Memory

A stack of letters bound by ribbon
Flower petal soft and old
And a box of sepia photographs
Of people she doesn’t know

But I’m supposed to keep them
Safe from mold and decay
Preserved for posterity
Instead of thrown away

Eggshell frail and delicate
Memories peculiarly her own
When one generation passes
Like a wisp of smoke, they’re gone

*As I clear out old photos and keepsakes that my mother has been carrying with her from place to place, I realize how very disconnected we can be from the generations of family who preceded us. My mom has photos of family members we don’t recognize and letters from my Grandmother’s cousins from Scotland. We’re trying to organize it in such a way as to keep as much as possible. Maybe someday I will research our family tree and these would be nice to have to match up with the names. Meanwhile, I’ve been taking photos of some of these old documents with my phones just to preserve them. And all the myriad slides are being converted to digital format so my entire childhood isn’t lost or impossible to view. I spent a good part of my day yesterday wandering down memory lane.

22 thoughts on “Memory

    1. No unfortunately but I can gauge a lot of them by how old I look in the shots and where we were living. We moved when I was 4, so that helps! It’s quite a task but so much fun!

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    1. It’s a shame they didn’t label them with a name and the year! And some of these look really old – like turn of the last century 1890’s/1900’s so they must be great grands or great great grands. Some day I’ll do the family history!

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      1. I have a partial family tree my father’s second cousin started. That would be a good jumping off point even though it’s a different branch of the tree. And my mom’s paternal side will be tough – that’s Germany and Eastern Europe too. And everyone is a recent immigrant! 😨

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  1. This is the true time travel, and it is very easy to lose hours, if not days, in the process. I spent weeks of spare time going through films and slides, disposing of many, digitising some, saving others. Now I take 50 pictures just to get a special one. Will anyone ever view them all?

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    1. I know! There was a joke going around about future generations looking at all the photos we take now thanks to the ever present phone. “Oh look, here’s what I had for dinner.” “Here’s a selfie at the supermarket.” It was really funny! At least with digital, you can easily delete them! 😃

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  2. You’re making a lot of work for yourself. Scan the originals (and their reverse side if there is any writing) then put the whole lot on a memory stick.

    Scan using a flatbed scanner set to at least 300 dpi – dots per inch ( sometimes called ppi – pixels per inch). Keep the originals for reference if you going to try toughing up some that might water damaged. If you find you have acres of photos and little time Staples will scan the whole lot on a CD for you ( I prefer the memory stick. CDs can get scratched so easily.) When you’re through digitizing the originals keep them in a metal box that often used for petty cash which can also get from Staples

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    1. That’s a good idea. The scanning. All the letters at least. I have some my dad wrote home to his parents during WWII! My printer does scan, I’m just not sure what the resolution is. I took all the slides to a Cardinal Camera for digitizing – they did an amazing job. Cleaned up all the images and everything! I suppose I could do the same for old photos. There are fewer of those though. Fortunately!! 😜

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    1. Yep, I’ve done the initial search. Three of four grandparents was born overseas. Wales, Scotland and Germany. It’s the next level up on the tree that might prove difficult. Germany and Slovakia in particular. The borders shifted so many times in the 1880’s through the First World War!

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  3. Having all those recent immigrants does complicate the record search, but it gets easier every day. When I scanned our family slides, I noticed processing dates in each which helped me sort them into folders by years.

    I liked the poem, too. Have fun with the photos. You might be able to figure out more than you think right now.

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