Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Scanning through the years

It's been an interesting winter in more ways than one.

Sure, we've had more snow than we've had in many years... more than I hope to see again for a long time.

But the bad weather, a nasty fall I took in January and an ingrown toenail have proven to be providential.

During my downtime, I have been able to delve deeply into a project I thought would be put off for months, if not years, until I finally got around to it.

I've been scanning photos, emptying albums as I go, dropping the pictures into albums in my Dropbox and sharing them with family. To date, I'll bet I've scanned well over 500 photos beginning from my babyhood to the present and then, recently, from Howard's babyhood to the present.

His late mother, Ann, left four photo albums and a wicker basket filled with miscellaneous photos, many of which are pictures of people even Howard doesn't know. But as long as someone in his family is portrayed, the photo gets scanned.

I'm well into his family now... wicker basket empty, four albums to go.

The journey into my past was bittersweet.

Seeing myself as an infant, a toddler and then a little girl, almost always with a sober face and big, sad eyes, brought back tales of the unhappy childhood I endured. When I was smiling, it was a professional photo and a viewer could almost hear the photographer saying "Smile!" So phony.

There are three years missing, the ones during which my mother and I lived with her sister and brother-in-law, Louise and Frank. No one took my picture in those days... I was part of the landscape... best either ignored or ridiculed.

But at age 11, after my mother remarried and we had a new home, the photos begin anew. And I am more relaxed, though never self-assured. Not then, not now.

I would recommend this exercise to anyone. Not only will it preserve family heritage but it will walk you through parts of your life you might have consigned to memory, accurate or not, pleasant or not.

For fun, I change out my Facebook profile picture about once or twice a month. Friends seem to enjoy the glimpses they get into the me of long ago.

You should try it.