I recently was looking through the pictures and letters in my father’s retirement notebook. Originally he had made a scrapbook using one of those books with the so-called “Magnetic Pages”. Of course, these pages have a sticky surface that eventually destroys the pictures and other artifacts it comes in contact with.
When I brought mom and dad’s photo albums to my home over 2 years ago, I immediately set out to remove all the valuable pictures from the magnetic pages. I put dad’s retirement memories into archival pages in a loose-leaf book. I used a plain envelope to store the photographs taken at dad’s retirement party. I set the book aside on a shelf as there were so many other things to do.
Recently I decided I needed to begin scanning these items so dad can identify the people in the pictures while he is still able to. I scanned a bunch of black and white photos that were taken at his earliest training program when he first went to work for his long term employer in the early 1940’s. I printed out some of the best photos and brought them with me when I visited dad the other day.
Dad remembered all of the people and told me their names while I wrote them onto the paper copies I had made. My plan is to make a photo album using digital images and an online photo printer. I will be using Shutterfly (www.Shutterfly.com) to make this album.
After I finished with all the black and white photos, I remembered the envelope of photos from dad’s party. I pulled them out and then realized these color photos from the 1970’s had all turned mostly red. I had to edit them with a digital photo program after scanning each one. I am not expert in this process. My daughter would have done a better job, but she is busy with her job so I decided to just do what I could.
I chose 12 photos that I liked best, mostly because mom and dad were in them or they included people who I knew or they showed a lot of people in one picture. There are several dozen more that I did not scan. I decided if I keep my project doable I am more likely to finish. I don’t want to over-reach and end up with another UFO (Unfinished object)!
I have been putting these into one of the Shutterfly books online as I identified people and scanned more pictures. I would like to finish this project before Christmas, but other things always come up to interrupt this project. (I have written about other memory books that I made for dad in several posts including “A Birthday Party by Mail“, “High School Graduation Memory Books” and “Disaster Preparations and Recovery: Preserving Memories“)
Still, I have put in about 15 pages into this 20 page photo book, so I only have another 5 to do. However I want to review the whole book to make sure it flows well and doesn’t contain spelling errors or other problems.
I put several of the old black and white photos on Facebook and my daughter emailed me right away for a digital copy of one of them. She thought it was “wonderful”. Dad was quite a looker way back in the early 1940’s when these black and white photos were taken.
I only wish the retirement party pictures had also been taken in black and white as they would have aged much better. I know I can digitally convert the color photos to black and white. But the photos were printed on matt paper and are not as sharp as the early black and white photos were. The contrast is not that great between the different colors either partly because they were indoor photos taken with a flash camera.
No matter how well these photos come out, they will all be precious memories to dad and our whole family. This album contains paperwork from dad’s first few years on the job as well as letters congratulating him on his retirement. I think it makes a wonderful story about his work years. I am extra pleased as well that the album contains pictures of mom from those years.
Now I can only hope that I will find some time in the next week or two to complete this book. I had hoped to finish in the next 3 days as there is a special price promotion going on. However, with Thanksgiving coming up and family visits planned all weekend, I don’t expect to get back to this project until next week.
In the meantime, I will be enjoying a family holiday with my children and grandchildren and dad will have some extra visitors. I hope all of you who celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday will also have a great holiday.