I’m even precisely certain when the picture of my grandmother Ida Neill and my oldest daughter was taken. Based upon the fact that my daughter is wearing a sweater, I’m guessing it was at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Based upon when Grandma Neill died (summer of 1994) and when my daughter was born, I’m reasonably certain the photograph was taken in 1993.

And of course to me that seems like not all that long ago. I suppose it seems like a lifetime ago to my daughter and, from her perspective, it just about is. After the death of my father this month, I’ve come into an additional set of family pictures and ephemera and it has become increasingly important to me to see that these items are identified and preserved. A significant number of items are unidentified and I’m one of the few who knows who the people are or at least knows who to ask. My children won’t know who most of the people are except for me and pictures of my parents when they are closer to the age they were when my children were alive.

When did I get to be the older person identifying who is in the pictures? That’s probably a topic for another post.

There are several reminders that one can take from this picture other than to identify people when you can.

Try and preserve the original organization of the pictures. Some items were randomly dumped in with others. But in some instances my mother had sorted the pictures by family–or at least had taken the photos she had received from a family member and kept them in a separate envelope or box. That organization is helpful.

The pictures may tell a story. The image used in this post is one of four of my grandmother and daughter taken that day. This is the last one. The other three show Grandma cutting up something for Sarah to eat and eventually feeding her. That did not dawn on me the first time I saw the pictures in my parents’ things.

Don’t neglect asking your own children questions. My daughter correctly identified the food in the brown dish (parsnips with bacon on top) that I incorrectly thought were sweet potatoes. She also remembered that was the “parsnip dish” that Mom always used for that dish. That detail had slipped my mind. We all remember different things and it’s not just those people of our generation and before who may be able to help us remember details in a photograph.

The photograph would make a great one to use to illustrate Grandma’s parsnip recipe. And it even reminded me that my Dad always had to have ice in a glass of any beverage.

If you’re looking for something to write about or jog your own memory, try using a picture taken during your life time. You have your own stories to tell as well.




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