In Search of Memories

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

Oh My. What a week of unseasonably nasty, cold, and rainy days! In contrast, the weather could not have been more perfect Easter Sunday for those who chose to go to Sunrise Services and fellowship breakfasts like those our church offered. And it could not have been more wonderful for those who were hiding colored eggs in their yards and for those precious little ones who were searching and finding them! Picture Perfect! I can only imagine the family photos that were snapped with IPhones and Androids on that gorgeous Resurrection Day!
My oldest daughter, obviously encouraged by the Easter spirit, posted a photo on Facebook that she had scanned of herself and her little sister in their 1970s Easter finery made by their Grandma. I am surprised she could find a photo from that era in her keepsakes; so many of our pictures were either Polaroids or slides taken with a 35 mm camera.
Remember those? We would send that little roll through the mail, holding our breath, hoping and praying that they would be returned to us. When they did come back, they were either in a little folder with 24 or 36 prints or a small box with that same number of slides. It was an exciting day, doubly exciting if less than 25 percent of the photos were cloudy white or dull black, undeveloped because of some error made during the taking. I remember clearly carrying that folder in my purse for weeks, making sure that every family member, friend, and acquaintance was shown the photos. If we ordered the 35 mm slides, we would choose an evening when we could sufficiently darken our living room, invite family and friends over for popcorn and a “show!”
All those slides, which captured years of wonderful memories, are packed away, their once vibrant colors fading, the celluloid turning brittle in their little yellow and black boxes. At one time, we purchased a gadget that allowed us to transfer the slides to our computer. We managed to get about a hundred done before putting the project away for another day, another day which never came…now both the slides and the gadget are lost…misplaced in our move to Senoia four and a half years ago. This is a tragedy. You know, I’m sure, the number of hours we have spent searching for those little celluloid pictures, fading as surely as the stacks of Polaroids which were taken during the 1970’s and 1980’s. And even the photos we successfully transferred from 35 mm slides are sitting inside the hard drive which belongs to the giant Dell computer which is out of commission, hulking upstairs in a bedroom closet. Sigh.
Then Technology changed the way we took photographs and the way we stored them. And Facebook changed the way we shared them. Then along came Snap Chat and Instagram which allowed us to take a picture, share it, store it for the blink of an eye, and then caused it to disappear in much less time than a fading Polaroid! And this is progress!
I fought the urge Thursday evening at The Tomato House to take a picture of Bill and myself and the friends who treated us to a special dinner there. My daughter Kim (who does this ALL the time) has gotten me into the fun habit of “checking in” whenever we are eating out. It’s just a silly form of bragging, isn’t it? I mean, we are saying, “Look at us. See. We are having a great time! Ha. Ha. Don’t you wish you were here?” And those pictures join the legions of others that will never be printed.
Actually, it occurs to me that I should be spending more time locating and organizing the hundreds and thousands of photographs that are moldering in closets or are hovering in a virtual “Cloud” somewhere in that mysterious realm called The Internet than in capturing even more “photo ops.” We have many, many storage disks and lots of little “flash drives” with millions, no Zillions of pixels floating about, waiting to be called upon to create pictures, more importantly to be transformed into Memories.
Do any of you know exactly what will happen to me if I begin this process—dragging out past years of Christmas mornings, Easter dinners, birthday parties, summer pool times, long ago vacations and graduations? Children and then grandchildren in somber black robes and flat caps with gold tassels hanging proudly to one side? Any idea how many boxes of tissues will be required while I tape and paste my families’ life stories into albums? Albums which will then be proudly displayed for a few months, enjoyed by a few visitors, and then . . . they too will be stored away in closets, in attics, and in climate-controlled sheds. Do you know what will happen then?
I will be an absolute puddle; every tear a memory.

**Don’t’ forget to make a memory at the Senoia Historical Museum this Thursday night. Local Scott Baggarly will tell the history of the fascinating Buggy Museum on Main Street, Senoia and Newnan resident Jeff Bishop will discuss his newest book Agatahi: The Cherokee Trail of Tears.

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