Trusting To Memory

I’ve been going through some old family photos. It is an at times frustrating experience.

When we take the photo we know we will never forget the moment. It will be burned into our consciousness forever. So there is no reason to write on the back of the picture who is in it. How could we forget Joe and Madge?

Of course, not everyone knows Joe and Madge. Especially the younger generation. And as far as these pictures go, I am the younger generation. The box of photos was passed on by my mother. Many of them came from her mother. Most of them are unlabelled.

Which has me wondering what to do with them. Is there any value for future generations if I don’t have a clue who these people are? I should throw them in the trash, right? Who wants several hundred black and white photographs of people they don’t know?

I must admit though, part of me wants to keep them. I’m going to at least scan a large number, though I have no idea why. Maybe I’ll start a family photos blog. Hmm, that sounds like a great idea – should I?

Looking at these pictures I have learned a bit about one branch of the family. Problem is, I have no idea who they are and have no recollection of anyone mentioning them. Therefore I am making an assumption that they are family, but why else would there be so many pictures? I don’t think photography was as commmon in 1920 as in 2021. People wouldn’t keep pictures of some random family’s children, would they?

The pictures from the family ranch in Colorado especially puzzle me. I didn’t know we had family in Colorado back in 1920, let alone that we had a ranch. I’m curious as to whether it is still in the family, though my connection to any American cousins I have never met is pretty slight.

At least I’ve been invited to use the family villa in Italy, though a visit there never seems to fit into my schedule. Maybe next year.

I was curious as well as to who the couple in the above picture might be. There were several copies (or maybe the shots were slightly different – I didn’t examine them closely), which had me wondering if perhaps it was my maternal grandparents on their wedding day. It seemed about the right vintage.

Unlike most of the photos in the box, this one has writing on the back, which I have reproduced below. Remember what I said about never forgetting the moment?

Thank you to whichever long-passed relative for making sure future generations knew whose picture they were looking at.



  1. Anonymous · · Reply

    The lapels are more typical of the mid 1940s, not the 1920s. The groom is short with wavy hair, possibly auburn, and strong hands – think back to who you know from our childhood who fits the bill of this couple.

  2. I saw this earlier today and spent several hours weighing my response.
    I think scanning pictures is the worst possible option because not many years from now, the devices or software necessary to read those scans may no longer exist.
    My father opted to shoot all our family pictures on 2¼ x 2¼ slides. Only toward the end of his life did he state his regret; wishing he’d gone with print instead so he could pull them out and look at them more readily.
    Call me a dinosaur, but I think print should always be the default. I have a similar box and half the time we don’t know who anyone is, but it’s fun to imagine.

    1. I agree, but…

      The devices may no longer exist, but there will still be ways of accessing. I used to work in a microfilm unit in the government. The stuff is still readable, though scanning would have been better – but that technology didn’t exist 40 years ago.

      I can make a digital copy of a slide by poiinting my phone at it. Works quite well. And I have thousands of old slides.

      I will probably keep a lot of the paper photos, but i can pretty much guarantee my children will toss them within 24 hours of my death.

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