Monday, January 25, 2010

Connections to the Past


My seventy-six year old mother has no pictures of her father who died of tuberculosis when she was three years old. Her widowed mother struggled with five children and lost many possessions during a few moves in the following years; pictures included. Mom has pieced her dad’s face together by looking at herself and her brothers and sisters, and by hearing them and her mother describe him.

Fortunately, my parents took pictures of my brother and me as we were growing up, and they managed to hold on to the tattered scrapbooks filled with black and white photos taken in the late fifties and early sixties. How exciting it was for them to be introduced to color soon after.

Because I treasure those old pictures and memories, I’ve inherited an appreciation for pictures, and also for video, letters, and journals. I have several photo albums, lots of video, and the recent addition of digital photos stored on computer hard drives.

My personal journal writing has been on hiatus for five years, but occasionally I write in three journals that I have for each of my daughters. When they were born, I started making entries – not many – just when I thought about it; mainly during bouts of insomnia when I was in my mid-forties.

I tell them how cute they are, about new accomplishments, habits, and difficult times, too.

No insomnia now, and I haven’t carved out time to write to the little darlings much. The last entry was in September, 2009, and prior to that was November, 2008. Still, I enjoy reading the journals; reminiscing.

I know people who run from the camera. (There are days when I do, too.) It may be during a special occasion or just an ordinary day. Sometimes I think, “We’re not here forever. Somebody is going to want to remember what you looked like, what you were interested in, how you felt.” So have pictures taken, write letters, step in the view of the video, leave a journal – don’t let your life have to be pieced together.
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Do you have pictures, video, letters, and/or journals from your past?

35 comments:

SuziCate said...

I love old pics and things as well. Once when we were looking at some black and whites, one of my kids asked,"Mommy how old were you when color was invented. It had to be boring with everything black and white!". Kids, gotta love them!

Tabor said...

The thing that photographs tell is the personality of the person over the years. That character shines through although we may not see it when we are clicking away.

Trish said...

Thats a great post and I agree! Im always the one with the camera in hand making sure to catch everyone, but who catches me? hehe...no one will remember me!! Just kidding I make sure they get me once in a while!

Like I was saying Im big on taking pictures and making albums!

Robin said...

So true...especially the videos..I love to watch when they were little..It gives a whole other dimension to memories and sparks things you may have forgotten..!

Tammy@ A Doctor in the House said...

Thanks for reminding me. I never get in the pictures b/c I'm too busy taking them. I'm going to make it a point.

My name is PJ. said...

I have MANY photo albums, etc. And I created childhood albums for all of my siblings and each of my children as well.

Love photos. But as an adult I am usually behind the camera; so not in many photos.

Karen said...

I have albums going for each of my children and a journal for my daughter. I try to write in the albums, just a little something about the pictures.

I am one of those who shy away from the camera, but lately have made myself get in pictures of the family,. I think how I treasure photos like that of my family growing up, especially my mother, now that she's passed away.

I loved "These Is My Words." There's a sequel now, too!

MissKris said...

I was and still am a person who hates to have their photo taken. We don't and still don't take enough pictures of kids/grandkids. Never seems to be a camera handy at 'that' moment. Anyway, I do have a couple of old VHS videos that have my parents in them, both of who are gone now. My dad died in 2006 and I still have a pretty clear memory of how he looked and sounded. My mom, tho, died in 1989. Every now and then, when I can't quite bring up a clear 'picture' of her in my mind or quite remember what she sounded like, I'll replay one of those old videos. There are no price on these...they are priceless to me.

Bernie said...

Yes, you live and live well. You are still such a young twerp;) that you have a lot of life left.

You are right about the pictures. When one is young, we don't think about keeping a record in pictures and writing. And when we are old, sometimes it is too late. My folks came from Sweden and have no relatives here and if they did they would be dead anyway. So behind them, I only have names.

The Nakamuras on Saipan said...

You made me think Anita. I run from cameras but you are right. Photos can be an important part of family history. Good post.

Farila said...

I am treasuring my kids pics but unfortunately during my Cancer treatment our old pics of my Mom and dad, we as kids all has been lost somewhere. Have hope still of finding them.
Good post..

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

That's such a good point. I have journals for both of my girls that I haven't written in in quite awhile, considering they are 20 and 22 years old. I still need to write because they will love a keepsake of memories when I am gone.

Good for you for continuing to journal.

MissKris said...

I just saw your comment at "Best Posts of the Week". I remember the surprise I felt the first time I found out I'd been nominated...I didn't even know the blog existed. But I noticed a link coming in on my Feedjit, that they'd come to visit via BPOW. I went to investigate, and there I was listed! It gives you a warm, cozy feeling to know someone thought enough of something you wrote to nominate you, doesn't it?

Anita said...

HELLO EVERYONE, It seems that you all have taken a little from this post, but have also given back to me. I've heard the voices of youth, wisdom, depth, and homor. Thank you.
MISS KRIS, it "was" a fun feeling to see my "Children" post in "Best Blogs of the Week." Congratulations to you too! I'll have to look at that blog more often. :)
KAREN, I'm about a third of the ways through "These is my Words" and I'm really enjoying it. Thanks for telling me of the sequel.

yonca said...

