Recently my eldest brother Gary posted some photos to the family facebook page of me and my siblings which were a mix of ones from the early 60’s. In fact he had them actually developed from the original color slides…does anyone remember them? The quality and colors of the photos was amazing, a true step back in time!
However, there was a time in the 1970’s and 80’s when the film quality was horrendous and such poor quality. I have no idea what they were thinking but it was shit. 😉 Sad but true!
We’re pretty luck today given the democratization of photography that literally every person in the world with a phone can be a photographer and document their lives. Few people I knew growing up had a camera, let alone actually took photos and so its not a huge surprise that few of my generation have photos of our childhoods.
Now, cast that against today where I have literally thousands of photos of Zach and Sami at every point in their lives…as you know I’m a committed documenter of life (well, this weekly blog says it all really…). So the question is – is it because I didn’t have this aspect in my childhood and so I’m over compensating or purely enjoying technological advances that allow me to capture our lives?
Well, perhaps a bit of both.
Each year I create and publish a family calendar of photos taken that year so as to send to my family in Australia, its a great way of keeping everyone up to date with the high points in Zach & Sam’s lives plus its the family bible of birthdays for one and all. I would hasten to say that without it few of us would remember when all the birthdays are…all three generations!
Yea, that’s a lot of birthdays to remember – I’m one of five, and we have 17 kids between us, who then have an additional 13 kids of their own…and growing! So 35 on the Australian side of the family for starters, then layer in my ex’s family who’s parents are still alive, siblings and grandkids and it makes for an especially busy calendar!
I’ve been making a family calendar since Zach was almost a year old – so nineteen editions. Clearly the first few were a bit rough around the edges as the technology was trying to catch up, so lots of downloading of photos from my first point and shoot to a computer (do you remember trying to download photos via DSL???) who often just crapped out.
However, the last ten years have been amazing with some fabulous moments captured. The tricky part is that often I’m not in any of the photos with the kids as I’m the one always taking them, although Sam is a great photographer and has taken some really nice ones albeit often without one of us in the shot.
As I poured over the old photos I tried to remember the moments when these photos were taken, but alas my memory escapes me. In a couple of them I was as young as five or six and so quite amazing really.
I would challenge you to open some of your old albums (yes, the old fashioned ones!), or perhaps the ones your mum and dad may have floating around in the attic, dusty shelves or box in the garage and share these with your kids.
Admittedly I was a little surprised when I found that my kids were keen to see more… I guess no matter how much we think they aren’t really interested in us or our lives (yes, a matter of course for most teenagers), there is a longing desire…albeit deep down to learn about our lives and in particular our childhoods.
My old photos helped generate some lovely conversations, which was great. I certainly wish there were more photos but am thankful for the ones he shared none the less.
Interestingly I found it difficult to elicit memories from my childhood with my family, other than the stories I’ve shared on my blog over the years. Unfortunately I have very few recollections other than working around the house doing my chores.
These memories mostly consist of me mowing our acre block (which took 3 hours on a good day), chopping wood for the woodbox (we only had wood fires and so they constantly needed replenishing) or helping dad on the saw bench, or in the bush gathering and stacking wood.
I’m hoping that Zach and Sam will have much brighter and better memories of their childhoods, although I know it will be a little jaded with me separating from their mum when they were just coming into their teenage years. Not ideal no matter which way you look at it, but that’s life I suppose.
But the upside is that I’ve been able to build wonderful relationships with them both and spent a lot of time traveling and exploring the big wide world which has opened them up to an appreciation of the world that few their age have experienced.
Now if you put those experiences together with all the photos and calendars they have a pretty nice view for their kids to share, and hopefully with lots of stories to add color and bring them to life.
Maybe even some cool stories about their adventurous dad who wouldn’t settle for a life without passion.
Time to share your stories with your kids??? I think so – you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the response 🙂