True stories with a twist!

Whether they are paper photo albums or digital photos we all have batches of old photographs. The drawers that store them are bulging, and we haven’t the the time to look them. Not to mention the courage to get rid of any of them.

There are photos of ourselves as children, photos of our families. Photos of close friends now gone from our lives. It is astounding how many people have come into and gone out of our lives.

Photos of places, where we lived and where we visited. Places we studied, places we worked.

We could spend half a lifetime revisiting our former lives.

How do you feel when you see your past through these photographic images?

When I look at pictures of my children as young babies, toddlers and pre-teens I wonder, Did I realize how adorable they were? Did I appreciate them? Or was I always so busy that I didn’t take the time to see and enjoy them for the miracles that they were?

Thornton Wilder, in his beautiful play, “Our Town,” brings back his young heroine, Emily, from the dead, to relive an ordinary day in her past. As she looks at the old family house and enters the kitchen she sees her mother.

She exclaims, “Mama, I’m here. Oh! how young Mama looks! I never knew Mama was ever that young.”

Perceptions change. Images are startling. Do any of us remember  that anyone from our past was ever that young?

Can you at those smiling images in your albums and see yourself the way you were then? Before you knew what would happen between then and now to the family and friends in those pictures? Before you knew about the experiences ahead that you would love or the ones you would be forced to endure?

Nobody can see or predict the future, but it is astounding to know the way fate turned in so many cases.

This Monday is the Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashona, the start of the New Year, a time to reflect on the passing year and take stock of life. To look back on memories of the year as if they were photographs in an album.

If this year doesn’t start off the way you hope to remember, look forward to celebrating the secular New Year on December 31st:  another New Year that offers a fresh start. And if the fates are still unkind try again on the Chinese New Year in February. There are countless times, ways and reasons to start over again and try to get it right.

I hope you fill your memory’s photograph albums with thoughts and images to enjoy: thoughts and images worth looking back upon.

Happy New Year.

Comments on: "VIEWING OLD PICTURES" (25)

  1. Great post! It made me reflect on our old photos.

  2. Lovely post! You made me look at some of my old family albums again and conjure all those warm nostalgic memories. Thanks for sharing this excellent writing.

  3. What a wonderful lens to look through for the new year!

  4. Old photos do bring back so many memories. Like you, I view my younger self – and my family – thru a different lens. Several years ago, I began putting my photos in Picassa on my computer. It’s less cumbersome than the photo albums that now stretch across a whole shelf in our closet.

    Thank you, Ronnie, for the beautiful reflection.

  5. Wow, This article could not have come at a more appropriate time. Just finished transfering some old 8mm tapes I previously transfered to VCR and other VCR tapes to DVD. Cannot believe how everyone has changed in only 40 years. Don’t know if the children will appreciate or ever watch these disks, probably not. But, I know as the good father I have done my job admirably.
    Ronnie, How come you chose to use a picture with my mother ? and come on, I know all hair styles come back into Vogue, but yours, let’s be serious.

    • ONLY 40 years? But I understand what you mean; it’s hard to fathom that much time.

      I can explain everything!

      My grandson, Sebastian, as a baby, had hair that stood straight up on his head. I wanted to prove that I looked the same way, so I asked Jerry to send me a picture showing my hair style. The one he sent was the one on my blog.

      That style is not in Vogue? Have you ever heard of the Mohawk hairstyle? Walk around any places where young people congregate and you will see Mohawks in all colors: even colors that don’t grow on human heads!

      Thanks for reading my blog and commenting!

  6. Wonderful old photos!

  7. This reminds me of when my youngest daughter, at around 24 years of age, told me that she always wondered why I said certain things and did certain things when she was young. Along with the fonder memories, these incidents confused and hurt her. To me, they seemed minor, but to a kid and a sensitive kid at that, they were much more than that.

    She was pondering this one day when she experienced a bolt out of the blue. Suddenly she was able to view me from her adult self’s perspective; from a more detached perspective. With tears in her eyes, she saw me as a young, confused mother with her own set of hurts and betrayals going on – trying in the midst of it to raise two small children and eventually having to do that alone as a single parent. And she was able to move beyond her own childhood responses into a more compassionate place.

    Thanks for the post, Ronnie. Good questions and thoughts to ponder.

  8. My grandmother never liked to look at old photos. She said it made her sad to see how much she’d changed, and how much life had changed. I didn’t really understand what she meant until I was older. Although I still enjoy looking through my old photo albums, I wonder if in a few decades I’ll feel the same way as she did.

    Lovely post.

  9. mysending said:

    I find myself running to look at old photos to compare them with new ones. They’re disconcerting and comforting at the same time. Really, where does the time go? That’s where I want to discover, but maybe not visit. Shana tova to you and your family.

  10. Beautiful post, Ronnie. L’shanah tovah.

  11. Lynn Appelaum said:

    Lovely thoughts. So true. Boxes of my mother and mother-in-law’s photos are in my kitchen
    and I have been going thru them to try to get some organization. A great way to look thru our lives and to remember the people who touched it. (Although tedious and extrmrly time consuming in our busy lives!) A Happy and Healthy New Year to you and your family!

    • I may regret it some day, but when my mother passed away after a long illness I told my brother that he could take all her photo albums. It was just too painful to look at those pictures.

      Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment, Lynn. Happy, healthy New Year to you and your family.

  12. I have recently been thinking of our horde of old pictures and thinking in the same way that you have expressed in your post. It’s really got me thinking. Thanks.

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