Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tuesday Travels: A Picture's Worth How Many Words?

I know, I know. I said I was on a blogging break – and I still am. But I found something yesterday that I simply had to share with you.

Just to give you a bit of backstory, Dan and I were full-time residents of the Los Angeles area back in 2004. That fall, we drove two thousand miles to visit my family in New Orleans – and to clean out my old bedroom (in my mother's house) of any pertinent items. So, into the super-tiny rental car, I managed to squeeze my Lego collection, my high school yearbooks, and boxes filled with photographs, among other things. Although I don't believe in a higher power – other than the universe, of course – I do believe that some benevolent force was smiling at me that day. After all, roughly ten months later, Hurricane Katrina flooded my mother's house and destroyed everything but the Christmas decorations in the attic – which means a lifetime worth of photographs would be history now.

While I did lose a lot of precious memorabilia in the floods that ravaged the Big Easy – old videotapes and math trophies, for instance – I thank Serendipity every day that my photographs were spared. On the other hand, while Katrina taught my mother – who lost most of her possessions, including her old photographs and yearbooks – not to get too attached to material goods, the big bad storm only made me more paranoid to lose mine – which is why I currently keep my photographs in a storage facility in southern California and drag my negatives with me around the country. Dan, naturally, thinks I'm a little loony – for one thing, he claims, the negatives are more likely to burn up in a horrible car accident (thanks, honey, for that image) than be flooded in a storage facility, and for another thing, he believes I'm way too attached to the past.

On that second point, he could be right. Recently, we purchased a negative scanner – in order for me to begin transferring my old negatives to digital files – both to preserve them for posterity and to satisfy my need for travel-related images for my American Nomad blog. After all, I've only been using digital cameras for the past few years – prior to 2006, I used nothing but Kodak film.

So, long story short, I decided to begin scanning my negatives yesterday – no small feat, given the thousands upon thousands of negatives I possess. Although my ability to use the scanner (and color-correct the images) is a work-in-progress, I relished this walk down memory lane. So far, the images that have tickled me most are the photos from the three-week-long East Coast trip that I took with my mother back in 1988 – when I was, gulp, just a few months shy of my twelfth birthday. That summer, Mom and I journeyed from New Orleans to Canada and back again, visiting everything from Williamsburg to Monticello to Washington, D.C., to Niagara Falls (all of which are pictured here). Each photograph brought back a mass of memories, proving the old adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” But no image haunted me more than this one of me in New York City – which proves that some moments are truly frozen in time.

And, with that, I'll quietly slip back into my self-imposed break. See you in 2010 - and may all your resolutions come true!


Bane of Anubis said...

My brother recently sent me a CD of pics with us kids from our early years. Quite fascinating (I love nostalgia almost as much as cake), these trips down memory lane. It's awesome that you and the universe saved some memories prior to Katrina. Now, get back to relaxing ;)

Laura Martone said...

Oh, Bane, I love nostalgia, too. Now, would you please tell my hubby that it's okay to look back now and again?

That's cool that you have photos from your childhood - I like seeing myself when I was younger and wiser - bet you do, too. And, yes, thank goodness for the positive forces that spared my photos - whatever they might be.

As for relaxing... alright already - I'm going, I'm going. Sheesh. ;-)

Patti said...

I cherish my photos too and would be heart broken if something happened to them. I understand your paranoia. Good luck with your project.

Steph Damore said...

Why stop at photos? I save plane and movie tickets, napkins from fav restaurants, wine corks, excursion brochures--whatever. I'm not a pack rat, but I do love scrapbooking and visiting memory lane.

BTW--that last photo gave me goose bumps.

Natalie said...

I have a NY picture just like that (taken from the Statue of Liberty right?)-- just a couple months before Sept. 11.

I need to go through and scan my pictures too. There are just SO MANY. You are a brave soul.

Laura Martone said...

Thanks, Patti. The chapters will get done... eventually. In the meantime, it's nice to know that I'm not alone in feeling paranoid about my photos.

Oh, Steph, why does it not surprise me that you save everything? :-) I used to save plane and movie tix, but I lost those long ago. And Dan's long since tossed his wine cork collection. If he continually steers me from being a packrat, then he has to make some sacrfices, too. So there. P.S. I know, that pic gave me goosebumps, too.

Hi, Natalie. Yes, I do believe you're correct. That photo was shot from the Statue of Liberty - it's much weirder that you have one just shortly before 9/11. P.S. I highly recommend scanning your old photos - no matter how many there are. It's good protection, plus it's kinda fun. ;-)

Deb@RGRamblings said...

Great gadget and project! I lost a lot of pictures when my harddrive crashed this fall, (Still hope to get them back) I love my pictures! The genealogist in me saves everything, you're so lucky that you got your things out before Katrina, that would have been a huge heartbreaker!

Laura Martone said...

Hi, Deb! Hope you had a Happy New Year's!

As for the scanner, yes, it's a great invention indeed - and believe me, I feel blessed every day that I spared my photos from Katrina's clutches. I sure hope you get yours back soon!