Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Old photos, what am I to do with them???

One of the many boxes, I packed while moving, was an extremely large box, about the size of a refrigerator box, that I filled with nothing but old photos. In past homes, I have always had ample storage space and never thought twice about the massive amount of photos I have accumulated over the years.

When moving to this tiny home, I knew I had no place to store all of these old photos, but what is one to do with old photos? I decided to pack these boxes and like Scarlett, “I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

So here I sit with a zillion old photos. Doesn’t everyone have old photos? What does one do with them? Do you throw them away, that seems so very wrong? On the other hand, my stacks of old pictures seems rather outlandish. 

When I was a little girl, our family home had a long hallway that was T-shaped. There was a linen closet tucked in the top left of the T-shaped hallway and in the bottom of that closet, my mother stored all of our old family photos. I loved nothing more than on cold rainy days, sitting on the floor in the corner of that long hallway and pulling out those old photos. I would pour over them, I would concoct stories behind those pictures, as if I were reading a beloved fairy tale. Mother had photos, not only of our immediate family, but of relatives long gone. I became friends with my ancestors on those lonely, rainy days. Gazing into their solemn faces and tired eyes, I would dream up stories of what their lives were like and I always played a central character, usually the heroine (surprise, surprise), in every imaginary tale.
I inherited many of those old photos and still when I open the box of Merrill/Elliott archives I am taken back to that spot on the floor of my childhood home. How can I possibly throw these precious heirlooms away?

While Steve was sick and I had a lot of time on my hands, I scanned tons of old photos. I scanned pictures taken of trips we had made, photos of all 4 children and their children, old photos of the Harris/Boswell family, the Elliott/Merrill family, and more, oh so much more. As a result, today my iPhoto Library now consists of 10,551 images and they are all backed up on external hard drives. Really!?!

10,551 downloaded photos

Not only did I scan, but I made DVD’s for the children accompanied by carefully selected music and old home movies. I could watch these masterpieces over and over, but the kids were not quite so taken with my handmade stories of their lives. Then I made DVD’s of both family’s old photos. I made photo books archiving our families. I made photo books of all of our trips, each one is priceless…to me.

Among my favorite books...

You might think my photo obsession would stop here, but you would be so wrong. I love all my framed photos, precious memories of past moments.  These photos fill the tops of my bedroom chests, bookshelves and tabletops. 

Years ago, I downloaded hours of photos into one of those digital frames. It now sits on my closet table and each morning the pictures automatically pop-up and the images fill my heart as I smile and remember the moment they were taken and the reason behind each smile. This is joy!

I wrote a piece not too long ago about my potty room and how I had filled the walls with some of my favorite old photos, well I did it again. I now have a “photo gallery” in my new home and again, I have filled its walls with my sweetest memories.  A bit out of control? Yes, but I love walking through that little hallway.

My new photo gallery

I stole an idea from my good friend Debbie Bakke who has a large bowl filled with miscellaneous photos from all ages and stages of life. I now have a large bowl brimming with photos. It’s so fun when friends or family gather because someone is always rifling through the glimpses of the past. It’s one of those Pinterest ideas that should be a must in every home.

Basket full of photos

So, back to my original question, what does one do with boxes of old photos? I love you all my old childhood friends, all my college buddies, all my amazing friends of the past and the present, but must I continue to store boxes and boxes of photos of the fun times we shared when we were 8 or 18 or 38 or 58 years old? 

I have come up with a brilliant solution. Someday, I am going to go through every photo and if your face shows up in one, I am going to mail it to you. Some of you may receive 25+ pictures, but it will then be your responsibility to keep it, pass it on, or toss it, for then my conscience will be clear as will my new little storage room that currently has not 1 but 2 large, long shelves full of photo boxes.

Will I ever be ready for these shelves to be empty?

For what it’s worth,

Philippians 1:3 "I give thanks to my God in every remembrance of you."