08 April 2009


With all of these pesky unpaid Fridays off I'm finding the need to sort and organize stuff. I normally do this at work so it helps keep my mind in order, but it's been so slow at work that I find I don't get my 'organizing quota' filled at all. And did anyone else notice that if you work slow on purpose to flesh out your day (I'm already short by 20% on my paycheques because of the short week, dammed if I'm going home early any other day) you are more tired than if you kick butt and work hard?

Anyway, one of the things I've organized recently is my collection of family photos. I have them from as far back as my grandparents up until now, and they have been unceremoniously stored in a plastic bag in a cupboard. Ok, some are in albums. But everything that dates back to me leaving my parent's house was in a bag. What I've been wanting to do for about a decade (yes, ten-ish years) is to have them organized by year. So that's what I finally did.

I had them all laid out on my living room carpet and just dumped them into categories: grandparents/parents before me and my sisters arrived, my upbringing until I left my parent's house, and everything after that. Then I organized them by year. The first category was easy, someone had very nicely put the dates on the backs of most of the photos. And really, there were very few so it wasn't overwhelming. That's where the easy part ended.

Next I tackled from 1969 to 1989. Babies and toddlers grow very fast and develop their little bodies in a very distinct way. Like they lose the large trunk/stubby limbs of baby fairly early, and toddlers' limbs grow longer and longer in proportion to their trunks as they age. So sorting my baby and toddler years wasn't super hard, just a bit difficult at times. Some were easy, my younger sister arrived when I was two so if she was in the photo I could gauge the year by what she looked like. Some were harder as my older sister and I looked very similar in several photos.

And then came the difficult years. Everything from 1980 to 1987 was really hard. You would think this would be easy, I'd just started to develop breasts in about 1980 so there was the pre-booby and post-booby era. Unfortunately, that really only counted for a few photos. After the Development of the Girls I hid my body. I wore the same uniform every day: jeans, long sleeved button-down shirt, sleeves rolled up, and my blue Spring coat. There are even a couple of pictures which had to be years apart and yet I was wearing the same shirt. The blue coat even fit in the beginning, but the last photo of me wearing it had the sleeves riding above my wrists. My hair was the same all the time: shoulder length or longer, all one length, parted on the left with or without a barrette. Ah, I wear glasses so that should be easy, right? Wrong. I had the same pair (it seemed) from around 1980 to 1984ish. So I could divvy the photos up by eyeglasses but I had to look really closely to see the difference in some images. Then I got contacts in 1985, that made the later ones easier.

My sisters changed their looks all the time. Experimenting with hair, makeup and clothes. And here was me, hiding and trying my very best to be invisible, absolutely unwilling to acknowledge that I was a pretty young lady with a good figure. No, instead I dressed like a boy and didn't comb my hair or wear makeup. Not a bad thing if that's what you want, but I do remember being envious of girls in dresses, girls with makeup, girls with beautifully styled hair. I felt like I wasn't allowed to be pretty so there was no point in trying. Prettiness was for other girls. But that's a post for another day.

Now that the photos are organized into date order I've been thinking about what to do with them. There are people I know who are really into scrapbooking and I've thought of that. I admit I've been in the scrapbook stores and oohed and ahhhed over all the pretty little bitty tokens, ribbons, clasps, fonts, and sparkles. And the paper! Don't even get me into an aisle of paper or I may never want to leave. I was with S in the Michael's store at one point and I must commend him on his patience. I kept going back, over and over and over, to look at the pretty paper. I wanted to own every last scrap of it. So scrapbooking might be bit obsessive for me. I may have to kick one of the boys out of his bedroom and make them share a room so I can convert it to my scrapbooking room. D'ya think they'd go for that? Me either. So I'll start small.

The one idea I've had for years....like fifteen years...is to take all the black and white photos of my family before my parents had children and mount them on black paper. Like they did long ago. And caption the images with white pen, even attach the photos with silver corners. Plain, simple, easy. But scrapbooking isn't an easy hobby. Oh no. There are different kinds of black paper - textured, thin, thick, rough edged, glossy, matte. And corners, oh the corners you can buy! I suppose what I'll do is see just how many photos I have and figure out how many pages that is. Then I'll just haunt the stores and compare doodads until I come up with something I'll like.

Some neat things I noticed about all my photos from '70-'87 are: I can see the hand-me-downs. I would see me in a shirt and then my younger sister wearing it, or my older sister with a top and then me with it. I also noticed the backgrounds. On my mom's kitchen counter in the house I was raised in was a tumble of stuff. On my kitchen counter right now is....a tumble of stuff. And most photos that I have are of birthdays and Christmas. What events have I mostly documented with my boys? Birthdays and Christmas :) Also, I have a collection of photos of the view from the front step of the house I grew up in. I lived there for 19 years so it's neat to see how the trees developed. That might make a neat scrapbook page. Must stay away from pretty, shiny things......


Anonymous said...

I just have to say something about the hand-me-downs :)

You may or may not remember that I had developed 2 systems for telling one daughter's things from her sisters' things. The first was colour and was used for things like cereal bowls, etc. That never changed as those things were never handed down.

But the second system was for clothes and was specifically designed to allow for the hand-me-downs. With a fabric pen, I would make dots inside the back of the garment. One dot for my oldest, two dots for my middle (you) and three dots for my youngest. It also made sorting the laundry a simple task :)

Love, Mom

Michelle said...

SCRAPBOOKING!!!!!!!!!!!! It's a bit of an addiction for me to say the least! I have a room set up,TONS of supplies, albums and albums on family, trips friends and even everyday things!!!! You are really crafty give it a try. I bet you would like it. And you don't have to spend a lot of money, I don't and won't! Micheals is great to go to and see whats new, then I go elswhere to purchase. The $ store has great things believe it or not. OOOOH I have lots of ideas. I want to start posting my pages on my blog. I'll get BIll to show me how.