I Love……….Old Pictures

I love OLD PICTURES. I really don’t even care if they are pictures of those I know. There’s just something special about something that encapsulates a bit of time. If folks are having fun, or have a twinkle in their eye, all the better! It makes me want to go back in time and get to know them.

I get some of this from my mom. She used to go to a lot of auctions when I was growing up and often she would purchase old pictures, mostly because of their frames. Sometimes she would leave the pictures in them for a time. What interested me the most were the people from years ago who did not smile. Evidently picture taking was a serious business…or life was miserable. They scared me a bit. I swear their eyes would follow you around the room. The side of me that loves horror movies was intrigued. I wonder which of my friends and families are these folks of tomorrow.

I remember when I was in Paris and saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. I’d never been a big Mona Lisa fan. I never got the beauty of her so many others saw. Was I dying to see the actual painting? No, but determined only because I thought I should. So I head out in the Louvre to find her.  First of all, the Louvre is ridiculously large and all the things on my list to see during my marathon visit were miles apart. But I was determined. I found the Mona Lisa. The painting was much smaller than I expected. I had always thought it was a huge canvas. No…..around 8 1/2″ x 11″ or maybe a bit bigger….picture-sized. Crowds were around it, making it difficult to see at times. So I went up close when the crowds cleared, them stood back to look. I moved around a bit more. Wherever I went, her eyes followed me. In that, I was entranced. Possibly she really did have a secret she was trying to tell me. No, I didn’t learn what it was. She should’ve been a bit quicker about revealing it. I was in Paris for about 36 hours and had a lot to see! But still….I loved her a bit after that visit.

I have boxes of pictures that I can’t lay my hands on. I have learned not to lend them out….some that were precious to me were borrowed and never returned. One was stolen off of my refrigerator when I lived in Greensboro. It was my precious Polaroid of me and my friends Steve, Jack and Ed with Ramses, the real Carolina mascot (since replaced several generations.) It was a fun Carolina football day and it was a great picture of us all. I got to keep it…..well, because I had insisted on the picture…and I was the girl, so of course it should be mine! I had it for years and all three of these guys visited my house and saw the picture often. One stole it. Yes, I suspect I know which one. He had better be treasuring it to this day! If not, I wish him great torture. (Sometimes I may hold a grudge.)

Another favorite Polaroid was Adrienne, Charlie and me with the General Lee….the Dukes of Hazzard car….taken at the Signal Hill Mall on Christmas break when we were in college. Oh, and two little stranger boys, who had been crying because they wanted their picture taken with the car and their mom wouldn’t pay the $3 or so it cost, were also in the picture with us. I ended up with that picture, too (I may be a bit grabbier than Adrienne and Charlie….and of course I didn’t give it to the little boys!) It is around here someplace. One day I will find it and it will find its way onto Facebook. We were so young and cute that day!

While in some ways digital images make it easier to share and keep track of pictures, I personally seldom print them. I am not alone. What is this change going to do to history? I wonder. We take more pictures than ever, but I think many will be as though they were done by Snapchat. Here one minute, gone forever.

Last year my mom gave each of us kids a copy of a picture of her and my dad when they were first married. They got married at my dad’s parent’s house, with just my grandparents, the preacher, and his wife in attendance, and no one thought to take pictures that day. So the picture is not from then. My mom still has the dress and shoes she was married in, but has no pictures of her in it. She hates she doesn’t have pictures of that special day, and I hate it, too. But anyway, this picture she gave us was one I had never seen before, probably taken during there first year of marriage. It has been enlarged and colorized perfectly. It’s one of my favorites.

I used to take a lot more pictures than I do now, though I still take more than most. The sentimental side of me knows there will be a time when I wish I took more. Even now I will look back at old travel pictures or old family pictures or the pictures from my school yearbooks and they make me smile. The pictures always tell a story, even if they don’t necessarily tell the true story. Maybe those unsmiling folks weren’t as miserable as their pictures made them appear. We will never know. There’s a mystery to a picture. One moment in time, true or false?

How about you? Why don’t you smile for the camera and take a few pictures? Don’t make them wonder if you’re happy. Show future generations that you actually love your life. And if you don’t….stop…..adjust…..more moments are coming to capture. Make them pleasant. Make others love old pictures….and not for the creepy factor.

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