Pictures Not So Perfect

My daughter is one of the most organized people I know.  I believe she falls just short of being OCD (Obsessive/Compulsive).  She recently took on the task of completing her family genealogy.  She has done incredible research and not only found new information, but has been able to correct some of the missing or incorrect data. If you walk into her house you will find organizer boxes and piles of papers organized by family lineage.  She also has all the data up to date in a website.

This was not the first project she dove into with this fervor.  Pictures were the first frontier for her.  She started with pictures of her son and moved on to  family, friends, and life events.  Her pictures are organized on her computer and in albums.  Of course before they made it to the albums they were in piles or boxes.  Pictures are organized by person, by date, by event, and more.  It has been exciting to watch the progress.

I made the mistake of mentioning that  my pictures were in albums, boxes, and even a shoe box.  I pointed out a few of the albums when she was at the house one day.

“Mom, they are in albums but the albums are all mixed up.  I mean there are pictures in one album of your younger siblings, some from Grandma Claudia, a few of AJ(my grandson), and some I don’t recognize at all.”

“I do have a few albums from the 70’s that are in order.”  I did at least put some in albums so they would be protected.  I really need to get them all in albums.”  It was an innocent statement or so I thought.

“Where are your other pictures, Mom?”  I lead my daughter to my room and pulled out a beautiful, rather large hatbox.  I opened it to show her the stacks of pictures.  I could see the horror in her eyes.

“There are more.”  I pulled out a plastic container with pictures, memorabilia, and newspaper clippings.  I could see that she was just a bit shocked.   She left my house that day with the hat box, the plastic container thing and a couple of albums with loose photos.  I was instructed to bring the rest to her house.   I didn’t mention the photo discs or ones on my computer.  I would sneak that in later.

I took the rest to her house a couple of days later.  I wanted to explain the historical perspective on picture taking and storage. She comes from the generation of digital photos.  Snap some pictures, plug in the camera to the computer, and you have an instant photo album complete with name and date.  In my life, we had to go to the store and buy something called film.  It had to be the right size and speed for your camera.  You took pictures and at the end of 12, 24, or 36 pictures you rewound the film and took it to a store.  They would take three or so days to process your film.  Then, drive back to store and retrieve your pictures.  Now that was if you remembered to take the film.  On occasion you would find rolls of film from two years ago that had not been processed.  When you got those back from the store, you often didn’t know where they were taken or who some of those people were in the group.  My daughter smiled and said she understood.  She remembered film cameras.

Over the next few months we would have frequent conversations that went something like this.

“Mom, you have to come over and look at these pictures.  They have no date or names on them.  Why didn’t you write on them?”

“I didn’t think I needed to write anything on them.  I thought I would remember. I guess I was wrong.”

“Mom, why did my brother wear the same Big Bird shirt all the time?  I mean all the time as in two years in a row.  He also had the same shoes forever.  How is that possible?”

“Um, he liked the Big Bird shirt?  Maybe we had more than one in different sizes.  And maybe he liked the shoes so much we got another pair in bigger size.”  Truth is, I have no idea why.  It was 30 years ago.

“Mom, how old was I in this picture?  Where was this one at a fair taken?  Who are these people?  When did we go camping at the beach?”  I don’t know the answers.  Dang, I don’t even remember going camping.

“Mom, my hair is long in this one so I have to be four but this one has short hair and it looks like I am three.  I know I cut my hair off one time. When was that?  Was I three or four?”   This is a shortened version of the conversation that took place on more than one occasion.

I love and appreciate the time and energy she has put into this project.  I have had to console my daughter on a number of occasions.  I have put my arm around her and told her that she might just have to guess about some of the dates and events.  She looks at me with her big blue eyes and acknowledges her acceptance.

“Mom, I really just wish you had written something on the back of these pictures. It would have been such a big help.”  I lower my head and admit my shortcomings.

When I am 90 and sitting looking at these albums I will be so happy just to be able to look back my life, my children, grandchildren, and friends in pictures, even if we have some dates wrong and we don’t remember everyone’s names.

Advertisements

33 responses

  1. How sweet! I am the WORST with pictures-I never even remember to take them! If I do grab a camera, I end up taking pics of my bf and my mom asks “where were you?? Didn’t you have fun, too?” 🙂

    Like

    1. Love it. I like to be the one taking pictures so that I don’t get in them. LOL

      Like

  2. I’m kinda lazy when it comes to research, but I have to have my things organized. I have all my books (over 200), my CD’s (over 300) and my DVD’s and Blu-rays (over 500) on shelves in alphabetical order by author’s name, band or artist name and by film title. When I go to FYE to look at their horror section if there is a title out of place I put it where it belongs. That includes if it doesn’t even belong in that section.

    Like

    1. You sound like my daughter. LOL

      Like

      1. Yeah, I suppose I do. 🙂

        Like

  3. My 10-year-old Emma was looking through a box of pictures last night. Ones from when I was her age and some of her years ago. I could barely answer any of her questions. And now we don’t print pictures! But our lives are well-documented through instagram, which I love.

    I liked reading about your daughter’s project. She sounds like a neat person.

    Like

  4. Can she do my house next? My favorite find was a roll of … it wasnt 110 or 35 mm. It was maybe 126 speed film? I found it when I was twelve. It had pictures of my sister when she was a baby and me when I was four. Nobody even remembered the Camera.

