Since I began writing stories about my family, I have come to have a greater appreciation for old pictures than I ever had before. Every picture has a story to tell. Every one is like a priceless gold treasure. When I hear of pictures being lost in some way, I feel that loss very deeply, because so often, they cannot be replaced. That is what happened to a vast collection of pictures that had belonged to my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Jim. When Aunt Ruth passed away in May of 1992, Uncle Jim continued to reside in their home until it was destroyed by a fire…taking with it all of the pictures they had collected over the years, including all of the childhood pictures of my cousins, Shirley, Larry, and Terry. Larry had passed away in 1976, so they had so few of him anyway, and now all that remained were the pictures Shirley and Terry had, and that was not many.
When we re-connected with Shirley a while back, she asked if we had any pictures of them as children, and we have looked through what we had…again, not many. I felt very sad for her, because it was almost like tearing her childhood out of her past and throwing it away. Since then my heart has me trying to replace at least a few of the pictures she once had. It has not been an easy task, but last night while at my mom’s house, my sister, Cheryl, Mom, and I went through a box of things, that included a few pictures. I was so excited when a couple of pictures turned up of Shirley’s family. I couldn’t wait to get them too her, and I really hope that she doesn’t have these yet, because that will make the find even sweeter.
The more I look through the pictures that make up my past and those of my family members, the more I realize the value of those pictures. So many people don’t have those old family pictures and if they do, they don’t know who they are or what they were like, unless they happened to have someone like my Uncle Bill, who was meticulous in recording the past. He spent much of his life talking to people who knew our ancestors so that he could document as much information as he could. His work, like the old pictures are more than valuable…they are pure gold.