In reading our local paper today, I saw that our County Archives and Veterans Hall is collecting and preserving family photos that are over a hundred years old. Sounds good doesn't it? There is even a citizen of our little 'ville pictured with framed photos of her great-grandparents which are at the Archives.Yeah. Not in her home, but in the Archives. And as far as I can tell there is not even a plate on the pictures to say who these people are. What's the point of preserving them if no one knows who they are?
I grew up never seeing a picture of my mom taken before she met my dad. Seriously. My dad had a picture or two of himself taken when he was a kid. They were taken after his mother's death in 1938. It turns out my mom's brother had some pictures. Another of mom's relatives took off with my mom's Aunt Rose's photos and then tried to pass them off as his own. In that group of pictures were photos of my mom with her Aunt Rose (who raised her) circa 1925-1926 when mom was a toddler. I knew both of my grandfathers, they having died in 1965 (paternal) and 1979 (maternal.) But my grandmothers were a mystery to me. Sure, I knew my step-grandmas and was about ten before it sunk in that neither of my parents referred to my grandmas as mom.
I do have some photos now. A lot of them are really poor copies, but they are all I have. I've been attempting to label and copy them. I can't tell you how precious are the photos of my maternal grandparents on their wedding day, and you can't even really see my grandma's face. Or the professional photos of my grandmother, perhaps for her engagement? I will pass these down to my children, but no way will I give them to an archive. Ever.
Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes