Shedding Memories

Prents Wedding

As you get old you downsize from the house to the condo to the apartment in the old folks home. All the old pans and plates, tools you don’t use, the old clothes that have lain in closets, basements and garages… they get tossed, sold or donated.

My parents just made the last move of their lives. I ended up with some of their stuff, including 40 photo albums. I was told to keep the pictures I wanted and get rid of the rest.

There were endless snapshots of vacations and events they considered important, friends of theirs I never knew and didn’t recognize. My father took most of the photographs and he was a terrible photographer. If there was a way to make a handsome person look bad he found it. He seemed to take pictures of everything, including maids and cooks at hotels where he stayed.

The things we have, including our keepsakes, are destined for the landfill just as we will be rendered unto dust. The same was true of these photos. Most of them ended up in the trash.  No loss.

I kept the photos that told the story of my family’s past. I also kept photos I just happened to like. Like I said, with my dad taking most of the pictures there were not a lot of those but they did crop up. As for my family’s past… There were snapshots of my mother’s farm family in depression-era Kansas. Girls in dresses made from flour sacks and boys in overalls.

There were the shots of my dad during WWII. Staged pictures of him in his blue navy uniform, and one with two buddies on a New York sidewalk right before they shipped out. There were two shots of the dance band he played in and the one of him smiling in a shop door in Southhampton, England, where he was stationed.

There were pictures of mom and dad in college and the pictures of their wedding, like the one above. Slowly the black-and-white photos turned to color, though they were colors that faded with the years.

When I threw away all of those old photos I was shedding memories but you don’t remember everything, and it seems like most of the photos we take are good to keep for a year or two. I think of this when I delete old photos I’ve kept on my iPhone. There comes a point when you’ve looked at a photo long enough and it no longer warrants the divot in your soul.

Now, those 40 photo albums have been reduced to two-and-a-half. I think it’s all we need.

Here’s a few more that I kept:

My Grandparents

War photos

Mom's old pics

 

More recent photos

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