I have been working on the most fun project for the past several weeks. I thought it would be an easy 1-2-3 editing job, but I could not have been more wrong. My Dad turned 90 last July, and he has been writing his memoir. He finally finished, and he loaded 2 boxes full of folders (13 "volumes"), photos, photocopies, certificates, ribbons, personal letters, and countless other pieces of memorabilia.
As you can imagine, Dad has a ton of stories, most of which I have heard a thousand times over. Reliving them, and reading about all of his experiences that I hadn't heard about, has been incredible. Getting to know a man I thought I knew so well, I truly did not grasp how much living he packed into his first 35 years before he married my mom. I'm greeted by memories of Mom and my grandparents, and I am honored and blessed to be organizing this life history of a pretty impressive man.
I have completed Phase One of my part- I have edited all of the text so that it flows, I have confirmed a few confusing details, and I have taken the liberty of correcting a few items that I knew needed a tweak because I was there when they happened. Now onto Phase Two.
One file box was filled with stories, and the other with stuff. So much stuff. Photos and photocopies of material need to be inserted into the appropriate chapters. Physical items- I guess I will photograph them myself. It's a big job, but I'll take it one step at a time like I do everything else. I even got a brand new scanner for this project! I also found a cool website that lets me put it all together in book form.
Reading and rereading stories has been mesmerizing, as has viewing, over and over, the fascinating photographs he has included. I must have gotten my love for photography from Dad- I have been the keeper of the family photo albums for years, and many of them go back to his early days as well as his parents' days. Grandpa was born in 1898 and Grandma in 1900, if that gives you an idea.
I am so grateful that he has saved these images- I'm so used to having them around that I assume everyone has numerous albums and boxes of photos, but I know that's not necessarily so (pre-digital, I mean). It makes me realize how important photographs are in not just preserving memories of important and fun occasions, but in telling the story of our lives. Writing a memoir seems to have been the next logical step for this guy- so many tales to tell and photos to illustrate those life events. He doesn't want them to be lost, and neither do I.
When I am at a photo shoot, I tend to instinctively take pictures of every little thing. I've always done this, actually. I feel like you never know when you'll want to remember something- you never know where someone else will find significance in your history. Good things to think about when we pull out those phones to snap a quick pic.