Sunday, December 02, 2007

Photographs and Memories

Vancouver 2nd Beach July 1915

I found this old black and white photo in a bag of old pictures that an aunt gave me many years ago. I remember briefly flipping through them at the time and thinking I should find out more about them. I put them away in a drawer and only recently took another look.

Most of the pictures didn't have any identifying information. They were snapshots of a time and place vaguely familiar, yet mysterious at the same time. I'm sorry I didn't sit down with my aunt (who died several years ago) and go through them one by one.

However, this particular picture had an inscription on the back:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

You can see where the original writing has faded and someone has written over it in a darker ink. The closer I looked at this picture, the more I recognized the girl in the picture as one of my aunts (not the one who gave me the photos).

I thought of her back in 1915 and imagined her on a family outing to Second Beach. I wondered what she did dressed in her sailor outfit and broad-brimmed hat. I wondered if they picnicked or went swimming. It's still a popular beach in Stanley Park and I remember taking my own sons to that same beach when they were young.

What prompted me to take a closer look at those old photos and post this one here was a story on the Elder Storytelling Place titled Photographic Remains by Susan Gulliford. She laments the trend of throwing out old family photos and thinks it's like dumping one's family history. I agree. I think there's something to be said for remembering where we came from and the journey we and our families took to get where we are today.

So, in that regard I'm slowly scanning and copying those old photos to disk. It's a long and laborious process, but I think, worth it. I'm also going to take them around to the few older relatives still alive who may remember the people, time and circumstances of the pictures before it's too late - and they remain nothing more than a curiosity of times past.


Simply Coll said...

Old photos are moments of ourselves and our history captured forever. Treasures to be sure.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I know just how laborious this is, but it's worth it. Only sometimes I find that it's an endless job!

Claude from Blogging in Paris