    Like

  5. Your daughter is doing a wonderful thing. I appointed myself family historian and it just pains me to discover 100-year-old photo albums with no identification on them and with no one still alive who remembers those fashionable young women in their whimsical hats.

    Like

  6. Lord, I hope one of my girls gets bit by that bug before I die!

    Like

  7. Hahahah that is one intense project she’s taken on!

    Like

  8. ha! I’m with you! but i’d like your daughter to come over and help me organize some stuff over here. 🙂

    Like

  9. Hmmm… I was wondering the whole time how you felt about these conversations. So many memories that you couldn’t quite put your finger on. I think you hinted at it at the end. In the end, the dates and exact names won’t matter as much as the love you shared.

    Like

  10. I remember 110 film very well, and dislike it along with disc film. BTW the 110 and disc film is the most expensive to have prints made from the negative or even just to have scanned. I hav negatives coming up to my eyeball, all types of negatives, including 2×2, and ofcourse slides my Nanny gave me too. I still have two wonderful 35mm film camera with detatchable lenses and flash and an old polaroid. I currently have 2 waterproof cameras including one that has video capability. I carry a camera in my purse at all times and have 2 more wonderful digital camera, one being better than the other. I also own 2 camcorders, one digital, one with tapes, HAHAHA!! I did take photo for 4 years in HighSchool, and my mother even fought for me when we moved for one semester and the school didnt want to let me in the class, not knowing my expience. I even made a shoebox camera which works strickly on sunlight and a still subject! I am OCD. I can’t help that. I am mostly just passionate about what I do. It turns out it is a lot more fun and interestng learning and discovering history on your own. I do ask a lot of question and since my Nanny left this earth in Febuary I have been determined to get answers when I can, even though I know it can be annoying to others. I can say that my Aunt Inez who, and I did look this up, is 87 years old has been a wonderful resource (she’s in TN, but is on Facebook!). My Aunt Pam whom is not of blood has helped me the most outside of Aunt Inez and my mother. I wish I could get more help from my family, but that explantion would take forever! I have a very understanding husband and a son who just say “that’s mom” There is an order to my caos. I love doing it. I have just taken on my son’s fathers family. And to make this interesting his fathers side are all from WV. (I hope you are laughing) + his mother side is from TN which is troublesome because my fathers paternal family is from there.

    Like

  11. You are so fortunate she’s organizing them. I have thousands upon thousands just like you. One day. I love the end and agree!

    Like

  12. Great post. Can you send her to my house? Also, how can I raise my kids to be organized like this?

    Like

  13. hehe yes, i remember the film camera days; it really is SO much easier today.

    Like

  14. What a wonderful kid! You must have done an excellent job raising her. Please tell her that your readers are impressed both with her organizational skills but also with her thoughtfulness.

    Like

  15. I too, stole my mother’s pictures of all of us. Unfortunately, I am nowhere near as good as your daughter. The pictures are sitting in a drawer in the beautiful old-fashioned tins my mom stored them in. Does your daughter teach classes?

    Like

  16. Wow. That’s a heck of a job to undertake. I love taking pics of my kids but I absolutely hate creating those Shutterfly albums. It takes SOOO much time and then I catch myself trying to limit the number of pictures I take so I don’t have to spend so much time organizing them!

    Like

    1. Haha. I so understand. Thanks for sharing!

      Like

  17. I could totally use your daughter’s help! I have so many predigital photos to sort (all of the baby shots of my older son, for one). It’s so daunting, I can’t start! It’s funny how we think we’ll remember specifics.

    Like

    1. I am sure every parent thinks they will remember all of the events in their children’s lives but I look at pictures of them at the beach and I can’t remember which beach trip because we went all the time. LOL

      Like

  18. Wow! no one in my family does this. All the pictures are all over and in piles in everyone’s homes. I’m actually glad for digital stuff because it auto-dates, so we can at least get stuff in chronological order, even if it isn’t labeled…

    Like

    1. I am actually excited to see the final results for the albums. It has been an interesting process.

      Like

  19. I so wish I were organized like you daughter. But like you, I have piles and piles of unmarked photos stashed in a dresser drawer and no ambition to weed through them. Maybe I should see if my 11-year-old is interested in taking on the project. She has a really messy room, though, so maybe she’s not up to the task either.

    Like

  20. You sound just like me!!! I cannot get my pics organized – my daughter, knows she won’t organize them, so she just doesn’t even collect them! Would love some of your daughter’s skills!

    Like

  21. I’m awful about my photos! I don’t do anything with them and there are hundreds on the computer, in my phone. Thinking about them gives me anxiety. I’m kinda glad I’m not the only one. 🙂
    My daughter is nine, but I swear she will be like your daughter. She loves to organize and clean. This album is going to be amazing. And now I really, really want someone to do that for me.

    Like

  22. I remember going to buy film and then the *waiting* for the pictures to develop! I had three rolls of film from a trip to France and Spain I took 20 years ago and I didn’t write on a single picture. I haven’t the slightest idea where I visited, isn’t that a shame? How nice of your daughter to organize the pictures for you!

    Like

    1. I understand. Glad you have the pictures but like many of mine, I just don’t remember. The digital thing is easier but it still takes time to label them.

      Like

  23. Great project and great post!

    Like

  24. Such a sweet sentiment. I love that you both care so much but in different ways. Great post!

    Like

What did you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: