After Bec’s husband died, she made the decision to sell their house in northern Virginia and move lock, stock, and barrel to Arizona, where they had purchased a home a year or so earlier. Her two kids helped as much as they could, but they both had those inconvenient things called JOBS. So it was mostly left up to her. She was amazing. In one summer, she packed up a house in which she had lived for 30-some years. She filled dumpsters, she made trips to Goodwill, she packed boxes and boxes of cherished items.
Only a couple of things threw her. There were a couple of legal guns that he had owned. She didn’t want to touch them. Some may ask why. Not this blogger, because I wouldn’t have touched either gun in a million years. What if the gun is loaded? What if my finger slipped? What if I accidentally pointed it at my face and it went off? She called a friend of her son’s, who came over and took care of getting rid of the guns.
The second thing that brought her to a halt was the photos. Her husband was a voracious photographer, and a good one at that. He was patient when he took a picture — patient to the point that by time he finally pressed the button, we were all yelling at him through fake smiles: For the love of God, Terry, take the damn picture.
There were hundreds and hundreds of photos. The two of them were well-travelled, and the photos confirmed that. There were photos of their children through the years. There were photos of trips to Colorado to visit the family. There were photos of European and Japanese shops, because he liked to photographically document where he bought special keepsakes. You can imagine how they added up.
After giving it great thought, she narrowed down the photos using these two rules: the photo had to have a person in it, and she had to know who that person was. After all, he wasn’t around to help identify his Great-Aunt Lucille. That meant that photos of the Eiffel Tower or Pikes Peak were tossed. Her philosophy was if I want to see a photo of the duomo in Florence, I can google it.
Don’t worry. I’m not going to show you any more old family photos since I have inundated my blog with photos this week so far. But what occurred to me as I looked at the old photos is that I’m not sure we have made things easier by storing our photos on our cell phones or in the Cloud. That just makes it really, really difficult to show people our photos. I can recall a million times when someone has passed their germy cell phone around so that we can look at their granddaughter dancing in The Nutcracker or eating their first birthday cake.
Bill and I use Google Photos to store our pictures. It helps keep my cell phone from using all of its storage capacity on photos. It doesn’t, however, make it any easier to find a photo I want to show someone. Google Photos is good as long as you have a reasonable sense of when the photo was taken. Mostly, I can’t remember photos that I took yesterday.
Standing around a friend’s computer screen or staring at a cell phone isn’t quite as much fun as passing around photos of your grandkids opening their Christmas gifts. But it’s a technological world, and being able to take a photo of a kitchen table you like in the store makes up for the coldness of the computer screen.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing that makes it fun to look at travel photos from the person in the next cubicle, whether it’s on a computer screen or a piece of photo paper.