Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Their Mementos ~ The Final Verdict & Sentence

This is my courtroom and since I serve as Judge, Jury, and Executioner I am seated in the chair placed at the center of the evidence. This is not a joke. It is an awesome responsibility. These tubs and boxes contain albums and packets filled with photographs plus a few other mementos of auspicious occasions such as funeral and anniversary guestbooks. They represent the lives of my parents. My parents and Mom's mother were meticulous in their care of photos; they wrote names, places, and the date on most. Without a doubt that is where my attention to those details came from on my own photos. So where many, if not most, families would look at this collection as trash because they could not place the photos into any context, it's not that easy for me. I knew the subjects and, with the information written on the back of them, can even place them in time and location. They're not trash to me; they're my life too.

This next view of the court shows that I had to pull two chairs next to mine and also use the side table for areas to stack photos that I'm keeping for myself and a couple of family members. Our youngest sibling, Tom, went through these a couple of years ago selecting important family photos which he scanned and provided copies of for all of us. We are all so grateful for that. However, no one volunteered to actually throw all of the albums and packets of photos away so I have had them here ever since. It's been five years since Mom moved out of her house so it's time for me to take action.

I am removing every photo from its album or packet and deciding whether or not to keep it. It's a labor intensive task but I couldn't bear to just put them all out for the trash pickup like I will do with the empty albums. Perhaps we will burn them at my brother and SIL's...maybe with a bit of ceremony. This review and deliberation procedure is continuing for days, days filled with memories and emotion. As the oldest child, I was present for most of the times captured in these photos ~~ when my much younger sister and brother were born to the birth and childhoods of my children, my niece, and my two nephews ~~ from my great grandparents and my grandparents to my own precious grandchildren ~~ aunts and uncles and cousins and family friends ~~ they are all with me on these days.

I was most curious about something heavy that was inside a large, white, tied plastic bag. It is a box of letters from the 1940s. The letters that Dad wrote to Mom soon after they met and while he served in the Army during World War II are in there. I read one that was lying on top; he was a good writer. There are also letters from other local boys serving in WWII and many letters from her girlfriends plus a few from her own parents. I plan to read them all someday. I'll have to put them away for now though.

Mom sounded good when I talked to her yesterday so when she asked what I was doing, I gently explained all of this to her. I summed it up by saying, “So I guess you could say that I’m spending my days going back and reliving your life.!” She loved hearing that!

My break's over, I'd better get back to my courtroom. Tomorrow is trash day and I have most of the albums emptied of their contents to take out to the curb.

Lovin' Life ~ My Folks' Too!


  1. Don't throw away these treasures! Surely you can find a museum (perhaps a local museum in their hometown) that might want them. Or a collector? The thought of burning all that history makes me too sad.

    Pull out what you love, then find a home for the rest.


  2. Wow! All I can say is wow. All those photos, all those letters, all that HISTORY.

    A daunting task I'm sure, but wow, what a gift.

    And thanks for your lovely comment, btw :-)


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