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A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE

A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE

Time goes by faster than we think and if you aren’t careful, one day you are sitting with an overflowing box of family photos in your lap with no labeling on the back! Then throw in the fact that no one’s still living with the memory of who these people are and you’re up the creek without a paddle.

Against H’s wishes I’ve been sorting and purging and putting old memorabilia in order. He’s fine with it sitting in a box unopened for years. I’m not.

With most of this clean-up not being my family, he’s had to step up and help with the matter. I dump a few envelopes of old pictures on his lap daily to sort through and label. He calls it his trip down memory lane. And there are some really old pictures he’s not even sure of.

After dealing with that for a couple weeks – and it’s not finished yet – I came across a box of my family pictures. Of course most of them aren’t labeled either, but mine don’t go as far back as his do so I’m able to put names with faces – sometimes with a little help from cousins, as in this one.

I love this photo of my mother’s family. One sibling is missing. We think she was off on a trip somewhere. She sure missed a great family photo shoot! Left to right, front row – my grandmother Ida, sister Ida Marie (Aunt Bea), PaPa Deville, Ruth, Charles, Helen (my mother), Shirley, Virgie, and Frank. Arden is missing.

I’ve got a whole box of pictures put together to take to Atlanta with me during Thanksgiving week so the girls and Andrew can help sort and label. They’ll be thrilled – I think – because the majority will be divided up between them. I’ll take Andrews back home with me since he doesn’t have a place to call his own yet.

There are a few that go back to my grandparents on my Mother’s side and I’m sure I have a envelope somewhere with pictures from my Dad’s family.

In this day and age I don’t have as many prints of pictures. When Andrew started high school in the digital age I began storing most of them on my phone or computer or on a disc somewhere. I should label those as well, but that’s another project!

How many old photos do you have in a box somewhere that you can’t put names to faces?

~Elle

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About Elle Knowles

Elle Knowles lives in the Florida Panhandle with her husband and off-at-college-most-of-the-time son. She has four daughters, one son, and eleven beautiful grandchildren. 'Crossing the Line' is her first novel. The sequel 'What Line' is a work in progress. Recently published is Coffee-Drunk Or Blind - a nonfiction story of homesteading in the Alaska wilderness with her parents and four siblings, told through letters by her mother and remembered accounts from the family.

12 responses »

  1. have the same problem – I once copied a whole stash of them I had to nick from my mothers cupboard, cos she wouldn’t tell me who they were – now I’ll never know, cos she is gone too!

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  2. Yes, I have a whole box of photos with no one alive to say who they were. Good idea to start writing on mine for future generations.
    It’s funny how you don’t care about that stuff when you are young but it means so much as you age.

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  3. When my mother passed, we had a ton of photos to sort through. I did a first cut (I’m the youngest by 16 years so many of the older ones I don’t know the people). My brother did a second cut. If neither of us knew who was in the photo, we tossed it. It was sort of painful because they had been meaningful in some way even if they were old neighbors.

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    • It’s so hard to choose what to toss and what to keep. H’s parents kept EVERYTHING! I know you’ve heard me vent about it before. It’s overwhelming the amount of stuff they packed into this old house and the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. I have to keep H reined in!

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      • It took me a couple of years to get rid of my mother’s stuff (other than pictures) but I did it. I allowed myself a few “souvenirs” but truth be told most of her possessions did not have value. This year I passed on her chest on chest to my niece. That was the last “big” piece I had. I still have her mug, mixing spoon and photos. It’s been since ’86 though.

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        • My problem is that H thinks just because it’s old it’s valuable. Maybe in sentimental value, yes. But this house is too small to keep all these big dark pieces of furniture. I tell him when he’s hanging on that I don’t want to throw away but give to someone who can use it and appreciate it as well! It’s a brick wall. 😔

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  4. It’s nice to be able to put the names on faces. I’ve got so many I have no idea who they are. Yet I can’t throw them away because I know that somehow we’re related.

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    • Ha! Yeah I know what you mean! The problem with H’s family is that he just about the oldest. There were no first cousins on either side and only one aunt who has long since past away. His 2 brothers are younger and know less than he does! But they have so much history saved.

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  5. A lovely post and an inspiring one as well. I have been doing the same thing for years and try to keep a little record of who’s who in photos.My grandparents, on both sides, passed long before I knew them, but I managed to get a photo of each one, but not all their siblings or their parents, they are just names on a death certificate. I often wish I would have known them enough to remember them but I wasn’t that fortunate so the photos and stories that I eked out of my aunts and cousins are my heritage. Sounds like you are doing a great job and I am sure future generations in your family will appreciate it in the years to come. Well done. ☺☺

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    • It gets a little overwhelming at times when I look at all the stuff H’s family has kept. What to keep? What to discard? It’s a battle because he would keep it all! I don’t think we need pictures of scenery with no people in them and we don’t even know what the scenery is of!

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