Roses in December

“God gave us memories, that we might have June roses in the December of our lives.”* James Barrie


I love photo albums. From the time I got my very first camera, I have loved taking pictures and putting those pictures into books to look back on. When I was a teenager, I spent hours putting pictures onto pages and writing the stories that accompanied them. I don’t think I ever sat back and wondered why I spent so much time and energy on them. Call them scrapbooks, albums, photobooks - why did I love creating these books? What I do know is that from 9th grade forward, my photos are albumed, scrapbooked and now photobooked -and I love it!


One might say that I was just following my parents’ lead. When their first child was born, they started creating albums. They took photos and then chronologically placed them in albums with meticulous captions. These captions dated the photos and told the stories that the photo couldn’t – identifying people and places and why the photo was important. These albums - giant 3” binders with magnetic pages - were kept in a bedroom closet and would be brought out every so often when we had relatives or old friends visit, when a school project about our growing up years was assigned, or when my parents wanted to show us something about ourselves as children. As I got to my teenage years, I spent less time perusing the family albums, but I knew they were there and I was immensely proud of them. I could feel that they were valuable.


So what was it that made me love those photos so much that I would spend hours and hours cutting, pasting and writing about my experiences and history? I didn’t give it a second thought when I was younger, but lately I’ve been reflecting on where my motivation came from.


For me, this quote attributed to James M. Barrie rings true - “God gave us memories, that we might have June roses in the December of our lives.” I love to reminisce, to look back on the meaningful, adventurous or crazy things I’ve done with my friends and family over the years. I love to be reminded of the experiences that have shaped my life and made me the person I’ve become. Having these albums enlarges my memory. The images and stories remind me of me the steps I’ve taken on my journey to get to this place in my life. Events, feelings and memories that might have otherwise been lost over the years are beautifully displayed, which makes it easy to readily recall the places, times and people who have been meaningful to me throughout my life.


If my house were on fire (and my family was safely outside), my first thoughts would be for our photo collection to be saved. Then, as I watched the flames in anguish, I would secretly hope that at least, if our home was burning, someone was taking a good photo of the fire to include that year’s photo book! ;)


* Quote attributed to James M Barrie from his Rectorial address at St Andrew’s University in Canada, May 3rd 1922. His direct quote was “You remember someone said that God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December”.


Photo Albums made by busy early 80's parents. Fast forward to now! We are now almost done our project with them. We scanned all the photos and put them into photo-books, complete with captions. We'll then print them out for each of the 5 siblings and our parents. Best Christmas present ever!

Photo Albums made by busy early 80's parents. Fast forward to now! We are now almost done our project with them. We scanned all the photos and put them into photo-books, complete with captions. We'll then print them out for each of the 5 siblings and our parents. Best Christmas present ever!

My nerdiness - here is just one of two rows of my teenage years & 20's - scrapbook binders. The next project is digitizing these. Not just to back them up, but also to reprint them as photo books which will dramatically reduce their real estate on the bookshelves.

My nerdiness - here is just one of two rows of my teenage years & 20's - scrapbook binders. The next project is digitizing these. Not just to back them up, but also to reprint them as photo books which will dramatically reduce their real estate on the bookshelves.

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