I believe I have found the last box of photo albums and loose photos, stacked by movers in the garage, interspersed with boxes of books, hiking equipment, children’s games, kitchen utensils mementos... I wanted to bring the photos into the house and sort them as soon as possible, because it’s late summer, the weather is hot and muggy - as is the garage - and photos just don’t keep well under such conditions. Indeed, as I’ve been looking through photos, it’s obvious that many didn’t keep well even in an air-conditioned house or in a climate-controlled storage unit.
Apparently, my memory also hasn’t kept well, because several of the photos are of people and places I don’t remember. Fortunately, I had the good sense to date many of the albums, but some weren’t even dated. I’m sure I had them in chronological order on shelves in my home of 34 years. But when albums were transferred to boxes, the order didn’t hold.
I do like order and organization, and the amount of moving I’ve done since retirement has disrupted whatever tenuous order I had previously managed to sustain. Added to the chaotogenic (a made-up word meaning chaos-inducing) effect of moving, is the sheer volume of stuff I have accumulated. I’m a historian at heart and keep records of many things. Written records. Photographic records. Financial records. Musical records. Magazine articles. Lecture outlines. Textbooks. Mementos. Much of that was in storage while I lived either abroad or in a small condo space during the past ten years. But now, what has not been put away in the new house is still in boxes in the garage. And the shelves and floor space in the house seem pretty much filled. A lot of what’s left in the garage will have to go.
Starting with the photos. Many folks say that, if their house was on fire, what they'd most want to save – after family and pets – would be their photos. But I would need a cart to transport all the photo albums I have accumulated. I’ve made it through three albums, already, from 1980 through 1985. It all seems daunting! If I hadn’t already learned, by long, grim experience, that things get finished simply by doing a little bit at a time, I’d abandon the whole project.
How will I triage the photos? Many of them will simply be thrown away, particularly if I have multiple pictures of a place or an occasion, or if I don’t remember the source of the photo or the people in it. Many will go to my three daughters. Some will go to friends. In all cases, the photos need to be dated and located for the sake of their recipients. What a job! I hope to scan and keep electronic copies of a few of the most interesting ones.
Maybe scanned pictures can dapple the pages of the excerpted journals – at least those of the past 30 years.