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Photo Scanning Life Lessons: Get the Stories

Scanning your photos to have a digital backup is practical. Scanning your photos as a way to share old printed photos with loved ones across the miles is practical.

The reasons can be so obvious about WHY we should do something. Sharing photos and learning more about the old photos is a real treat for most of us.

It also can feel like a lot of pressure. The procrastination to actually sit down with our older relatives to get the stories. I know that it can feel overwhelming. I know this because that’s how I feel about being the keeper of our family photos. And now with the pandemic, sitting down with them is not possible for so many of us.

You see, my grandmother raised 7 children on a farm in Indiana with no indoor plumbing. (Oh, the irony that I have raised 4 children with 3 bathrooms with indoor plumbing.) My mom is the 2nd youngest and her 3 oldest siblings have passed away. I KNOW I need to talk to my mom and ask more questions.

I need/want to write down more stories.

But I struggle, like everyone else.

It feels like the every day stuff of our lives gets in the way of making time to ask and listen and record the stories. This weighs on my mind at different times and I don’t have the perfect formula for you to make this happen. Sorry. 🙁

What I do know is that sometimes we make things harder than they have to be.

My mom’s birthday was this week and I called her to wish her a happy birthday. I’m in Georgia, she’s in Illinois. Something interesting happened as we talked about the “little stuff”. I was prepping in my kitchen to bake a *fancy* cake with my youngest daughter. I shared with her that I was blanching peaches to make a peach jam for the cake filling. She said she had never blanched peaches in her life and I laughed saying I doubted I’d ever do it again. We both laughed about not canning and preserving or doing these kinds of homemaker things and she said I could have just bought a jar of peach jam.

Good point but I asked my husband to buy fresh peaches since they are in season here and thought this would be fun.

homemade peach jam

Of course, you are not surprised that I took pictures of my peach jam EVENT. 😉

This peach jam conversation opened the door of memories for my mom. She talked about the hot summer days when her mom and two sisters-in-law would come to the farm. They would preserve and can all day. She was a little girl and didn’t have to help much. The menfolk would come home from the fields for lunch. My mom said she remembers thinking she knew then that she wanted the modern conveniences of life. She moved to the city as soon as she could leave the farm.

More stories
laughter about my inability to survive in pioneer days, heck I don’t even want to camp out in a tent. Chickens, pigs, cows
a world I visited as a little girl from the city but not one I lived in. My mom lived in that world. And unless I write it down, my kids won’t know these details.

Photo scanning our heirloom photos is not just so we have digital copies. It’s for the stories. From them. For us. And especially for this next generation so they can know where we all came from. It’s a gift we can give them to pass these stories down.

I wish I had a photo of my grandma making jam in her kitchen. But it’s okay – I still love that my mom painted a picture of that for me.

I didn’t set an appointment. I wasn’t sitting next to her. I simply called her and listened. I’ve got more stories to write down
before I forget!

The scan is actually a paper scan from my uncle. I’m not sure who has the original, I’m glad he sent me a copy!

heirloom photo scan

This is my grandma and grandad. She died when I was six months old. I never knew her.

I might not have a story about this specific photo BUT I have some stories of the amazing woman and mother she was. I’m grateful for the stories from my mom and my aunts and uncles.

That’s what makes scanning photos worth it.

Life Lessons in Photo Scanning:

Talk and listen. The stories will come. Stop worrying about the perfect time and the perfect way to record stories. Type them on your computer. Write them down in a notebook. Record them on your phone. When you can, you’ll take the time to pair them with photos of that person, that place, that era.

Tell me a story about your grandma in the comments below. Or, share your favorite grandma photo on the PPO Studio Facebook page!

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