Closer to two than one year(s) ago, I decided it was time to sort out the boxes and boxes – and boxes and boxes – of photos, souvenirs and trinkets that I’ve collected over these many years. I passed on photos that I thought would be more meaningful to the people in them, and I finally said finally goodbyes (with some tears) to objects that reminded me of some previous ‘romantic’ relationships. I admit that I was in a funk for several days after that part of the project, and had to fight myself not to pull things back out of the trash so I could look at or handle them just one more time.
I tried sorting what I had left, which filled up 1-1/2 of the boxes, and began the process of scanning them. I had to purchase a stand-alone scanner. Those of you who already know how technologically challenged I am can imagine how long THAT took to set up and get working! I managed to get through about 10% of the stuff I had saved, and then I lost interest in the project.
New Year’s goals (not resolutions) included getting the rest of these items scanned into my laptop and then onto a thumb drive. I’ve finally recently started back on this project. Of course, I had to learn – all over again – how to connect and use the scanner!
As I write this, I am about 45% through scanning what is left from my past part of the project. I needed some additional sorting, and will continue to sort into ‘categories’ as I scan them, so I’ll know what’s what on the thumb drive. And, many of you probably know that, when you scan a photo, it assigns it some long sequential number, which means going into each photo after it’s scanned and renaming it so it makes sense and can be placed in some kind of proper order. It is a tedious task, but the longer I do more in one sitting, the easier it gets to be to remember the sequences to follow. I now have 5 different categories scanned, renamed and put onto the thumb drive.
Recently, I divided up all of my parental photos – separating out mom alone, dad alone and mom and dad together. At first I was a little surprised to see how few I had of dad alone, but then remembered that he was usually the one behind the camera. I’ve gotten the ones of my mom scanned and renamed so I had some sense of chronological sequence. I also decided to share them on my Facebook page, knowing that family and friends who knew my mom might enjoy seeing them. It was a bit laborious, but it was truly a labor of love. It’s wonderful to look at them all – in chronological order – and get a visual story of my mom. The earliest photo I have of her was from when she was 3 or 4, and I have a few from her growing up, her college graduation, but most of them are from times I remember.
I didn’t experience any kind of emotional feelings – at least none that I became conscious of – during the several hours it took to complete the project. I did experience a sense of satisfaction that I now had those priceless memories on the Internet cloud where they could remain forever. But later that afternoon, I found myself feeling a little bit empty inside. I could have been feeling that way for several reasons (which I could name); I only know that, while I was thrilled to share them on Facebook and received a lot of views and comments, I felt at the same time that, by sharing them that way, I had given away something that, until then, was all mine and significantly special.
And then, to give my brain a break while I was writing this, I looked for a possible photo to use as my feature photo for this post, and stumbled across this:
My attitude suddenly shifted! I realized that, although I had to share the photos with others, the memories from those photos do not belong to those people. And, by posting them as an album on Facebook, I can now travel down memory lane more often that I did all of those years having a mix-n-match pile of photographs in boxes on a high-up shelf in a spare room closet.
It has also been a blessing to have family and friends who knew my mom react with love to her photos. Many of us don’t keep in a lot of contact with each other, and this has helped me feel re-connected to those people.
So, the project will continue, and, I suspect become a little easier during the rest of the process. And I’m starting to be a little bit excited of crossing this project off as completed on my goal list for the year!
That is, of course, until the lack of energy shuts me down again….