I’ve recently been enjoying a prolific e-mail correspondence with a girlfriend, Lori, from junior high. We’ve been catching up on 30-plus years of living in two different states and following different paths. She’s married and is a physician and has three young adult sons. Without any children of my own, I’ve had a different adult experience, but now that she’s in the empty nest stage of life, our calendars and lives are more in sync.
When we first reconnected, she of course quickly heard about my passion for Photo Nanny and the work we do. Photo Organization and Photo Scanning are the foundation of our work, but the purpose of providing these services is truly leaving a legacy for those who follow us. As I shared with her some amazing things we’ve seen and scanned (handwritten legal documents from the 1800s, photo scrapbooks created by doting mothers from the 1920s, a ranch house journal signed by visitors for 50 years…on and on) she mentioned a unique tradition her family has enjoyed.
Lori and her husband created a journal during their honeymoon. Years later, when traveling with their boys, they purchased a ring-bound notebook, and each family member added comments in the book throughout the journey. There are handwritten notes as well as drawings by artistically talented family members, and each page is a treasure of personal perspective on the day’s happenings. My dear friend has worried about how the pages are falling out of the books, and has wondered how best to preserve the notebooks. Photo Nanny to the rescue, I immediately said I MUST SCAN THEM.
When I was in Tulsa recently, I visited her home and got my hands on one of these gems…and with her permission, I brought it back to my office to begin our project. Now that the pages are scanned, we’re creating a photo book. We’ll create a duplicate hardboun book for each family member to have their own copy.
No more worries about pages falling out, ink fading, all those typical aging things that happen to treasured notebooks undergoing regular review. And even better, I’m going to make an eBook out of it so each family member can read it on their iPad or tablet. Wow – how awesome is that?
For families everywhere, there are treasured letters, journals and documents which color in details to the family’s history. I want to encourage everyone to think beyond photos and movies as part of telling your family members’ stories. Do you have a special treasure your children or grandchildren would be surprised to see? It’s fun to see how letter writing has changed, how formal things were in the past and even the beautiful stamps on old envelopes. Personally, I was amazed to see the hospital bill from my father’s birth…it was a two-day stay for his mother and the bill was $31.17. Wow!
If you have access to any memorabilia, at the least I hope you’ll place notes on items to identify who they belonged to along with approximate dates and place them in archival boxes. Even better, get them scanned or photographed so the future generation will have the opportunity to learn about their ancestors before deterioration fades those wonderful treasures away.