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Reliving the past — providing for the future

How can a simple photograph possibly express all the feelings and emotions of the priceless memories it holds for me? Snapped on a spring day many years ago, it shows me standing under an apple tree in front of my husband’s parent’s home holding our three-month, firstborn daughter. Well it does, as I hold it, ready to put it in a new family album I’m assembling.

This past winter I started a project I had been postponing for a long time — organizing a large box of family photos of the last 50 years into chronological order. To begin this overwhelming task, I separated all the pictures into decades first, and then filled in the proper order of the various stages of our family life. The emotional experience became a journey into the past, and my husband and I relived old memories.

The snapshot of me holding our baby daughter has a particularly tender history. I had sneaked it into the glass frame of the mirror in my husband’s shaving kit along with some love notes when he was packing for an out-of-town weekend speaking engagement. This was the first time we would be separated since our marriage the previous year. It was almost unthinkable for us to be apart for a whole weekend!

The picture was forgotten about when he no longer used the kit, and only resurfaced 50 years later as we were preparing to downsize and sell our house. Determined to retrieve the photo for a keepsake, I tried to get it out, but part of the surface stuck to the glass. I saved the damaged picture anyways, as it was so special, and put it in the album as is.

Our family is growing, as our grandchildren are now getting married. The photo albums will be a valuable visual heritage for them and their children one day, reflecting on our lives lived rich with faith, love and laughter, as well as joys and tears.

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