I wrote this after the first phase of scanning photos a few years ago. Little did I know then that what I had done was merely a warm-up and how much more I’d be scanning.
I’m not even sure when I started, but I remember why. A cousin posted some old family pictures on Shutterfly and sent an invitation for us to view them. It made me think I should scan and share the many old family photos we have from relatives. I am very grateful to have them, and have often wondered how to duplicate them for others without it being a huge expense to restore and pay for multiple copies. That was before the internet. I gathered some old photo albums and scanned a few. I discovered that the software we have allows us to crop, adjust lighting and zoom in; which made the old pictures come alive. Being intrigued, I began scanning more and more and getting ideas about how to organize and preserve the photos I love. For years, I have spent time scheming how multiple big and heavy photo albums (which are not stored near any door) would be saved in the event of fire or flood….really!…I envisioned racing in during a fire to retrieve them as they sat in different places in my home and questioned where they should be placed for easy exit. This all had a snowball effect on my little scanning project. Five months and about 5,000 images later, I’m calling this project a success. Each side of the family has a file going as far back as possible to present. Each member of our immediate family has a file of images spanning their lives to this point. There’s a file of the life my husband and I share together. There’s a file for our family, including subfiles of our homes, our cars, our Christmas card pictures, etc. Also included in family files are images of heirlooms and where they originated, historic documents scanned and organized, typed information on each family’s history, notes, stories, etc. For as long as there is technology and family lineage, these storytelling images will be preserved and, I hope, cherished. When describing this obsession to a friend, she dubbed it as more “glue” to bind the family together – I like that mind picture. Doing this has been anything but drudgery for me. Did I mention I love photos? The past five or so months of this obsession have not been without glitches and frustration. Discovering that a defect in the software resulted in most of the 3,000 pictures already scanned had color thumbnails but were black and white when enlarged, would require rescanning which made me want to tear my hair out. I trudged on. I realized the hard way that one click of a button may cause ordered photos to scramble out of sequence and that numbering each photo would be required to maintain a timeline. These things added an additional investment to this mission, but I considered it worthy. I have much more time than most and look for things to do while sitting. I have enjoyed studying photos, old and new alike. I smiled to realize who is in the background of pictures if they are zoomed or how great a shot is if it’s centered or something is cropped out.
I have explained that I have gone in and out of a time machine the last five months. I find myself in the 1800s one minute and yesterday the next. I’ve had to be pulled forward 20 years to pay bills and then go back. I remember the first time I scrolled down when working on files of my kids’ lives and realized that the bar/tab moved as fast as the past 20+ years have seemed to whiz by. I’ve gasped loudly as I saw my kids’ childhoods flash by in an instant…in God’s wink of an eye the years have passed. And I’ve seen loved ones in a clearer light – the fun and flair my friends have added to my life, the time and love my parents invested in me, the beauty of my husband’s sleeping face and seeing the great father he is revealed over and over, the personalities of my children that come through in picture after picture. I’m grateful for the foresight of others who have stopped to snap a moment in time. There’s a feeling of great mortality when scrolling quickly through one’s own life – backwards and forward through the years – a real sense of the value of time. There’s satisfaction from knowing there was perspective and love in snapping the moments of birthdays and Christmases. Once again, I’ve marveled how a set of features in the human face can provoke so many memories and emotions, especially those who have moved on. I am thankful for the many people who have added great value to my years, my months, my days, my hours, my every minute here in this temporary place called earth. I’m closing the door of my time machine now and giving it a rest, but it will forever be here at my fingertips whenever I need a trip in it. Two things I appreciate, photos and computers, have been united. The word “done” has a sweet ring to it this week. Memories and family lineage is preserved, backed up and will be shared with others who may be intrigued by the same images. Let the memories be stirred and let the glue hold tight our lives together.
My husbands great grandparents:
Husband’s grandma, as a baby, and his grandparents’ wedding picture: