Friday, November 23, 2018

Memories held in hands

Great-Grandma Annie Praul Shive Johnson
A creased and tattered photo--
Held, shown, and stored in a shoe box for decades.
Hard evidence of a life lived
and remembered
Around in a circle on Christmas morning at Grandma's house, that is snapshot where I still see my family, frozen in time.  Photos have a way of capturing the smiles and memories that cannot be stored on a chip, flash drive, disc, cell phone...

A photo brings back sounds of laughter, of dishware placed onto the stretched out table.  Then it would have said the table was a mile long and the browned turkey as big as the sun. Lots of children noises filled the room, children laughter and some tears.  Just a quickly as they started, they stopped when grace was said and dishes filled.


A photo inhales wafting mashed potatoes with gravy cascading down the mountain and onto stuffing.  Creamed, buttered, fragrant, never-ending--amazing food, enough to feed entire towns. 


Then pies.  Queens of homemade pies, that's what Grandma and Mom were. Name any filling and these queens could whirl to place perfect pies, steaming hot, crust golden brown on the table.
  
 Front row: Robert, Bill, and me (with my new doll)
Don, Mary, Dad and Mom Christmas 1959


A photo can be held, placed lovingly an album, where smiles and bright eyes will look at it, talk about that day.  Remember...Mom nearly spilled the gravy...apple pie was...

A photo is taken of people of people frozen in time. "Hold still. Bill, stop it..." Click and wind. Click and wind. Then the roll of film would be put in an envelope, sent off, and returned. Open the envelope. And Christmas is re-lived over and over.


Food and family without end


A photo will travel across decades to find its way into hands of one who calls back that day with all its senses.  One who will caress faces of those long gone, saying, "I know when this happened."
Grandma and Grandpa Cardiff at home

A photo kept safe for decades in a box emerges into my hands. I can still smell the pies and feel the love all around us.

Can one do this with a digital? Can one hold the photo and feel all that?



53 comments:

  1. A photo in hand does reach into the emotions.

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    Replies
    1. As I sort through the mass of our own photos, I feel that same about our own lives and memories.

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  2. I agree -- there's just something irreplaceable about touching a photo that has passed through so many hands over the years. Great post!

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    1. Thanks. My parents become alive when I see them on the paper.

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  3. I showed my nephews old pictures of me and their dad when we were little. I kind of felt like I was 80 years old (well not really) doing so.

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    1. Not 80 yet! Keep showing them photos so they will have a sense of the past.

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  4. Oh wow, but your words have massaged my heartstrings! "A photo will travel across decades …." Yes!
    Thank you, Susan, for identifying what I've always known, but failed to realize.

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  5. Hi Susan - happy memories ... and yes old photos remind us of times gone by and bring out memories that we have forgotten ... each sibling their own. It is that time of year for these ... lovely photos - cheers Hilary

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  6. Precious.
    And how lucky you are to have those memory triggers.

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  7. I am lucky, truly blessed to be able to call up those memories.

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  8. I have so many photo albums. I love pictures. I keep digital photos in a folder and get them printed every few months when I have a bunch of them.

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    1. You are doing it right. Now I am scanning the hard copy photos so I can keep a digital record of them BUT I will keep them in a box.

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  9. Isn't it fun to call up those memories? I do the same thing.

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    1. This keeps the stories alive, told to my progeny and theirs with the photos to be the impetus.

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  10. You make such a good point. Think I need to touch my past in such a manner.

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  11. Oh, please do. You will be amazed at what you will remember.

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  12. I totally agree with what you are saying. I still have some very special family photos that I enjoy looking at. Memories come flooding back to me when I'm looking at them.
    Have a wonderful weekend, Susan.

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  13. Digital is different.

    A few years ago, my brother got all the old family photos converted to digital. My mother had thousands of slides. She's been meaning to do it, but my brother has the connections and knew where to send them.

    Upon getting the discs back, he figured out how to upload them to Google. Then he shared them with the whole family. So, now I have pictures of the grandparents going back as far as the '50s online. And I can access them from my phone.

