I spent the last three days at a scrapbook retreat. It has been a long time since I’ve been to a scrapbooking retreat. In fact, the last retreat I attended was delightfully interrupted by the unexpected early arrival of our first grandchild just over two years ago. I had forgotten how much I enjoy the time away to work on my albums.
Some would call scrapbooking a craft with paper and stickers and the like. In fact, I’d say I used to be a somewhat “crafty scrapbooker” but my craftiness has always paled in comparison to some of the pages I’ve seen done. And, to be honest, I’ve never been a fan of the overly decorated albums. I used to sell Creative Memories products and even back then I always preached, “focus on the pictures!” I never want someone to look at my scrapbook and say, “Oh, what a cute page!” I want them to say “Oh, what a cute child”, or “what a beautiful family.”
This weekend some of the pictures I worked on were from my father-in-law’s 90th birthday in 2008 (I’m a wee bit behind.) As it turns out this event was also the last time I saw my mother-in-law, as she died just a month later. While I was looking at the pictures there were so many memories that came to mind; the way my mother-in-law had soft, somewhat chubby hands, and how she’d always grab my hand when we were together. I also remembered the way she loved cake! Even though she was diabetic she just could not resist a good piece of cake. Who can blame her? As I put those pictures in my album I was able to write down those memories so I won’t forget – and so my children won’t forget.
Lest you think I’m in the middle of a big Creative Memories sales pitch, I assure you, I’m not. No one is paying me to say this. It’s actually been on my mind a lot lately because I recently heard about two young friends who have lost all of their pictures due to computer mishaps. ALL OF THEIR PICTURES; the ones of their children’s birth, family times, birthday parties – everything – gone!
Digital photography is an amazing innovation. I’ll readily admit I enjoy the ability to take countless pictures without changing the film. There’s a tour guide in Australia who’s probably happy about this, too, but that’s a story for another day. I enjoy being able to edit my photos so they’ll look as good as they possibly can and I even enjoy being able to remove annoying things from the pictures. But, we can’t rely on the computer to preserve our memories.
Can I just offer a couple of tips here? I said in January that I’d post a tip every month and though I’ve failed at that miserably, please consider this your tip for April. First off, if all of your pictures are digital – BACK THEM UP! Store them on disks, copy them to an external hard drive, put them on a second computer or upload them to a storage website.
Once you’ve got them backed up – PRINT THEM! You don’t have to print every single one, but at least print a few of them. And, after you’ve got them printed, PUT THEM IN AN ALBUM. I don’t care if it’s a pocket page album, a paper album or even a digital album, but get them safely tucked away someplace.
Don’t think of it as scrapbooking – that conjures up the whole crafty idea. Think of it as preserving your family’s heritage. Hmmm . . . scratch that, it sounds overwhelming. Let’s try this – consider it memory loss prevention. Put the pictures in an album and take a few minutes to write down whatever it is you want to remember about them. Because as much as you think you’ll never forget – you will.
I have a picture of my son, Scott, when he as about four. He’d lined up all of his stuffed animals in chairs in the living room and sat down next to them. He called me into the room and said, “Mom, if you take a picture of me, you’ll never forget this day.” Smart kid. And I have a picture to prove it.