Old things new…
A few years ago I started a family heritage scrapbook thinking it would be a nice way to spend a little free time and organize some of the old pictures I had gathered over the years. Little did I know what a consuming project it would become! I am convinced now that it will never be finished in my lifetime because I keep finding or thinking of things I want to add to it. Some younger cousin will likely inherit this book and all the stuff in it.
My scrapbook contains lots of pictures, of course. But there is also a lot of journaling (scrapbook-ese for little blocks of writing that explain the photographs, tell stories, provide captions, etc.). It probably breaks lots of rules for me to add as much journaling as I do, but it’s my book, at least for as long as I live, so I can make it how I want it! Plus, this book is becoming a sort of archive for family moments and memories.
Every picture tells a story. But over the years, the pictures begin to fade, and memories become dim. It is so important to document events while we have the chance.
Mama was wonderful about always writing the dates on the backs of pictures. I wish I had picked up that habit long ago, because now I find myself wondering, “When did we take this?” and “What was the occasion?”. More frustrating is the fact that many of the really, REALLY old pictures have no writing on them to tell when they were made or who the people were. (At least with digital photography, there is usually a date and time stamp on the pictures we take now, along with other information like the camera model used.) It’s no wonder services that trace family genealogies are becoming so popular. I think we all want to know the stories of where we came from.
I have also been able, through the wonders of modern technology, to clean up and restore some of the older photographs. Computers and picture editing software can sometimes produce near-miraculous results in making pictures look better. Lots more old pictures are waiting to have the magic wand of restoration waved over them so they can be viewed and enjoyed by future generations.
But for me, the pictures are only half of the equation. The stories are what make the pictures come to life. And usually, one story sparks a memory and another story, and then another…and before we know it, a loved one long gone lives again through the telling, and a young person gets to know someone they never had the chance to meet.
This is part of the legacy I hope to leave behind. The pictures restored, and the stories…re-storied.
(This may be the first picture of our family together after I was born in May of 1964. The date stamp on the side reads Jul-64. This is outside South Knoxville Baptist Church, where my parents were members. I was able to restore it using photo editing software and I have to admit, I was pleased with the results.)