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COMMENTARY

Photo albums still the best way to preserve memories

Posted on February 15, 2021

ColumnsLocal news

jmills.enterprise@wilsontimes.com | 252-478-3651

Jan Mills

Jan Mills

It’s a rainy, cold, gloomy Sunday afternoon, and I am preparing to undertake the monumental task of going through photo albums — you know, those books that have actual photographs in them that you can hold in your hand, turn the page and laugh at how silly you looked back in the day. Or, you can shed a tear for someone who has passed away, feel a tug at your heart when you recall the day you snapped that photo of your child and wonder at how fast the days have flown by.

I love the old black-and-white photos from years ago. My first camera was a small Kodak and buying the film was something that I had to save money for and then take the film to the drug store to have it sent away to be developed, only to find that I had taken most of my shots out of focus or with no light. 

Remember the old blue flash bulbs and the attachment you had to have if you used a flash? I think you could only take 12 photos at a time on a roll of film. Do they even sell film now? 

Then I went to a Polaroid, and that was a real treat. Snap the photo, pull the photo from the camera, wait a minute or so and watch as it developed in your hand — only to find that it was out of focus or you needed a flash. But, you could take it over instantly. Much more expensive film for that Polaroid.

Next came the slides. Remember those? You had to have a projector or one of those handheld things to see the picture. I still have a stack of those that I need to see if there is some place I can take them to have them converted to photographs, because Lord only knows where a projector or the handheld thing might be.

One of my granddaughters was with me as I showed her the stack of albums and we thumbed through the pages of one. As we did so, we came across a photo with had her dad in it. He was 12 years old at the time, and it was a full-length shot of him from the side as he watched a group of folks at a political event. 

She shocked me when she said, “Wow, I’ve never seen a picture of him at that age.” 

So now, what do I do about all those Facebook photos that have my grandchildren and great-grandchildren in them? Years from now, who will look at my computer and marvel at the photos that were saved? No, wait — someone accidentally deleted all those or the computer ended up in an electronic waste pile some place. 

Photograph albums and books can best be enjoyed by actually turning the pages — slowly, to savor every moment and marvel at every page. 

Jan Mills is The Enterprise’s customer service representative. Reach her at 252-478-3651 and jmills.enterprise@wilsontimes.com.

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