A Picture Is Worth

Posted on April 22, 2012 11:37 am under General
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I’ve spent the last three days organizing photos. When my parents came to live with us, they brought boxes of photos. Some were theirs and others had belonged to their parents. I’ve done my own share of photo collecting over the years too. The bottom line? We have tons of photos. To be more precise, boxes containing 14 cubic feet of them. That’s a lot of snapshots! They didn’t get organized before our last move. We were dealing with three households full of furniture at the time. Photos seemed small in comparison. We did well to gather them together and store them in large boxes.

Three years later, we are preparing to move again and the photos have not been touched since we arrived. On Thursday, Calico purchased some photo boxes and I began the sorting and weeding process.

The job was dirtier than I expected. The photos don’t look dirty, but a lot of fine dust seeps into pictures that have been stored for a long time – some of them more than one hundred years.

The job was more fun than I had expected. I had never seen a picture of my maternal grandfather’s mother. There were many small treasures hidden among the photos: my maternal grandparent’s wedding certificate, wartime rationing coupons and feeding instructions from the hospital where my oldest brother was born.

The job was scarier than I expected. There is something difficult about throwing away any photo, even when they are blurry or duplicates. Throwing away pictures of the deceased seems taboo. I can’t imagine framing a picture that only captured my parents from the neck down. Still, I waited for a lightning bolt as I threw it into the trash.

I’m proud to say that the photos have been pared down to less than 3 cubic feet of boxes and are organized by family groups. Eventually, we hope to scan many of them and create a photographic family tree. For now, I’m happy to have tamed the monster.

Technology has certainly improved the photo process. Digital photos don’t fill boxes or collect dust. I visit Facebook to see what’s happening with our extended family. My cousin, our family’s first lawyer, is now in his forties and enjoying his first child. Last week, he posted photos taken at the law firm. At four months of age, Victoria is a little young to join those lawyers, but she was adorable and her daddy looked proud. I’m happy for him, I enjoyed seeing the picture and I’m delighted that I won’t have to find a box to store it in.

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