Love photos and videos! They keep memories alive. I don't have so many pics of my childhood. I guess that's why i take lots of pictures of my son :)

andrea said...

My great-grandmother died a year or so before I was born, but I always wished so much I could have known her because my mother and her sister speak with such fondness about her. Recently, we were cleaning out my grandmother's apt (she had to go into a nursing home) and we found Great-Grandma Grace's diaries!! The kept them from the early 1920's up until she died (1964). Reading her thoughts and experiences in her own handwriting has been such a blessing!!!! She was a remarkable woman.

Jen said...

I'm getting better at documenting my life through photos and journals. My daughter or her children might appreciate them one day - or I'll appreciate them myself in my old age. I don't have any pictures of my parents or my own childhood.

Anita said...

YONDA - keep snapping and videoing! :)

ANDREA - What a treasure you have in those diaries! It's good for you, but also, who knows - could be worthy of a published book too. :)

JEN - If you have contact with people from your past, they may have photos of you as a child. But, yes, your daughter will love seeing her mom as a young marathon runner when you are a not-so-young marathoner. :)

Midlife Mom said...

The main reason I started blogging was to keep an online journal. I had tried unsuccessfully to journal many times and this is the only thing that I have stuck with. I have printed off a lot of it but have much more to do so I hope my computer doesn't crash before I get it done! I love pictures too and have many books filled with them. My Dad keeps small journals each day and to me those are real treasures! Great post!

ModernMom said...

I love the old pics. There are not many pics of my Mom b/c she was always the one taking the photos. I try and remember that when I am always the one behind the lens!

gayle said...

I have tons of old pictures, letters and videos!! Love them!!

Iva said...

oh I am so sorry your mom lost her papa so young!!

I do have many, many, many photos/videos and take a trillion daily of my kiddies too!!

Hope you are having a nice week!!

andrea said...

Anita---I never thought of a published book but I did think of scanning them into the computer to save them. The later ones are hard to read; she died of melanoma and talks about her health declining and such.

newmumover40 said...

Have you ever done any scrapbooking of the really old photos? The affect that you can is incredible and can bring so much more meaning to them!

Just letting you know I have returned the favour of an award to you. check it out!

Hilary said...

A wise and wonderful post. I have a photo album of my baby through toddler photos, taken back in the 1950s. Among them are several images of my parents, sister, grandmother who lived with us and other assorted relatives. This is a good reminder to go through that album with my kids one day so they know who's who. Thanks for that.

Anita said...

MIDLIFE MOM, MODERN MOM, GAYLE, IVA, ANDREA, NEWMUM, HILARY - Thanks for your stories. It seems that journals and photos are important to all of us...but I'd expect that from serious bloggers! :)
Thank you IVA for sympathizing the loss of my mom's dad. Yes, it is always unfortunate to miss the presence of a loved one.
Thank yo NEWMUM for the award! I've left a message on your blog and posted a personal thanks to you on my home page! Good idea about the scrapbooking. I've seen what people have done.
Thanks ALL OF YOU for your kind words. I've glad you liked the post.
MODERN MOM AND THE REST OF YOU THAT ARE BEHIND THE CAMERA, (MYSELF INCLUDED), hand that camera over to someone and get yourselves in a few shots!

FOLLOWERS AND READERS, MORE COMMENTS???

Pink said...

awh.. yeah.. I love to read my journals and remembering what I've been through too.. :) And photography? hehehe.. I am so into it!!! There will always someone carrying a camera whenever I'm out with my friends or family.. ♥

Anita said...

I too am a keeper of old treasures. I have all my old journals and diaries from my youth, my teens,my college years and some from my adult life. My blog serves as much as a journal as any other thing. I have every letter my mom wrote me at camp when I was 10, 11 and 12.
I love keeping pictures and letters and all the little things that show our history.

Anita said...

PINK - I LOVE your photography!

ANITA - You've reminded me of a little duffle bag that I have that's filled with childhood letters. Now I'm tempted to pull in out and read some. :)
By the way, I have been thinking of printing my blog using Blog2Print. Have you printed any of your blog?

HOW ABOUT OTHERS - HAVE YOU USED BLOG2PRINT TO PUT YOUR BLOG INTO BOOK FORM? HAVE YOU USED ANY OTHER PRODUCT?

Abby said...

How timely. I just uploaded a couple of old photos to my facebook page from when my brothers and I were young. I've never seen a picture of my mom's dad either, and it feels like something's missing.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Many of my old color photos are fading away in the plastic albums that are so bad for them...who knew? Now we print lots of photos of the grandkids for them and us, but we also have hundreds of photos stored on our computers. I'm backing them up to an external hard drive...the new version of filing your negatives! :-)

Thanks for stopping by today!

Hilary said...

Ohhh, I have so many photos and albums. I think that I am becoming the family historian. I love photos and recently received my great aunts collection of albums upon her passing. It's bittersweet, because I would have loved to have had her look through them with me. I found several of her and her sister as children, dated from the 1920s. They're amazing. I save everything, though - my old diaries, letter from when Craig and I were dating, movie ticket stubs, everything. One man's trash, another man's treasure, right?

Anita said...

ABBY, BLISSED-OUT GRANDMA, HILARY -It appears that we all put a lot of value on our photos, and other sentimental things. Nice. :)

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