A great gift

The gorgeous hunk is probably around 70 now!

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.

70 thoughts on “A great gift

  1. Oh wonders finding those pictures! Nothing makes the people more “real” than a snapshot of a moment. Love your mom’s smile. (Why is it moms only look like mom when the camera catches them unaware?)
    All the pictures are safely boxed here, but making memory/scrap books was never my thing…maybe someday, I keep saying. Mom did a bunch of family history, so I’m lucky to have a start. We had old movies – which I moved to CD’s and shared with family’s but now that technology is old and needs to be updated. Sigh. I don’t even have the excuse of walls to paint…yet.

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    • It was amazing. I belong to an ancestry group solely for the specific area in Austria that my grandparents emigrated from. That’s how one guy found me with a portrait of my dad’s family when he was a child. Score!

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  2. I love the idea that you could take what you have and create an on-line portfolio, of sorts. It might lead to connections and photos that others might remember and share. I have found family photos on Ancestry.com uploaded by people I don’t even know, and it always feels so weird to me to someone else referring to my great-grandparents as either their grandparents, too, or somehow connected to their own loved one. I really do encourage you to get started on your projects when you can find the time to begin. Even if you start really small, it would be meaningful.

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    • The pictures of my grandparents I got from other researchers who share the same lines. It is such a great day when I get a message from someone about an ancestor. I have filled in many holes in my tree through that. Ah yes, the on-line photo album. First I have to find a good platform.

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  3. I am lucky my parents took pictures all the time to document my childhood and teen years and since I had no siblings, there were lots of pictures. My mom gave me her Baby Brownie camera when I was old enough to handle it, so I began taking photos at a young age. My Kodak pocket camera was always with me so I have a lot of photos of family and friends through the years. Digitizing my photos was one of the best things I’ve done, even though many of them need to be tweaked as the photos are often four on a single album page and need to be enlarged to a decent size. That was the case with the photos I used yesterday … for a while my parents had their photos developed at a place where the photos were very small. It will be a project for retirement to tweak all the photos which took me all of Thanksgiving weekend 2017 to scan in.

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  4. I have few photos from my childhood so I more than make up for it now so my niece wouldn’t have that problem. I am always the official photographer at gatherings- plus I can avoid being in photos by being on the other side of the lens. 🙂

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    • That may have been part of the problem. Many people in my family don’t like their picture taken so they avoid it. Good that you are picking up the slack! Down the road people realize it doesn’t matter how good or not good you look. People who love you want to have something to remember.

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  5. Hi, I popped over to visit from Ally’s place. We didn’t have a lot of photos either but I do at least have one or two of each of my grandparents and a couple when my parents were growing up. Strangely there are lots of other photos of people I don’t know. I need to go through and toss one of these days too. I hope you will find the time and patience to put together that album.

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  6. If I had my arm around that nice looking guy, I’d sure be smiling too. Great shot, and if you take it to a photo place, they could even crop him out, and you’d have a great photo of just your Mom or maybe someone you knows has Photoshop and they could do it too. I had all the albums. When we moved last time, I took the photos out and put them in photo boxes. I chuckle some times because I don’t think the younger generations have much interest regardless of what format old photos are in, but I guess a box is easier to dispose of. Definitely finish the painting first. 🙂

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    • I have photoshop and will crop her so I have a great picture of her alone. I have one album from my childhood with those little pasted corners. Most of the corners are unpasted so when you open the book, everything falls out. All the rest are in photo boxes. Much easier.

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  7. Yes, sadly i have few pictures of my dad as a boy. We have some of my mom and dad early in their marriage but none as kids. There are a few different easy to use online ways to make an album. Shutterfly is one and also creative memories – I’m a consultant if you ever need help. I still prefer the actual paper, scissors and glue way of making albums. Digitally made ones don’t hold the appeal for me.

