂
I hope that in the case of photos like this one you can include a little of the story as you did here. I have written many blog posts from family photos and then had those printed into a series of books. That way future descendants will have more than just a title for the photo.
By doing this you are saving your family’s stories and history for generations. Who or how did you do the printing?
I used a French firm called Blookup. While it is expensive, I only needed one copy of each volume. I write about once a day and always include a photo, often in color. In four years I have made five books. They integrate smoothly with WordPress and I have been very pleased with the results. My grandkids enjoy them and I know they will continue to be treasured as I treasure written things like diaries and letters from my forebears.
What a bittersweet memory, Charles. I’m so glad you have this to cherish. And you’re right—I have been meaning to scan and label my photos—mostly those I’ve taken since I was seven and got my first Brownie camera up through today. But have I done it??? Nope…. Maybe your post will push me into action.
Amy, here is an extra push coming your way. Even if you do not scan them, just label them the best you can. It all does not have to be done at once. In fact if you just get the labeling done then who ever picks up the task next has that much of a head start. Sort of like my family research, I am just doing it as far as the family is living in the U.S. Anything else I leave for someone in the future to worry about. 🙂
It’s hard to label them as they’re all in albums (I was always compulsive about organizing my photos into albums), and most are dated on the front. I didn’t add names since the albums didn’t allow for that. If I scan, I add the names and dates. But scanning is SOOOO tedious and slow.
I agree about the scanning it is very time consuming. One thing I keep telling myself is anything I can do is better than what was done in the past.
I like that attitude!
“Just get started and do the best you can.” Amen! I hope you’ve prompted some people to get started or keep going. If I don’t have time to scan, I take photos with my cellphone. I hear you completely about old photos triggering memories—I’m sorry that one of your Dad and Mom brings back some very sad times for you. I’ve felt a bit sad over the last few days after coming across photos in a real estate listing of the house I grew up in. There was the apple tree I used to climb (now MUCH bigger), the lawns I used to have to mow as a teenager, the fields I used to play in with the neighborhood kids. For some reason the kitchen photo particularly captivated me. The phone used to hang on the wall behind the kitchen door. No longer in existence now, of course. How many conversations were once had standing there over the 22 years my parents owned the house.