The Story of Our Lives Together

Dad and Mom arranged all their pictures in albums in chronological order. That must be why I like to have our family albums that way too. After Mom died, I grabbed four photo albums out of the bedroom closet in her house to make the picture boards for her funeral. Looking through all the pictures brought back a lot of memories. One memory that I cherish is of how I looked through all of these albums over and over again throughout my life. It was a story of our lives together all neatly arranged.

Dad was the photographer and Mom organized the photos. Sometimes she wrote the dates on the back and the names of the people who were in the pictures. A lot of times the photographer doesn’t get to be in a lot of pictures. Luckily Dad let the rest of us practice. Dad was sure to point out any errors that we made when we got the photos back. If someone’s head wasn’t in the picture or if we cut off someone’s legs or feet, he was the first to let us know since it was probably Dad that got cut off in the picture!  He patiently gave us pointers of how to improve so that it would hopefully turn out better the next time.

After Mom’s funeral, I went back to that closet, and gathered all the other photo albums. Not only did we have to get the house cleaned out, I thought the story of our albums should all stay together. Not knowing what to do with all the albums, I began to ask others what they did when they were in this situation. One person told me that her family divided all the pictures up after her parents passed away. Her sister-in-law got three boxes, one for each sibling in the family. If a person was in a picture, that picture went in their box. If they didn’t know who the people were, she threw the pictures away. At the end of the project, each sibling got a box of pictures.

I thought how that family handled the photo albums sounded like a good idea at the time. Since I was organizing our own photo albums last night, I thought about all the love and care that goes into taking a picture. We do it all because we want to hold onto the events in our lives so that it will help us remember. All those pictures make up a story and we are the main characters.

Mom and Dad’s photo albums are still waiting, and I am still getting used to the idea of taking them apart to share with my siblings. Now I don’t know if it’s the best way to share our story. Maybe some of you have other ideas that you might want to share here. What would you do?

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15 thoughts on “The Story of Our Lives Together

  1. My husband comes from a very large family. Since kids started asking for pictures of themselves growing up and since my mother in law still is around and wants to keep her pictures, she has been making decent quality color copies of the photographs for the kids.
    Myself, I still like to make photo albums for my family. When I print copies for my albums, I make extra copies of some of the pictures for my kids. That way they each have a set of their own!

    • I might have to check out getting copies made. I have been making copies of photos for my children as well, ever since they were small. It’s a great idea and I think that it teaches them the importance of photos from an early age. Thanks for commenting and stopping by!

  2. A very touching post. I like the idea of sharing the photos, but… Saying this, I have never done anything with all the family photos I gathered from my parent’s house when they passed away. I don’t know what it is, but I like having them, as a part of them left over. I know my brother has a lot of photos that were given away when my parent’s were alive, so he does have family photos, probably nearly as many as I do. For now, I guess I still choose to hold on to what I have. Wish I could give you some suggestions.

  3. It seems a shame to disassemble the albums after your mom so carefully put them together. I like the ideas suggested above, to make copies to be shared. Maybe you can be the keeper of the original albums so they can be passed down through the generations. I wish someone in our family had done that. My sister is trying to document our family tree. There is no one left in the older generation who can connect the dots for her. And when our grandmother died, there was a trunk full of photos, none of them labeled or dated. Our dad was not able to identify most of the people in those photos. As the years go by, there will be people in your family who will be grateful to have the family story intact.

    • I think you’re right that it would be a shame to disassemble the albums. Thinking about taking the albums apart really bothered me. I’m glad I wrote about it here to find out if I was just being silly. Turns out my gut feeling was right. Thanks for the support!

  4. I probably would make one, responsible for them and get together once in a while to have a photo souvenir evening so that, if the grandchildren want some kind of family history they will get it.
    It would probably be the one who cares the most about them and has a storage room to keep them.
    I can sympathize with your dilemma as I am a huge photo-lover, wishing you luck in your undertaking 🙂

  5. It’s a very big undertaking but I like the idea of scanning the photos and making a disc for each family member. I have a digital picture frame that I love, it has all of my favorite pictures on it. Last year for Christmas we got one for my mom, sometimes she just sits there and watches it, like it was a TV.

    Best of luck in whatever you decide to do with them. 🙂

    • A facebook friend suggested scanning the photos too. I think that’s a great idea, but I would have to limit the amount of photos that I would scan. I have seen Shutterfly’s photo books, and they are very nice. I think my brothers would appreciate a book like that. The photo books can hold up to 1,000 photos, but I don’t think I would scan that many. I should be able to find enough photos that would tell the story of our lives together, I would think! Thanks for the suggestion! I’m excited to create it now.

  6. If you have thrown away the little bitty pictures, cut wallet size photos into letter shapes and spell out something like “our family”. Or cut wallets size photos in squares or other quilt shapes and combine them with solid color blocks for a border and put a poem in the center.

  7. I was also going to say Shutterfly. The photo books are labor intensive but such a treasure. And once you make it it’s so simple to order as many copies as you need. I’ve gotten into the habit of making them as a way of getting some of the millions of photos I have off of my computer and out in a book for the family to enjoy….my kids pull them off the bookshelf weekly and really cherish them!

    • That’s a great idea too. It seems like I have been forgetting to order photos for our albums lately, and some memories are not getting the attention they deserve. It would be nice to get them in a book right away. The Shutterfly photo books are very nice quality. That’s great that your kids love the photo books so much!

  8. One niece in what could only be described as a labor of love spent months going through each album, scanning each photo and replacing them in the same album. Some of the siblings were content to have a CD of all the family photos. Those who had more sentiment over the photos divided up the albums.

  9. Scanning them, make digital copies then everyone can be part of the same story. Originals you can then as you will, school photos are particularly good at being divided into duplicates/triplicates/quadruplicates etc. I wouldn’t chuck any away, even if you don’t know who they are. Seek out the stories from other relatives. It’ll add more to all of your stories. 🙂

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