How long will you be remembered after you die?

November 15, 2019| Heidi

What do you want your future generations to know about you?

I’m very fortunate that I have many keepsakes from previous generations. Photo albums (one from the 19th century!) Scrapbooks. (the old fashioned kind without plastic!) Diaries. Letters. Cabinet cards with no labels. While I treasure all of these family memorabilia, there is something that I wish for. Stories and photos TOGETHER. In my grandmother’s memory-filled album, she has photos, report cards, newspaper clippings, etc. tucked inside. I wish that I can go back in time and have my grandma tell me the stories behind each of these souvenirs! Wouldn’t it be neat if the people of the photos inside the albums could tell me their names, how they are all related, and what they were doing?

What family keepsakes do you have and want to be passed down?

Don’t get me started about all the photo albums that have been put together when cameras and developing pictures became affordable for most people. Is that when plastic started being used for storing all of those trillions (I am just guessing!) of photos? I believe all this started happening around the early 1960s? I was born then, and my mother started documenting my life with photos by using photo corners to attach them to paper pages. Some images were captioned on the pages. Not much later, all photos were put into plastic sleeves. Some of the albums had spaces where captions could be written, but most did not. I wonder how many billions of plastic pages were produced for all the trillions of photos that must have been developed during the five decades or so that developing film was popular? I know that once we started taking pictures with our phones, those massive tombs of albums suddenly stopped being put together. (I’m talking about the albums just for storing photos…scrapbooking albums is another topic for another blog post!)

Now I am an only child, and later, I will face the dilemma of having two bookcases filled with these mostly plastic albums. Space is already at a premium at my house. Even if I did keep all of these precious albums, where will they go after I die? I know that my situation is not unique. This topic I didn’t start thinking about until about two years ago when my elderly neighbors downsized and moved to a smaller home. They told me that their children did not want their albums!! Some of the albums were apparently from great grandparents. I was aghast that the children did not wish to keep those albums. Being very sentimental, this is shocking to me. I do realize that not everyone wants to know about their ancestors, or perhaps just photos without stories are not compelling enough. There is not enough information behind those photos!

How many of these heavy albums do you have and will have? I am afraid to count!! I am guilty of having numerous typical photo albums that are filled with pictures without stories that take up a lot of room. Where will these end up?

Nowadays, people keep photos in their phones and the in “cloud.” I wonder where those “photos” will end up in the future?

Here is a much better alternative:

I am passionate about having a better way to get those memories down. Look through your photo roll and pick out your favorite pictures. Choosing the images could be a family activity. PRINT up those photos! What to do with those photos? I have found the best place to put them is in a simple “album” made from regular letter-sized paper folded in half and stapled along the spine. Finally, write about these photos on the pages. Seriously it can be that simple! As the saying goes: “Done is better than perfect and not done.” Yes, it is nothing fancy, but think for a moment…how much do you think your children and grandchildren will care that you did not use decorative paper? They will be thrilled to see the select hand-picked photos and to read the stories about them.

What do you think? Will your future generations appreciate photos and stories together that do not take up much space?

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