Some families take pictures all the time. Even in the age of real film, they had albums devoted to specific occasions and closets full of super 8 films. They celebrated half birthdays and quarter birthdays. They celebrated tooth loss and new teeth emerging. They celebrated nothing days.
That would not be my family. I don’t know if it was no interest or no money or no skill but there is a dearth of photos until I’m around 20. I had to work hard to find photos of my grandparents. Two died before I was born, one shortly thereafter and the last remaining one (paternal grandfather) died when I was around six. I have very little memory of him but at least he and my grandmother had a professional portrait taken to send back to the “old country.” By the way, our family did not have copy of that photo. Nobody shared copies of prints back then. I got it from an ancestry researcher living in Austria who came upon it in an attic he was cleaning out. What are the chances of finding me, an ocean away?
My maternal grandfather died when my mom was nine. No family portraits there. No wedding picture or family portrait. Nada. Nothing. About two years ago a cousin who is also an ancestor researcher shared a picture of his grandmother’s (my mother’s oldest sister) wedding (which my mother did not have a copy of). There standing next to her was her dad, my grandfather in the flesh. I was overjoyed. Now I have one picture of him and not surprisingly he looks exactly how I remember his oldest son (my uncle).
After all this rambling I’ll get to the point. My brother gave me the only copy of a photo taken when my mother took a trip to Hawaii. (We didn’t even take photos on vacation!) My mother had a hardy laugh. Her whole face crinkled up. If she laughed, you had to laugh. I had no real picture of that face until now. The very few pictures I have of my mom do not show her mid-laugh. This was a great gift. For a few moments it felt like she was in the same room.
One day I will create a family album with the few shots I have. It’s on my ta-do list but don’t hold your breath. First I have to learn how to do that in an on-line version so friends and family can access. Maybe after I finish painting walls here.