downsizing and stuff – part 2 – photos

It shouldn’t be surprising, but too much stuff can still survive the process of downsizing. Despite the carloads and truckloads and endless Craig’s List posts and sales, too much stuff snuck into our new – smaller – home.

I wonder…so what? I found room for it – piled in closets and the 2 tiny storage units that we own. And there it stays…possibly mocking me.

Hundreds of photographs, negatives (remember negatives?) and slides (remember slides?) neatly organized by month and year in those fancy decorated shoe boxes you get at Michaels on sale for $2. Who will ever want them? Will they all end up in the nearest dumpster someday?

Photos are now mostly digital…poof! no boxes. No spaces to fill up. You can fit thousands on one of those little flash drives that fit in your pocket.  But nothing to hold in your hand….in their hands. Pieces of photo paper – glossy or pearl finish, with borders or without. Images of history.  Flip them over and if you’re lucky you’ll find  dates, names, places. The older ones may be faded or yellowed. Well loved ones may be creased or lightened from the sun where they were tacked to a bulletin board or hung near a sunny window.

Remember this? When we went to watch sunsets at Sunset Beach? Remember when she was learning to eat with a spoon? Remember when he shot a 3 & pretended to be on the Dream Team? When Opa and I played Pinochle for hours? Look at us sitting there, both of us with cigarettes alight. Memory triggers….

They all tell stories if you look close enough. I think that’s what fascinates me the most. Body language. All lined up sitting on the couch but not touching. Or with arms entwined. That smile, that frown, that wink, that grimace. Who is there and who isn’t. It all tells a story. Some happy. Some not so happy. Some painful. It is all important. To someone. I am the keeper of all that.

And there are the photographs from a hundred years ago – long departed relatives and friends posing for photos only taken a few times in a year. Most are carefully posed with older women and men standing stiffly in a back row behind the younger women or children. Or, as in the case of my grandfather’s family; his father and uncle standing with arms crossed, others grinning, others not. Three generations together. What was the reason for the photo – bow ties and all? A turn of the century family story.

1915
circa 1915

 

This still doesn’t solve my problem. All those photos in the Michael’s boxes. And the rest in file size storage bins – including the aforementioned old photos plus polaroids and instamatic prints. Then there are school pictures of….everybody. I can’t imagine that my adult children will ever want the full extra set of their toothy grin fifth grade photos. Plus the bookshelf stuffed with 40 years of photo albums.

A new friend said to me recently – do you want to leave behind a gift or a burden? Not that I am planning to get to the “leaving behind” stage of life for a while.

So what to do? I still have no idea.

BUT…..It’s so much less than before.

I insist

(to myself)

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