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a publication centered on life in Mississippi.
Today is May 30, 2020

Grin 'n' Bare It

Photographs from the past

By Kay Grafe

Kay Grafe
Kay Grafe

Last week at one of our afternoon board meetings, Mr. Roy said, “I was looking at some old pictures in our honeymoon photograph album a few days ago.” I could feel one of his “profound statements” coming, so I asked, “What caused you to think of doing that?” “Because our wedding anniversary is this month,” he said. I knew there was more to this than our anniversary, so I said, “What is really on your mind?” Then he finally answered, “Those photos we made on our honeymoon are really important to us, and I love to occasionally look through them. But lately, I have noticed that they are getting faded and it’s difficult to make out details. Photo albums are one of the most important items in the life of a family. It’s where we record our children growing up, special occasions and so many precious memories. In fact, I read somewhere that other than to save a family member, saving a photo album is what causes a person to enter a burning house more than any other thing. And have you noticed when a disaster like a hurricane or a tornado destroys a house, the one thing a family searches for is photo albums?” 

I knew Mr. Roy was right, but this is one of those tasks that we have both been procrastinating over for years. We are probably like most of my readers, but maybe a little older and possibly procrastinate a little more. We started recording our activities together in 1956, using a Kodak camera that looked more like a little black box than a camera. When we snapped a picture we had no idea how good or bad it was until we sent the film off to be developed and got the photos back. And back then, all of the photographs were in black and white, no color. 

I can remember when we returned from a trip or recorded some special event, we couldn’t wait to get our shiny new photographs developed. I don’t know why, but we always took the film to our local drug store to send off for developing. I was not sure when color photographs came about, so I looked it up. It seems that color photography began in 1947, but it didn’t make it to my part of the world until sometime in the 1960s.  

Mr. Roy got my attention, so I asked him, “You are the one in the family with a technical mind. What do you suggest we do?” He said, “We bought our first digital camera in the late 1990s, so everything after that we have on SD cards or discs. So it’s all the photos we made prior to then that are at risk of fading out or getting lost or damaged. And there are a lot of them. As you know, I am big on ‘How To’ books, and I found one on how to save your old photo albums and ordered it. I have no idea if it is any good. But I know that we need to locate all of our old hard copy photos, in albums or not, and digitally scan the ones we want to preserve.” I said, “Sounds good to me, let me know when you finish.” He said, “Not so fast, your job is to locate all those older photographs.”  

All of this caused Mr. Roy and me to stop and reminiscence about how home photography has changed during our lifetime. Many times in years past, I have said, “Oh I wish I had my camera so I could get a picture of this.” Now I just take my phone out of my purse and take a picture. I can then check and see if I like it and also send it to someone. My, how things have changed. 

If anyone has been through a similar project, I would appreciate any advice or recommendations. And I promise to keep my readers posted on our progress. 



Kay Grafe is the author of  “Oh My Gosh, Virginia.” To order, send name, address, phone number and $16.95, plus $3.50 S&H, to Kay Grafe, 2142 Fig Farm Road, Lucedale, MS 39452.

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