Precious Memories

Martha at EasterThe church I grew up in and attended when my children were young is closing at the end of this month, and today they had a special “heritage” lunch as a final gathering for everyone.   It was enjoyable, if somewhat bittersweet, to spend time with so many old friends, and see people I knew as little children all grown up with kids of their own.  They had five tables filled with old photographs that people could take if they wanted, and I spent a lot of time sorting through the photos, searching for pictures of my family.  I was thrilled to find lots of photos of my kids, but I was shocked by how many people either didn’t look at the photos at all, or picked up a photo of a member of their family, looked at it with mild interest, then put it back down again, knowing that all the unclaimed pictures were going to be thrown away.  How could they not want those pictures of their grandparents, their parents, their sons and daughters?

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand people not wanting to bring home more “stuff.”  By the time we’ve reached middle age, most of us already have more material possessions than we need or want, and our main problem is how to get rid of it, not how to add to our collections.  But in my opinion, there is simply no such thing as too many photos of family and friends, and the older they are, the better.   I may fill a donation bag with clothing every time my closet gets full, but if I run out of shelf space for my photo albums, I just know it’s time to add another shelf.  Because photographs are a recording of my life up to this point, and that’s not something I’m willing to let go of.

Martha Mollenauer (2)The way I look at it, that’s my history in those photo albums.  Those old family photos remind me of where I came from, and just who I came from.  The pictures of me growing up remind me of all the different stages of my life.  The photos of friends remind me of how many good people I’ve been lucky enough to share my life with, from the time I was a small child right up to today.  And the photos of the pets I’ve had, the houses I’ve lived in, and the places I’ve visited are all reminders of my own life’s journey .

I don’t keep the photos because I’m trying to live in the past.  I’m perfectly happy living in the present, even with my middle-aged face and body.  It’s just that I sometimes enjoy looking at pictures of family members who are gone, or pictures of my children when they were babies.  It brings back memories of a different time in my life, and those memories are special to me. And I believe that they’re certainly precious enough to keep.

8 thoughts on “Precious Memories

  1. I couldn’t agre more, Ann. I suppose some people just aren’t sentimental or don’t feel about photos as we do. Maybe they think they gave enough of their own, but I don’t know that you can gave too many family photos..:)

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    • Whenever the tornado sirens go off and we have to head to the basement, I always grab my purse first (for ID, etc.) and then several photo albums! Because the photos are what I would miss the most if something ever happened to my house… Thanks, Nancy!

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  2. Awesome post! Likewise, because we live in the eastern coast whenever we have to evacuate due to a hurricane, we take with us things that money cannot replace… Memories. Pictures are important to me as well as the plaster handprints of my children when they were little. These things would be devastating to me if lost. Fortunately, with the amount of storage space on a smartphone and storage clouds I can take quick inventory of photos that don’t have to come off my wall of fame when we have to evacuate our little home by the ocean. xo

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    • I think the threat of natural disaster forces us to focus on which of our possession we treasure the most, and like you, for me the answer is photographs. The memories just can’t be replaced. Although I’ll remember your point about photos being stored electronically, because it would be much easier to grab the cd’s, memory sticks, etc, than it would my bulky photo albums. Thanks for the lovely comment!

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  3. I totally agree, Ann. When my grandmother passed, not only did I inherit her hope chest, but I took literally all of her photo albums, including her wedding album, as well as a beautiful, full-size portrait of her and my grandfather that an artist had painted. Her own children, my father and aunt, didn’t want any of it, said they didn’t have room. I keep all the albums in the hope chest, and I have one amazing photo of my grandparents on their wedding day hanging in a beautiful frame in my living room. Ditto with a photo of my husband’s great grandfather in a horse and buggy with his dog, which had to have been taken prior to the 1900s.

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    • What great family treasures! I can’t believe your aunt and uncle didn’t want them, but I guess people have different attitudes towards pictures and keepsakes. I think you are very lucky to have them, especially the wedding album. A few years ago, I found a campaign poster from when my great-grandfather ran for the local house of delegates in 1913. It even has his picture on it, and it looks great framed and hung on my wall. Old photos are the best…so glad you have so many of yours and your husband’s!

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