Not long ago, I visited Mexico and Miami, Dallas and Denver, Houston and Hawaii. I traveled to the 1890s and 1965 too, spending several hours in the 1940s along the way. All within the 10 foot by 15 foot area of my home office. All through photographs.
About a year before my dad’s death, I made one of my week-long visits to his home in Lewisville, Texas. As usual, he and his wife Dee took me to their senior center dance (“To show you off,” Dad said) and to meet their friends at a favorite dinner spot. This time, though, Dad added an unexpected item to our agenda. He carried a file box to the dining room table and opened it to reveal thousands of photographs.
“I’d like to go through these with you,” he said, “and put names on them.”
Inside I groaned, but being a good daughter, agreed. We spent much of the next three days on the tedious task.
Now, years later, I have a scanner for my computer, and I’ve been copying those pictures—all neatly labeled with names, dates, and places. How glad I am that I spent that time with Dad, hearing his stories and meeting his childhood friends and distant relatives through those photographs. Although I’ve discarded a few, I’ve also preserved some treasures—my grandfather in his World War I uniform, our family camping at Possum Kingdom Lake, my mom dressed up for her senior prom. I feel honored to have them.
Once my scanning project is done, I’ll make CD’s for my brothers. They won’t have the pleasure of handling each picture, one by one, as I did with my dad. But at least they’ll have a record of our family’s past and can visit some of the places in his photographs too. I’m sure they’ll be delighted.
(Just a reminder: If you have photographs that are important to you, please be sure they have the name of the persons pictured as well as the date the photo was taken written on the back.)