Sunday, June 22, 2014

Where are the historical connections?


My mother passed away recently and, as happens in many families, when going through her stuff I found boxes of old photographs, letters, and other family history items. As my wife and I started to make sense of it all it occurred to me that this may be the last generation that will be able to connect to their family history through images and words.
I now have photos of my great-grand parents from the late 1800's and photos of family gatherings from 60 years ago in frames on the bookshelf. Yet, I don't have one printed digital photo I have taken of family members at my mothers funeral. They are all stored safely in Google+, other cloud storage or on the hard drive of my computer. I  have shared a few with family members, but I do worry that they will be forgotten and languish in a digital nether world never to be seen.
Remember photo albums? These are chronicles of our lives that in a digital age may be dieing.
And it is not just photographs. My mom kept a letter from a great-aunt that about how difficult the American civil war was on children. She also kept a letter I send her when we moved to Pennsylvania. How many of use will keep emails or text messages to mark important events in our lives? 
So I guess it is up to me to make sure that this does not happen. Sharing photos digitally is great, but there is a connection that happens when you have a framed photo on you bookshelf or desk that you can look at everyday. So I will make sure that when I have an important photo I get it printed on quality paper and frame it or put it in a photo album.
The above photo is my mother, Dorothy, and me at 18 months.