Tonight I decided to finally scrapbook some of the old family pictures I got after my grandparents passed. I am the only one in the family who scrapbooks and who is interested in gathering family history. It means something to me. It means a lot to me actually. I’m not so much into the history of where we began and where we went, but I am interested in the funny stories, like when my grandfather was in elementary school he got second in a spelling bee and bit the ears of the winning girls chocolate bunny that she won. Or how my dad would try to convince my aunt and uncle to fly down the stairs from the boys bedroom on the 3rd floor, until he got caught and got yelled at. I love the silly stories about all the relatives getting together for all night poker games in my great grandmothers house. The common everyday thing.

As I was flicking through the pictures I found one that I have loved forever. It’s a tourist shot. Something set up so people stopped got their picture taken and then would have a souvenir. It’s my grandfather, grandmother, great grandmother and my great aunt. They are sitting in a cart being pulled by a pretend horse and there is a little direction arrow that says Atlantic City. On the back it says Atlantic City 1952. What were they doing? Why did they go to Atlantic City? Was it the diving horse show? Was it a day at the sea? I won’t know. But to sit and hold that picture in my hand, and to think they went, had this taken and thought oh a little reminder of our day. They did not think someday my granddaughter will cherish this and love this picture. 60 years later this will be used in a scrapbook layout so hopefully 60 later than that, family members can still see it and see where we are from. They are not thinking in a year they will be parents, my dad will be born. My grandfather will give my grandmother a heart pendant necklace when she is pregnant with my dad, that she will later give to me when I am pregnant with my first son. They don’t know that a simple necklace will bring me to tears as I write this, because I miss them so. I’m sure my grandmother and my great aunt looked at that picture and thought, oh I can’t believe my hair looked like that or that I wore that outfit, the way my friends and I react when we see pictures, even thought they are beautiful and so are we, but that’s how girls talk. My grandmother will not know she will die from a broken heart 11 days after my grandfather is gone. He will not know that my dad and I will be the ones to break it to her in the ICU after she has been unresponsive for days. They did not know at the moment of this picture that they would have 3 great grand children and would hold them all and play with them and love on them. They did not know how much they would mean to me and how much they are missed by lots of people.

Pictures are a link to the past. The minute the picture is snapped it is the past. Pictures are our way of remembering and loving and holding on and sharing. Pictures are a gift, for those days when you aren’t thinking about anything in particular but you see something and it jogs your memories and the smiles and memories come to you. Pictures are our way of saying we were here, long after we are not.

I may not have great wealth, but I have pictures, and memories and journals and scrapbooks for my kids, so someday we can talk and share and enjoy the history of us, just some ordinary people in an ordinary life.


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