Wednesday, January 30, 2019

How to Store Your Photos or The Incredible Lightness of Being Divorced

Our holiday dinner table one of the last years of marriage.
Things weren't nearly as perfect as they look here--but it's a very pretty photo.

I was thrown out of my life in 2007. He wanted the house, he said, so he could raise his new family there. So I left, blubbering something about how I was taking the photo albums. The picture below doesn't quite do the situation justice. I think I moved 41 albums to my new place. And when I moved again a couple of years later, I packed up those albums again.

When the second round of devatating fires here in Southern California coincided with the realization that I can no longer afford my current house due to a reduction in my alimony, I knew it was time to crack open the covers on the record of my seemingly perfect life. We don't take pictures of the terrible times, do we?-- the creeping doubt and desperation--and I suppose if we did, I'd have happily left those photo albums behind. Though I wasn't evacuated during the fires, I could see the flames from my windows. If I'd had to leave, would I have had time to pack up a hundred pounds of albums? Probably not.

the old albums (the salvageable ones) now empty

the new photo boxes with an album on top for size comparison

Marie Kondo says she prefers to store her photos in albums, but I'll bet she doesn't have 40 of them. Or 20. Or even 10. Why do we Americans have so much of everything? I think photo albums are cumbersome for sharing in a group. Everyone has to huddle around, crane their necks, and hope the photos don't slip out of the pages if you're passing the album from person to person. These books weigh a ton when filled with photos so you need two hands and have to put down your drink. It seems easier to me to just grab a stack of pictures and pass them.

These boxes hold over a thousand photos each and have index cards where you can write the year, the subject, the place, and even make special notes or comments. The company doesn't provide nearly enough cards, but I just made copies on card stock. I made two boxes for myself, incorporating my mom's old photos as well. And I made two boxes for each of my daughters, which I will hand deliver to them when I move to Minnesota in a few months. Meanwhile if a wall of flames races from the hills to the ocean, I can get these into the Prius in two trips.

Aren't you wondering what I did with the photos of The Someone and of us a couple? I put the nicest specimens in the daughters' boxes. And all the photos of his lovely family were put into a Christmas box and mailed to his office last month. His likeness does not make an appearance in my photo boxes, but he did take a lot of the pictures. I'm grateful for that. And I'm grateful for the experience of looking at the photos--of seeing those new babies, birthday parties, proms, graduations, family vacations, and friends with their heads thrown back in laughter. I think when we take pictures, or put them in a book or a box, we are recording love.


Allison said...

The first photo looks professionally done. Beautiful table, it looks really good. Photo albums are difficult. I have about 55 of them, with their own dedicated piece of furniture to store them. We'll probably be hauling those babies around until the bitter end.

Allison said...

That was sort of a harsh comment. We haul them around because we do love them. It's our history, much of which we would have forgotten by now.

Elizabeth said...

Wow. That is impressive. I would like to hire someone to do this. And there's the problem with all the pictures with my ex -- I took so many pictures and rarely appeared in them when the kids were little. I still can't believe you're actually moving.

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