Cats! A veritable lifetime of cats: Dim Sim, Muggins, Mao Tse Tung, Ten Sing Tung, Splinter, Amber, Lloyd, Kitten and others. Dogs! WACL, the black labrador, Choti the miniature dachshund and two Pepper dogs, (dalmations who were entirely different from one another) whose consecutive lives spanned more than 30 years.
Did I mention three children and their marriage partners, some stepchildren, lots of grandchildren, my parents and dozens of associated family members? There were cars, jeeps, tractors; a shade house, frogs and frog gardens. Two husbands, too.
Having never done it properly before, at the beginning of 2011 I decided to collate all my printed photos into a set of lovely albums. I bought a matching set of 10 photo albums at Things over the holiday break. These will hold 2,000 photos and postcards and I bought as many albums as I expected to need, so that they will make a beautiful display as well as keeping my precious pictures safe.
While I was at Warren and Lisa’s (cat sitting as usual), I started sorting those I had taken with me (mostly Bali) as best as my memory will allow. T-shirts are a good indication of photos taken at the same event, or the fact that one hotel had a swim up bar and the other did not. A good tip on sorting printed photos is to line them all up on one edge and sort them into groups of pictures of exactly the same size. Photo shops, especially in Bali, cut the pictures so they are just marginally different in size and it is quite easy to get all the photos from one film sorted from the others.
Once I started sorting them, three things became abundantly clear:
- Lots of photos I wanted and remembered were not amongst the ones I had taken with me to sort out while I was cat-sitting at Warren and Lisa’s house, although I could not imagine where they were – since we had recently moved houses. Some of them I really wanted for my stories, too.
- My idea of collating by topic was nowhere near as good as putting them into chronological order.
- I needed more photo albums.
I also needed my old passport!!! Immigration and customs stamps are invaluable when you are sorting old photos.
Over the years, there had been five trips to Bali, with funerals, weddings and visits to the homes of our Bali friends; not to mention my white water rafting and para-sailing while Robbie held the fort and the beachhead. We had regular visits to Sanur, the volcano and the black beach with Jimmy and Mickey from the Bali Bagia, where they would take a day off from work and play “tourist” with us.
My own seven or eight overseas trips – including Hawaii, New Zealand, Las Vegas, Mexico, London and Sabah meant that somewhere I still had loads of photos to find. While there are hundreds (maybe thousands) of pictures on disc, printed photos going back to around 1992 need a good chronology.
I have committed myself this year to also cataloguing many of my father’s photographs of his career in the mining industry of Western Australia and tunnelling in the Snowy Mountains because he has hundreds that need his explanations; his memory is excellent and he is a living treasure of history in this, his 94th year.
I have made the first start on his collection and we were lucky enough to espy a whole box of photographs from our earlier years exactly as I remembered them: stored in a bright gold gift bag – last seen in the shed at Stoneville when we had packed up one more time to flee a summer bushfire. This time, they are safely stored in a big plastic box in my little garden shed.
Last week, after spending about three hours with Dad, I chose the first ten photographs to begin creating a series of stories for this Nana to tell. I will keep bringing them out and putting them into their right order. I think I might need a few more albums, too.
I plan to write one story a week and trust that we will get them all done. To take notes while I interview him – even though the story may be written later – seems to be the way to go. Sorting our photos of family and work, my Dad and I, our lives spill out before us on the table – a patchwork quilt of memories. It is a good life. One that we can share with our families for many years to come.
About sharing this post: Lesley Dewar is a well known blogger and workshop facilitator who writes regularly on Social Media, marketing and customer service in the category of Business Tips
Her free eBook can be downloaded directly at Networking To a Plan Sharing this article is permitted providing this footnote is not deleted – all rights reserved. (c) Lesley Dewar 2012