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  8. Hi Kate. I am working on albums in a conventional format (to me that is letter size stock in a loose leaf binder) because it allows for total creative freedom. Noting the distinct value in a digital copy, I simply scan the completed pages. The end result is that I can send them to anybody who is interested, and I also have a traditional album (my preference for browsing anyway) which can be modified as more pics etc. become available. Just a thought! 🙂

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  9. My Dad was a picture taker and had a darkroom. We took photos. After my Mom died I was surprised at how little photos there were. And then when my Aunt died I was sure all those photos would be with her but they weren’t. The picture of your Mom is truly a gift. I have some of my favorite photos of my Mom framed and out but there were very few pictures of my Dad. I think you will get a kick out of creating a family album and it will be dear to you.

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    • I’m surprised you don’t have a lot. I took a photography at the local college. We had to do darkroom work and our own developing. I toyed with creating a darkroom but in the end decided not to. Most of the photos I took for the class were of the “artsy” variety rather than people so I didn’t get a lot of family shots from it.

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  10. Picture taking….either you like it or you don’t. My mother never thought to take photos, but luckily my dad was the photographer and videographer of our family. I inherited his picture taking gene, and now with everything digital I probably take waaaaaaaaaaay too many pictures. One of my ongoing projects is to put them in some kind of order, and getting all of the family albums I inherited in a digital format as well, for easy sharing. I pity my family having to sort through them all at some point…hehehe!

    Deb

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  11. I love the photo of your mum laughing. I am sure that is how she would want to be remembered. I had a lot of family photos but nobody thought to write on the back who they were so I could not identify them.

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    • The few I have are not identified nor are they dated. My brother is older than I am and was better at dating and identifying but it was still hard. Even this one. We could sort of date because of the Hawaii trip which occurred in the late 1970s but we don’t remember exactly what year.

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  12. My family wasn’t much for photos, either. I have my parents’ wedding photo with their parents, but my maternal grandfather was already deceased. I have one photo of me as a baby. Maybe 2 toddler photos with my siblings. My dad forgot the camera for my high school graduation, shocker. There are so few photos of most of us kids that when we came home from college one year, my full siblings and I had a professional photo taken, just of us. About ten years after that, though, we started having weddings and suddenly there are plenty of photos.

    Now that everyone has cellphone cameras, it’s an avalanche of photos of nieces and nephews.

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    • We have some reunion photos from the late 1990s and early 2000s but someone is always missing. My step son took one at the reunion about 3 years ago and he spent significant time posing us in the best light and it’s the best picture I have of the whole gang but my nephew was missing that day. Maybe if we have a reunion this year we’ll try it again. I want to get a professional shot taken of my husband and me but it always seems to slip by the wayside.

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  13. Glad that you are garnering a small collection of family shots. Have fun curating them.

    I have the opposite problem. My grandfathers and mom & dad were all avid photographers and my siblings and I all followed their lead so we have TONS of albums, CD’s of photos, DVD’s of home movies, etc. I could get lost in the past.

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  14. That is a great gift…..we were not a family of photo takers either. I do have a few photos but most of my photos I took after I was out on my own. I have a big cardboard box full……and I also have my Mom’s photo albums (mostly photos of her and her friends and places she’d traveled to) and an album with photos belonging to my Dad which had photos of him as a young soldier and a FEW of us. It’s obvious picture-taking wasn’t a priority back then. Not sure why but I didn’t inherit the “never use a camera” gene…..I love taking photos but often forget to bring along the camera! At least I try! I’m happy you have a smiling Mom photo – that surely is a keeper.

    Hugs, Pam

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    • I am so jealous of families that have lots of photos to choose from. I have a few of my parents when they were young but very few of my dad. He died when he was 55 and I have maybe two from after I was born. He was very handsome and had an upbeat side to him. I wished I had more of both of them.

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        • Yes he was. I was 10 at the time. I wish my parents had a portrait taken. I love looking at old pictures. I can see traits passed on. I was amazed at how much my mom’s brothers (all except one who looked more like her mom) favored her dad in looks. Looking at a picture of her dad, I said, “OMG! That’s Uncle Joe!” but the age wasn’t right. It had to be his dad.

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