Living Backwards

We take pictures of special people, special places and special occasions because we want to capture a moment in time to remember later.


As I sit at my computer working on what seems like a project that never ends, I am surrounded by a million moments belonging to many people.

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There’s no way to count how many photos and movies I’ve transferred to the computer over the past years.  After completing an impressive collection of my immediate family, I scanned anything our kids might want.  I mean ANYthing.  A complete collection of grade cards, certificates, notes about medical history, pictures of crafts they made growing up (which make great holiday backgrounds on my screen), and an unending list of just about anything I have that they did or owned.  I went so far as to take pictures of all the sports, club and school t-shirts they have had through the years, cropped them and organized them by date in files.  Can you say obsessive?

As I’ve blogged before, I’ve also scanned for the sake of family history.  Anything you want to know about my Dad?  It’s all in his file.  Pictures from childhood until he died in 1991.  Newspaper clippings, professional information, a poem he wrote, pictures of houses and furniture he built – it’s all in organized files.  I didn’t have many pictures of my Dad’s extended family, but awhile back I sent them a collection of whatever I did have on a CD.  It was nice to receive notes of appreciation from them.  I contacted them earlier in the year when we were planning a trip that direction.  I hoped to set up a computer and scanner somewhere and capture whatever old photos they had in a few hours.  They were generous to allow me to bring three large plastic bins of old pictures home.  Three months later when we once again made the drive to my hometown, I returned the containers of pictures and a DVD of everything they had shared now in digital form.  During the time in-between, they found more pictures so I brought them home and have now added them to the collection. I’m almost done organizing that collection, but will go back to it after letting it rest for awhile.  Sometimes fresh eyes catch things that tired eyes don’t.

My Mom has led a very active life.  I think I have a complete file of numerous newspaper clippings and magazine articles which include her name and/or picture.  I love it that there seem to be hundreds of pictures of her holding and hugging me and my kids (her grandkids) through the years.  She’s exceptional at loving people.  This spring, we spent a week scanning the family history she spent years researching.

This whole scanning craze started with very old pictures of relatives given to us through the years.  And that’s where I am again – 50 to 100 years ago, this time with my Mom’s original family.  You could safely say they have been shutterbugs all the while I’ve known them, which would be all my life.  This collection is many years of birthdays and holidays and times when more than three of the six siblings were able to gather together.  There were three 18-gallon Rubbermaid totes full of pictures at my aunt’s house.  I brought two of the three home (limited space in our car) and am going through them.  So far, labeling is limited (unless they were given to them by my Mom who is faithful about documenting date, names and places).  Included in the collection are very old photos also.  I’m scanning what I deem important.  I’m playing a game of email tag with my mom to identify people and places I’m not familiar with.  I won’t scan them all, but I am organizing them all according to person and family hoping that will help locate a picture if someone should look for a specific image.

So why do I do this?  I scan because I CAN!  I’ve always liked this quote:  “Do what you can with what you have in the time you’re allotted.”  I’m doing what I can, hoping its valuable to others and having fun in the process.  I’m driven to finish this latest collection and am excited to eventually share a generous digital collection with relatives.  Back I go to continue!

About Climbing Downhill

Wife and mother of grown kids, in my 60's and dealing with MS, making life's moments count and trying to offer something of value to others along the way.
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