The other night at dinner I mentioned to my mother-in-law that I finally finished the photo project. All the photos that were going into albums were in them, they were scanned, and some posted on facebook.
She frowned for a moment and said "Did you see a bunch of truck pictures?"
"Well, there were some but...do you...do you think there are more?"
"I think so. Maybe."
I told her "You're going to make me cry. I don't cry and you're going to make me cry."
To increase the difficulty level to this project, family was coming in the very next day. Family who would love to see these photos. I was feeling confident that I had finished the albums and then there's MORE. And now a deadline. *FUN*
Kevin and I went over after dinner and looked again. Three boxes of photos. THREE BOXES. Full of loose photos, not even in albums. Some in envelopes but mostly just loose. Three. Boxes.
In some ways I wasn't daunted because I had developed a system. I do an initial sort into family groups, mother and father. Then I do another sort into smaller groups of photos that can go to the cousins or into events This also allows to sort out copies, bad pictures and things like negatives. Or, in this case this time, slides. Yep. SLIDES.
In the initial batch of photographs there were negatives like none I had never seen before. They were almost like tintypes. I had those developed and discovered there was a picture of my father-in-law's dad when he was in his twenties. So, probably one hundred years old.
These are the kinds of treasures I keep finding.
So, I had a system and a baseline to start, again. One of the albums is a really nice, archival type album. Kevin's mom had begun to fill it but not in an organized way. In fact, many of the albums were haphazard like that; halfway organized and then just random photos.
I built upon her work, putting her family's photos in the front and in chronological order. Then I flipped forward to about halfway through and put Kevin's dad's family photos in chronological order as well.
This was fantastic. Right up until the additional three boxes.
Okay, challenge accepted. I found an empty album and started again. I focused on Kevin's dad's family because those are the folks who were coming to visit. Now I have an album nearly full of just those photos.
I spent a few hours printing out copies for the Uncle and the Cousin during their visit. They were pretty happy to have them. Imagine suddenly having photos of you when you were significantly younger, some of which you didn't even know existed.
The fun part, to me, was posting them on my mother-in-law's facebook page. I made her two albums, one for each branch of the family. Then I tagged the cousins. I think we created our own ancestry site on the facebook. Kevin's uncle is a goldmine of information. Dude can tell you dates, locations, names like it was yesterday. He turns 81 soon.
Time warp is a risk while doing this. I've found myself actually dreaming of times and people that I didn't know or experience. Stories that I heard were becoming real. I was legitimately sad that I missed things like a cousin's wedding or a birthday party.
I watched Kevin grow up as there were photos of when he was an infant, toddler, school-ager, right up to adulthood. He had no idea that his mom had any of these photos.
There were photos of he and his former wife, which were jarring to see at first then they kind of lost their power to shock. There was a twinge of sadness...regret, maybe, that I didn't get to experience that part of his life. He swears I wouldn't have liked him then and maybe not. Who's to know, really. I knew him superficially while I was married the first time anyway.
But I feel more connected to the family now too. I can identify family members when they were young, which house the photo was taken at, and I know the stories behind the photos.
And my photo wall is coming along beautifully!