    No, it's not the same as physical. But they're on the cloud and forever preserved.

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    1. So much logic to this. What can be done with tech is utterly amazing.

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  14. There is something about holding them that can stir memories indeed.

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    Replies
    1. The tactile part of us wants to hold and touch things. Ask any 2 year old.

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  15. Some of them just have to be printed out. Looking at the screen is not quite the same.

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    1. Holding makes me feel that they are almost here.

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  16. This past summer I went "home" to visit family, and one of the chores my sister and I planned was to review all of the old family slides for digital conversion. They are getting really old and starting to fall out of the holders. We had so much fun looking at all of those old slides, of which there were probably 300 to 400.
    We chose the ones we wanted, and although I haven't done it yet, I have a container of about 60 that I will test with one of the slide to digital conversion companies. It might not be exactly the same, but sitting in the living room, running the projector while eating popcorn was fun.

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    1. That must have been a hoot! A few years ago, I organized our super 8 films and took them to a video transfer person. I narrated what was happening. Glad we did that then, the films were smelling like vinegar, a sign of disintegration.

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  17. I can remember the days and things that happened while looking at the photos on my computer. I don't need to physically hold the photo. It is nice to be able to, but for me, not necessary. I can look at the first day of school photo of my eldest and remember the whole day, with her younger brother missing her so much he spent the day on her bed asking every few minutes if it was time to go and pick her up.

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    1. Those were great times, weren't they? I have some goofy photos of us like that. We couldn't have been that young.

      My photos go back decades to the beginning of the 20th century. These people are known to me through my parents' stories. I hate to think that those times would be forgotten.

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  18. The most precious items I own are in between the covers of those photo books. The thousands of others are stored in some cloud and because of their sheer numbers mean less to me.

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    1. I have 100s of digital photos, which are fun to look through quickly. I put many in folders and digital albums.

      the photos that count the most are these above.

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  19. It's good to have those memories, especially when they're good ones.

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  20. Hi, Susan. Thanks for dropping by my place. ♥

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  21. Dear Susan, I have photos that go so far back that the person held there is someone whose name or relationship to me I don't know. My family didn't have a camera when I was growing up and so there is little to see of our life together. And I didn't have a cell phone/camera until this year so I have taken only a few photos--maybe twenty--that way. But what Arleen says about a photo held by hand and a digital photo held by cloud makes so much sense to me. Peace.

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  22. I've never been good about taking photos, much to my own regret. Memories are vivid nonetheless.

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    1. I understand. We never know what we have and had back then.

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  23. I regret not taking more pictures when the kids were young, and I regret losing some of the ones I had, when my computer crashed. I do need to print out pictures I still have on my old blogs.

    My sister and I went through two boxes of old photos after our mom died. We divided them up, after reliving our youth, and that of Mom and Dad.

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    1. That must have been a delight to share together.

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  24. What wonderful memories.
    There's nothing better than homemade pie.

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  25. This is a beautiful post, Susan, and very spot-on. (Which is one reason why I print out my favorite photos.) You nailed it. I love your writing and the way you share your memories. Simply beautiful.

    Thanks for coming over to Marmelade Gypsy -- it's always nice to see you there. I realized you are a new follower (thank you!) and delighted to do the same.

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  26. I enjoy photographs and yours are a real treat and a sign of happy times shared with family.

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  27. Replies
    1. I hope all bloggers will unearth their own photos and think/talk about them.

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  28. All 3 of my grown children fill up their phones with pictures and then delete them to add more. I tell them all of the time to print some. They brush it off. I can't imagine a generation without photos. Real photos. I begged my mom to share some of my grandmother's. The last trip up she had a shoe-box-sized container made of plastic, filled with precious photos from my grandparent's lives, for me. :) Treasure.

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    1. A treasure indeed. Your children can upload their photos to their Google acct photos, then into an online album. these can be printed up any time.

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  29. Wow !!! absolutely fantastic blog. I am very glad to have such useful information.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!