As awful as it all was, I was given a great gift; an AMAZING gift, while I was there.
I once mentioned long ago, I didn't get any of the albums after my mom passed; that I practically had NO pictures of my childhood. (I might have been unduly angry at my brother for that.) The rest of it, I didn't care about...but those pictures? It broke my heart.
The day before the viewing, my brother called and asked me to follow him home afterward. He had been able to get his hands on quite a few of the albums before my mother's husband changed the locks. Again, the bastard.
(WHY, it has taken him SIXTEEN years to let me know that he's had these treasures in his possession is beyond me - but whatever.)
Unfortunately, I was only able to carry three home with me on the plane. But my brother has promised that he would send the remainder to me so that I can scan the pictures so we can share them.
Upon arriving home, I began to pore over the albums. As these three were some of the earliest albums I don't remember much about those years (as they span the year before my birth and up to the beginning of my second year), but I do remember seeing these pictures later on in my childhood.
I have spent hours upon hours, sometimes tedious hours, removing the pictures from the albums, scanning, cropping, naming and saving pictures - all while reminiscing over days that are so far gone. Gazing lovingly on people who were once a huge part of my life. Others, while not part of my daily existence, still hold a special place in my heart. Even others who have been out of my life for years - either by their will or God's - but still have a piece of my heart.
As you know, my parents were divorced. If I'm recalling correctly, it happened when I was about 10? Maybe 11 or 12. Either way, old enough to remember all the ugliness when it went south. Looking at these pictures reminded me that they had once been in love. And that they'd loved each other a lot. And us. They loved us a lot. The evidence is in the pictures. The pictures tell a story.
|Like this one...|
My mother was quite the shutterbug. That damn camera was ALWAYS in her hand. Good times or bad. I told the Husband just yesterday - in the midst of the scanning, cropping, naming & saving of pictures - that my mother would have been in hog heaven if she had been around to experience the digital camera! Think of the money she would have saved if she hadn't had to have every single roll of film developed. And although, I sometimes despised her having that camera at the ready at all times, now I'm grateful she did.
In all the albums, except one, my mother was quite proficient at adding all the names, dates & purpose of the pictures. And that one album is the one giving me grief. The one conundrum I am wrestling with is what is the best way to identify those vague people that I know are family but aren't quite sure who they are. My brother might know some of them. My cousin would know more. But I certainly don't want to over burden anyone with the task of identifying people from so long ago. I am not using the words "over burden" lightly - each album contains at least 112 pictures apiece. In the one album, I would say 90% of the people are vague to me. In the other albums, I would say there might be about 20% that are vague - if not downright impossible to figure out how they fit into the scheme of things. So this is something (else) for me to chew on for a while to figure out the best and easiest solution.
So while I wait for the next promised box of albums, I shall continue to pore over these. Treasuring them all the while.
As a quick side note - if you, or loved ones, have the old magnetic albums from the 60's & 70's pull them out and start removing those pictures! Apparently, the glue used back then will eventually make those pictures difficult, if not impossible to remove. I resisted going the chemical route at first, but after one ruined picture I headed to Michael's and bought this miracle product called Un-du (thank you, Google!). Although it's kind of a pain the way the applicator is positioned, this stuff works miracles! Once I bought this stuff very few pictures suffered tears...unless I got in a hurry. Unfortunately, I had one whole album where every single picture was stuck - and it took hours and a lot of patience - but it's done. Until the next batch of albums arrive - hopefully, soon. And, as always, I was not compensated for this recommendation. I bought the product and my opinions are my own