Photos and the Lost Past

clutterThe weather has once again marooned Ken and I in the house. During the last 12 hours, we’ve had about three inches of rain. South of here in Chicago, they’ve had closer to five inches. We’ve even had rumbles of thunder and a few lightning flashes. Where monsoons are prevalent, people would wonder why I’m even mentioning this fact. But here, where I live, it is more likely to have a foot of snow than two inches of rain. But this post is not about the weather, really. I just had to whine a little about getting cheated out of Spring this year.

Being stuck in the house so often by the curse of weather, I’ve developed strategies to help the time pass. Like cleaning. Every once in awhile, I get the itch to pick up clutter. I hate to do hardcore cleaning, but clutter drives me nuts. With that said, I decided a rainy day was a good time to pick up a pile of stuff that had been sitting on the floor of the spare bedroom for months. And guess what I found? I came across a whole pile of amazing old photographs.

I don’t know why these photos were in boxes and envelopes instead of albums, but there they were. Perhaps they were the outtakes–you know, they weren’t deemed good enough to make an album. Or perhaps they were doubles of photos that did get into albums.  Or maybe when I got them, I never had the time to put them into an album. But no matter, there they were, and it was time to do something with them. The first step was to look at them. Amazingly, I remembered the exact moment when the photo was taken. I could tell you the event and the approximate time they had been snapped, and some of these pictures date back to when I was 11 years old! I don’t have to tell you, that was a LONG  TIME AGO!

One by one, the photos showed me how rich my life has been. I saw my Girl Scout leaders and girl pals. I witnessed the 10th anniversary of my 8th grade graduation picnic. Then there were the rare photos of my Dad and ALL of his eight siblings at a family picnic. I think it’s the only picture that exists where all eight of them are together. Then there were pictures of my little girls playing in the bathtub with their boats and other toys. There were lots of photos of the first days of school taken by the same tree. Then there were pictures of family Christmases at different locations for both Ken’s family and mine, too. There was a picture of the night when Ken and I met for the first time.

As you might imagine, it was a lovely journey. But instead of cleaning out clutter, I spent much of the day going down memory lane. The question is now what do I do with them? That’s probably why this pile of photos was staged for a decision in the first place. I just CAN’T throw them out.

Digital photography is great in many ways–especially when it involves tangible clutter. But viewing digital pictures is an entirely different experience.  Finding a file of digital picture is not as emotional as unearthing a box of old photos. There’s something about touching them and remembering why and when the photos were taken. I think as a person gets older, it’s fun to see you were young and carefree as a child, teenager, young adult and then as a young parent. Most photographs capture the happy times. At least I NEVER take photos of the hard times or the sad times or the painful times. My photos show a joyful journey and a personal history.

So, the next time you are cleaning out your clutter, beware of those unexpected elements that can derail you from our original intent. And if you’re  as lucky as I was yesterday to find lost memories, enjoy!

Barb

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Photos and the Lost Past

  1. I have a phone chat with one of my friends almost every evening. I have learned that is a good time to pick up the days clutter as we talk on the phone. I agree- print photos are like print books – there is something about holding them that outwieghs seeing them on a screen.

  2. I’ve scanned all mine in but keep the origonals in acid free boxes that are pretty and stacked on top of the bookcases. When I find photos like that, I think the person is thinking of me from where ever they are. I too love going down memory lane and clutter makes me crazy too. I just don’t have enough space for too much stuff.:) Just remember, the heat is coming and it will be more than we want.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s