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FADED PHOTOGRAPHS

10 May 2003

The acid-laced paper is doing its work. We never knew about acid in paper eating the color out of photographs, or the plastic sleeves we slipped our pictures into being bad for them. But each time I go searching for a photo for "yesterday's photo," I see how much deterioration there has been.

I've mentioned before that I am a scrapbooker. I was a scrapbooker before it was trendy to be a scrapbooker. Now it's a whole blossoming industry. I received some junk mail today for a scrapbooking book club where I can get two free books for joining. This has become such a specialized field that there are books on paper techniques, toddler scrapbooking (well, I don't need that any more), two books on "punch art" (my kids were good at punching as kids...somehow I don't think that's what this is about), and several books which tell you how to create a scrapbook journal (heh heh...I've gone them one better with that!) There are folded memories and quilted memories and kaleidoscopic memories. The list goes on and on.

I have been in the middle of a kind of a scrapbook project (along with everything else, naturally--when did I ever do anything simple?). Not a book per se, but something else, which I will probably talk about after it's no longer a secret. But it has involved going through the myriad of old scrapbooks and photo albums that I already have and choosing interesting photos for the project.

The one thing I've realized, as I get older and life goes on, is that all these scrapbooks I've spent a lifetime lovingly creating and accumulating now bring me so little pleasure. That's a terrible thing to say. They tell the story of my life, since I got my first camera at age 10. I should be able to look back fondly at all the happy times ('cause you rarely take pictures of the sad times).

While I am for the most part a "glass half full" kinda person, where it comes to the scrapbooks I realize I have become a "glass half empty" kinda person. I guess it's too many people gone too unexpectedly from my life to be able to enjoy remembering the fun times as fully as I used to.

JOCKS.jpg (59292 bytes) This page, for example, was one that absolutely tickled me to make. The photos were taken at my mother's on a day when someone had a new car--Tom, I think. The boys all stood around, like men do, admiring the motor. The thing is that, with the exception of Tom (who once built an entire Toyota engine from the ground up--and it worked!), none of them knew a thing about cars--Paul and I even had to scratch our heads one day trying to find out where to add a quart of oil. But they were all pretending to be jocks and hamming it up for the camera. I look at the page now, and it makes me sad to think that there will never be those carefree times any more.

I also came across wonderful photos of my mother with her sister and remember the wonderful fun we had with Barb (all of her sisters, but especially Barb, whom we saw the most in later years). Barb is not gone, but her mind is. And her husband is. And I look at the fun photos and it makes me sad to think how they left this life. One photo in particular--my mother with her sister, now living with Alzheimers, my mother's husband, who died of cancer, and my aunt's husband who died of heart problems. It hurts to see them all so healthy and happy looking.

But I guess that's what getting older is all about. We can't take the people we love throughout our life and drag them all into the present with us. Sooner or later it will be their time to leave, and our job to stick around for awhile.

I am fortunate that there are also fun times in the present, most of those now in slide show format, so neither faded photos, nor photos of people no longer here (I didn't start making slide shows until after Paul died).

It still brings great joy to go back through the slide shows of Peggy's time here, for example, especially as the time approaches when Thelma and Louise will take to the road again and see if we can't terrorize another continent. I am hoping we can recreate the same camaraderie that we had here, three years down the road.

There is joy in looking over the various biking adventures with Olivia and Haggie and Terri, knowing that this is a road I am only beginning to travel, so there will be many more adventures, and many more photos, and many more slide shows.

There is still joy in reliving the various trips that we have taken--to England, and Scotland, for example.

I'm sure there is some wise philosophical message here, but I can't find one. I just know that whenever I open a photo album from previous decades, I first smile at some of the memories, and then I find I have to close the book(s) up soon because the more I go trough them, the more I am transported back to a happier time, and the sadder it makes me to know that that particular kind of happiness, at least, is now part of a different time.

If there is a "glass half full" part of all this, it is that life goes on, people not only leave my life, but they also come into it as well. I'm an obsessive chronicler of the events and happenings in my life. I don't know that they are really of interest to anyone but me, but I don't see myself stopping in the foreseeable future.

However, I don't think I need any "how to" books to help me figure out how best to do it.

Quote of the Day

My family is really boring. They have a coffee table book called "Pictures We Took Just to Use Up the Rest of the Film."

~ Penelope Lombard

Yesterday's Photo

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One Year Ago
Casting the First Stone
(The Catholic church scandal)

Two Years Ago
Oh to be in England
(...we were...no entry)

Three Years Ago
The Drawer
(Every house has one!)



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Pounds Lost:  67.6
(this figure is approximate)

On the Odometer

Blue Angel Total 932.6
2003 YTD Cumulative:  433.2

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