A Trip Down Memory Lane

The idea was born. The plan was formulated. The date on which the mission
would be accomplished was set. All necessary equipment was procured. The personnel
with the skill, the daring, and the willing hearts pledged themselves to the project --- and
the deed was done.
 
Sounds like the opening to a documentary on a space mission, doesn’t it? In
actuality, the idea was to take forty years of family photos, scan the prints into the
computer, arrange all the pictures into neatly and logically ordered files, and then save
the family photographic history on digital format. (Boy --- any chance that my great-
grandparents from the pre-techno-babble-age could have understood that sentence?)
My children had conceived the plan as a Mother’s Day gift. Over a month passed
before calendars and previous commitments afforded an open window for all of us to set
aside the large amount of time that a project this big would require. Finally, the day
arrived. The kids showed up with scanners, laptop computers, and re-writeable CDs. I
was ready and waiting. I had emptied drawers, rummaged through the cedar chest,
unveiled contents of boxes stored high on basement shelves, and gathered the few photo
albums that had been assembled over the years.
 
We began the daunting task! The questions commenced. “How old was I in this
shot?” “What year did we do this?” “Whose newborn photo is this?” I decided that
perhaps a family time-line might come in handy as a reference point. Each child pitched
in relevant data like birth date, graduation year, wedding year – you know the kind of
things that you hope your Mother will remember without you having to remind her.
Then, there were the dates like, “I got my braces off in 1992.” Or, “I know that was June
of 1987 because my arm was in the cast.” Each of us collectively throwing in our
memories produced a rough time line around which we could organize.
 
We laughed. We cried. We made fun of ourselves, each other, and other family
members not present that day. Everyone and everything was fair game as we revisited
the days of yesteryear. On more than one occasion I went into a “brain freeze” as the
years and memories all scrambled together. Vacation times, birthday parties, holiday
celebrations all blended together to yield heart-warming sentiments.
 
The time passed quickly, too quickly actually. I don’t mean the time that we
worked on the photos rushed by; I mean the time in which our days were lived and our
memories were made passed all too rapidly. The babies have grown. The school days
are over. All the children now have families of their own. While I was living it, life
left a trail of memories, forged a history of laughter and tears, carved a monument to
relationships. While I was engulfed by it, time engraved recollections on the screen of
my thoughts and memoirs of the diary of my mind.
 
On our photo-saving day, I took a trip down memory lane. In reality, that lane
upon which we build memories only goes in one direction. We move forward in time.
Our memories may lie upon yesterday’s path but new life lies on the path ahead. Each
day provides an opportunity for us to add a snapshot that can bring joy for the next time
we take a trip down memory lane. Capture the moment!

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