It’s so convenient today! You carry around just one gadget which does everything but make pizza, as the saying goes. You call your nearest and dearest. Check email, Google everything, snap pictures, make videos and send them out at once. You don’t need much space anymore. Large bulky family albums are a thing of the past. Tourists take selfies and share them with the whole wide world. I remember some twenty years ago, leaving New York I carefully packed two large albums which were chock full of memories. Lots of photos showed our life in the USA, our travels, many famous places, all serving as background to the three little faces. Looking at the pictures I can see that children are indeed little time machines. Here they are small, with the baby of the family carried around. And then they are all walking, each with their own little backpack. Those inimitable smiles of pure joy that they greeted us with every morning, that boundless delight when they met Mickey Mouse at Disney World. A unique photo: when closing time was announced over the loudspeakers, we began looking for the exit signs and suddenly came face to face with a large group of dressed up characters, Belle, Goofy, Donald, Mickey, maybe half a dozen total. Our kids stared at them awestruck, and the actors stopped for a second. Then one of them exclaimed good-naturedly, “What you waiting for, Mom? Take a picture!” They surrounded my kids and I took a picture which we all love. There they are, little happy kids with all those marvelous cartoon characters.
As the family chronicler I always took lots of pictures. When my parents came to visit, I would take lots of photos. Now I have whole galleries, my kids laughing, my parents somehow managing to hug all of them at once. Again I think that children are little time machines. The same sofa, same happy mood emanating from the photos, but the kids are ever-growing. And my parents changing too of course. Mom more and more white-haired, Dad unchanged, we share this odd gene, our hair does not turn grey. I turn a page, and suddenly instead of three little kids there is one teenager looking impossibly adult. My Mom never looked that serious! The others are still little kiddies though. Here are some photos of my parents, mugging it for us, hugging and laughing exaggeratedly. Here’s my Mom looking very regal, standing tall. I marvel again at how beautiful she was until her last day, with that lovely kind face and that unbelievable figure, like Sophia Loren. There are also plenty of photos of the same person, changing through the years but the same Handsomest Sexiest Man alive for me.
No, it’s definitely not the time to forget the old albums. Let them co-exist with all the digital virtual very modern ones. The memories they hold, the treasured moments, the lovely familiar faces are here to stay.