Stephanie Pearce: Printed pictures and stories told
November 8, 2015
I sit in my room on my bed with a box of old black and white pictures. Some are very delicate and flakey on the edges. Some are fading their color — the evidence of how years wear on us all. The oldest were made with sepia coloring that seems to be more durable and less resistant to aging. I look into the history of the times and wonder what their smiles would have looked like, because most contained none.
There's an old Bible that contains the family history. In beautiful cursive handwriting, the most important dates were written along with names. It holds history of where kids were born, when they were baptized, and some of when they died. There's old cards mixed within the pages. These must have been special cards because most of the letters and cards were tied with a string in a trunk. The Bible was so well used that the edges are frayed and the cover is thinning. The fragile pages, that hold so much more than religious teachings, pull me in and make me want to know more about the history it holds.
When I pull these items out, I get so nostalgic. I'm holding the actual photo or piece of paper that someone in my history has held. I'm not looking at it on a computer. I'm not seeing it on my Facebook feed. It's the real deal. It makes me feel so connected in a world where there is little connection.
Scrapbooking used to be a passion of mine. I have books full of pictures with stories to go along with each one. The stories to go with the pictures are as valuable to me as gold. Stories about camping trips where we shot a rattlesnake near where my baby girl was sitting before we took the picture that's in the book. They contain stories about the dogs with the kids, and how each one played a special role in their lives. There are also pictures that are so mundane, such as the kids playing at McDonald's, but when you read the story about why we were there and who we were with, it makes them so much more personal and fun to view.
History is important to me. You need to remind yourself where you've come from to help you to see where you're going and why. But what are we doing with our history? Most of us have it on the computer or in a chip or zip drive somewhere. It's so much easier than printing it out and dealing with putting it in a book. Besides, how often does anyone really look at the books or read the stories? Wouldn't it be easier just to see it on a timeline on Facebook?
Look at how much things have changed in the past 100 years. In 50 years, will we have access to those same pictures on Facebook or on a chip? Print them out. Write your stories. Have something tangible that was a part of you for your great grand kids to look at and see where they came from and why. Let them sit on a bed and hold an actual piece of something you made while they ponder who you might have been.