How I Keep My Memories Alive


At first, I thought it was overkill. But now, I’m so glad she did it.

Last weekend was my middle girl’s prom. A big ordeal for all teens everywhere, but an even bigger one for my girl. A girl who’s been looking at dresses “just for fun” for a good two years now, who’s jokingly called her love life “hopeless” for a few months now, a girl who loves Nicholas Sparks books and is a romantic at heart.

So when the boy asked and the dress was bought and the hair appointment made, I felt nothing but excitement for my daughter. Next up? Pictures.

“We’re taking them at the park. One of the moms hired a professional photographer. So you can take your own, or order some from him.”

Really? A park? A professional photographer? For prom? It’s not a wedding for crying out loud. My mind went here, because this is where my mind goes as a seasoned parent in this over-the-top world of ours.

A world where many of us are climbing up very high into our children’s affairs.

A world where parents keep tabs on their child’s every move, worry about his every mistake and praise his every achievement.

A world where parents are knocking themselves out to make their children the center of their lives and attempt to give them a pain-free childhood (impossible to achieve of course, and perhaps we’re damning them with our efforts-did I just write that?!).

But I digress; let’s save that one for another blog post.

Of course I wanted pictures. So off we went to the park that night to snap a few shots of our girl and her date as well as her group of friends.

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It was then that I realized something pretty vital: dances no longer offer professional photographers to take pictures.  This is why we parents and kids gather together for school dance photos; otherwise there wouldn’t be any.

Technology has changed so much about how we live and do things in the past few years.  Taking a photo and sharing it is about as easy as breathing.  We can snap and post and share and save, and we can do it all for free.

But for all the photos we take, we rarely print them. We click, we post, we view, we enjoy. Then we are done.  Said photos remain in our phones, on our computers, in our Facebook albums forever.  But my question is this: what happens when we grow old and weary of the technology?  When we no longer get on Facebook, use a cell phone or access the Cloud?

I happen to be old school. I’m one of those people who takes pictures and prints them and then shoves them in a photo album. But I am of a dying breed. My kids, they snap more pictures in a day then I do in a year, but they never print them.

It feels alarming to me.

For my entire life, I have loved looking at old photos. Give me a good rainy Sunday afternoon with not one interesting show on cable and I’ll dig through an old photo album. Inevitably I’ll drag my kids into the room, asking them to guess which sister is in this or that photo.


I laugh and point out my big ‘80’s style hair from my college years.


I show them the photo of Grandpa Orma and Grandma ‘Cille smiling and remind them how they put on a dance show for them that one Thanksgiving, Grandpa’s last.


Recently I was digging through old boxes in the attic, looking for records from the last high school reunion I’d planned a few years back. What I found instead was a box of old photos from high school. Pictures from my prom, spring break trips, and the homecoming parade.

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What a trip to see myself from another time and place.  A young girl who had no idea what lay ahead in her life. 

But what about my girls?  How will they go down memory lane?  Will they pull out an old phone and recharge it? Page through old Facebook photo albums? Will the Cloud or Dropbox last forevermore?  It’s a small thing but also a very big one.  Digital photos are wonderful but I’m not sure they are eternal. 

So I’m grateful to this mom who thought ahead. This mom who probably isn’t an over-the-top mom at all, but just someone who wanted to document an important moment in her child’s life with an actual, physical photograph.

As for me, I guess when I am old and gray (guess I should say older and grayer) I’ll at least have my own photos for reminiscing.

About thewritertracy

Writer, Mom, Lover of books, travel, family, friends and fun.
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8 Responses to How I Keep My Memories Alive

  1. Sabra Penley says:

    Hooray for printed photos! I’ve often thought the same thing–will those digital files be around forever? And I can only imagine not. Already I have floppy discs with things on them I can’t access anymore. (Oh, maybe if I pay someone somewhere a boatload of money I could get it back.) We have VHS videos that need to be converted to DVD, but we haven’t done that yet.And I think how many digital photos are filling up my computer’s memory that are not important. Maybe I should just print out all the important ones–the ones that document specific times, events, memories? As we have found out with my husband’s brain injury, memories are not always and forever. A picture can be priceless. Sounds like you have the right idea, Tracy. And one day, your kids and grandkids will be grateful…instead of rolling their eyes.

    • Oh Sabra, we too have the floppy discs and VHS tapes that need to be converted. I sometimes wonder if I will ever get around to it. Think I’ll continue to print photos!

  2. I enjoy paging through old albums, too. And my daughters get a kick out of looking at themselves when they were young. But I stopped filling those bulky albums once everything went digital. I’ve made a few Shutterfly books (very easy and lightweight) for special occasions (graduation, vacations), and keep telling myself I’ll make more for all the other photos I keep online but haven’t done it…yet. Another project for my list.

    • Oh the project list, it never ends! 🙂 I have wanted to make a book through Shutterfly, just have never gotten around to it. Maybe the issue is more about making the photo projects a priority? Knowing that we have them safe and sound in our technology allows us to put off printing them indefinitely! Thanks for your comments Joyce.

  3. Joyce Welbaum says:

    I agree that there is nothing quite so nice as sharing a photo album with a family member or friend. As you turn the pages, you can talk about all these memories together, and it creates a warm glow that lasts and makes me feel happy for all those times. Somehow, it just doesn’t seem the same sitting at the computer. There is something about the physical process of turning the pages and saying, “Remember this?”

    • Thanks for your comment Aunt Joyce. How right you are, the computer doesn’t seem the same! In some ways, I feel the same about reading books versus reading on the computer. Guess I’m old school in a lot of ways!

  4. Aunt Stevie says:

    I think of what we most want to save “in case of a fire”. Those who have lost personal possessions in a disaster lament that most items can be replaced – except family mementos and family pictures. That says a lot about the importance of pictures no matter in which form they are stored. They speak of family history and we want to remember.
    I really don’t know why I’m rambling on – so – good day!

    • Yes, indeed. Mom and Dad have so many pictures at the house. What did you all do with Grandma and Grandpa’s photo albums? I’ve been trying to decide on this. Of course we’ll keep them but not sure whether to pack away albums, sort through them or what!

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