MRS. MURFREESBORO: Memories remain locked away

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Jeanne Bragg

My husband, Tommy, said the other day that no one has photographs anymore because they're all locked up in someone's computer or camera.

I didn't pay much attention to his comment until lately, and the more often I think about it, the more I realize he's right. In some ways it's disconcerting.

On one hand, it is invaluable to have the sophisticated devices of today to capture history and record special moments instantaneously.

I have movies of the first time my grandchildren turned over, photos of things from the sewing store I have bought fabric for to ensure that my handiwork turns out like the prototypes, photos of shrubs that I want to identify, as well as countless others. These, too, are all locked on my computer until I need them.

When we were young, taking a photograph involved having an expensive camera, a 1-inch diameter flash bulb for indoors, with a sicky-sweet smell after it flashed, and specific film requirements. Did you need black and white, color, 15 milimeter, 35mm or 8mm film? Film was initially only found in camera stores, though later it sold by large box retailers. Even in those days you had to take it to professionals to be developed.

Along came Polaroid and instant photos were "the bomb."

The trouble with Polaroids is that while the camera didn't cost a fortune, the film did, and capturing moments immediately was only for those who had extra disposable income. Therefore, cameras were used on limited basis for special occasions.

Nowadays, it is quite easy to transfer photos from the camera to the computer, primarily via a USB cord or memory device, and while printing them at home eats up costly printer ink, prints are relatively inexpensive when ordered from an online retailer.

You might think I would take the time to upload special ones and have them mailed to my home, but few people I know, in addition to me, take the time to do that.

We still will have way more photos of our offspring, and in many ways, it is sad to compare the large number of those to the rare ones of us.

Our photographs were almost always black and white and of poor quality, and pictures were rarely put in albums or framed. But oh, when you found them, weren't they fun to discover?

After Tommy's mother died recently, photographs and memorabilia were the first things that were emptied out of her home. And while it is a treat to look at them, it is sad to realize that the identity of many of the subjects are lost forever to history.

If our predecessors didn't record the names on the back of the photos back then. Heaven only knows only that the most disciplined of us won't take a different path unless we commit an inordinate amount of time to document them. Perhaps, one of our Facebook friends could post them for some die-hard aficionado to identify.

I am embarrassed to say I don't carry around photos of my grandchildren, and I try to refrain from flashing their faces around - though my friends may tell you otherwise.

My friend Silvia gave me a modern-day brag book, but I don't keep it up to date.

I do still have my mother's "Grandma's Brag Book" of my own children, which I fondly peruse.

And – let notice be served – unless you have half an hour to kill do not ask Tommy about his grandchildren. You'll see more movies and photos than you will ever want to see from his iPhone. He's shameless.

Seems like a good goal for the New Year would be to catalog all these pictures. I'll put that up there with this year's failed attempts to keep a diary and learn Photoshop.

It appears that sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same.

'Til next week.

Tagged under  Family, Jeanne Bragg, Media History, Mrs Murfreesboro, Parenting, Technology, Voices

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