3 Nov
2014
Posted in: uncategorized
By    Comments Off on Weeping and Gratitude for Old Photos

Weeping and Gratitude for Old Photos

Rainbow at the cabin (old photo)

I’ve been sifting through old photographs and making digital copies to preserve what remains from a photo album of yellowing 35-year-old memories.

The desire to archive photos for my extended family led me to sitting in front of my scanner weeping for the majority of Monday. I wept tears of sadness for the smiling people in the photos that have been gone more than a decade and some even longer. I wept for all the young people in our family that never knew those faces I remember so well. I wept with laughter at the numerous photos of squirrels and chipmunks well documented in the album. I smiled through tears at the photos I discovered taken from near the same places I take photos every summer. Honestly, I wept because my heart is soft. The tug of long forgotten memories does a number on me.

The front of the cabin (old photo)

The front of the cabin (new photo)

It started this summer with a visit to the cabin my grandfather owns in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. There has always been a photo album there filled with random photos of people, wildlife and the land surrounding the cabin. I noticed the album was literally falling apart. A closer inspection revealed photos ridiculously stuck to those film-covered photo sleeves of my youth. I wanted those memories. I decided to bring the album home with the intention of removing the photos, making digital copies and giving them to whoever in the family wanted them.

It has taken months for me to get to the point where I could begin scanning. I spent weeks gingerly fingering the pages of the decrepit photo album. I researched methods to remove the photos from the pages with minimal damage. I was nervous the day I finally acted on the research and began the process of removing photos. It was time-consuming and nerve-wracking, but successful.

At the cabin table (old photo)

At the cabin table (new photo)

The majority of the photos are small and square, fit for Instagram. Most from the album were taken in 1978. Much has changed with the people in those photos. My great grandmother and grandmother, who loved that mountain and cabin, died when I was in college. There have been a lot of little feet traipsing around the grounds those women adored. I hope they know I still take my family there — that I love it as much as they did.

I was struck by how much has really stayed the same…the curtains, the kitchen chairs, the dishes.

The road leading to the cabin (old photo)

The road leading to the cabin (new photo)

The photographer of 1978, one of those matriarchs (I believe), loved the view leading up the road as much as I do. I remember wandering that road, being taught about wildflowers, and standing across the road playing softball with dried cow pies as bases. I’m glad I know that someone I loved stood where I stand in the summer snapping a photo of the same scene I’m still blessed to view. Though I wept while handling these memories, I feel connected in a way I didn’t before this project. Next summer when I stand on that road looking south, I’ll be comforted by thoughts of my great grandmother or grandmother standing there over 35 years ago feeling blessed to call that place home.

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments are closed.