Photos are used to memorialize big events in our lives. We look at the image and conjure up the event and the people and the happenstance. Hopefully it was a happy time that brings smiles to our lips.
But what happens to the memories when the photos are gone? When there is no one left who treasures them or wants to keep them lovingly in a book or box or locket. We explore that phenomenon in today’s story.
Instant Family – #352
We were at an estate auction recently, An elderly lady had died and the contents of her house were being disposed of. Kind of a sad event – watching the accumulations of a lifetime on the auction block.
It is particularly poignant to see family photos in frames going to the stranger with the highest bid. Pictures that sing of memories of a life lived.
Are there children who didn’t want these photos? Is there no one left behind who would care about the smiles of the children on the back of the farm wagon? Or the youthful grin of the boy and his dog? Or the sweeping elegance of the bride in the photo dated 1923?
One auctioneer joked while justifying bids for a box of photos – “Instant family – right here.” A dealer bought that box. He will sort through the photos and put the best ones on display in his shop.
He’ll hope to find something valuable in there. But he’ll pass over dozens of photos that had value, once, to someone.
Perhaps the fact that “things” are being auctioned off is insignificant. The furniture and tools and souvenirs and quilts didn’t make this person’s life,
The memories represented by those photos did.
Looks like it was a good life. I hope so.
Photos disappear. Memories fade. So how DOES one create immortality? Perhaps it all comes back to one of my favorite quotes of Maya Angelou:
“At the end of the day, people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”