Archive | Grandparenting

This category has articles related to being a grandparent and staying connected over the internet with far-flung family

Grammy on the Go! – part 2

[Editor’s note: Flip-Pal Ambassador Peggy Lauritzen looks at her own family’s story and her reasons for why “Flip-Pal goes where I go.”]

I love being known as “Grammy”. It’s a wonderful title that I cherish. I can’t help but reflect back on how wonderful my own parents were as grandparents, and how I always felt so safe and loved around my fun-loving grandparents. I hope this legacy continues on for generations.

I am continuing my task of scanning and labeling the many hundreds, if not thousands of photos that we took as a young family, and additional ones that I have inherited. Other than storing them in magnetic photo albums or filing them in shoeboxes, there weren’t too many other options. These systems continue to take up space on bookshelves, and the process of labeling them can be quite daunting.

Flip-Pal has been the answer to my dilemma. There are many photos that I will never dispose of, and there are many others that have met a different fate. I don’t need dozens of images of the Kansas wheat fields to clutter up my valuable shelf space.

Family pictureDuring this Christmas season, I have kept my Flip-Pal quite close to me. As the beautiful holiday cards are opened, I have lessened my workload by scanning those with photos the moment they are opened.

In this beautiful photo my niece sent, I quickly scanned both the front and the back. Sometimes people will label their photos. Sometimes they arrive blank with a family newsletter. Either way is fine, for I will simply label the back with the names of the family members while it is still fresh in my mind. (Note: For privacy purposes, I have not included the scan of the back of this photo. It includes the names of the family members, plus the year the card was sent.)

This not only works for the holidays, it works for any card, invitation, announcement, or memento that someone may include in their letters to you. I have another shoebox filled with those that are calling for my attention. That will be a good project for this winter.

It is important that we preserve these precious memories for the generations yet to come. As we age, we may find that there are some windows of time that our memories are sharper and clearer than others. That is the time to get to work! Other times may find our minds a bit more cluttered. But, in many cases our long-term memories are more reliable than our short-term memories. Scanning photos can help to tweak our memories and the stories associated with them.
Horse with dog on back

I recently came across an old photo of my grandfather’s mule. I vaguely remember this mule, but I can certainly remember the stories my own mother told me about Ol’ Myrt. I had to laugh to myself, for Ol’ Myrt reminded me of a white horse with a swayed back The Three Stooges used to ride. I think this picture looks more like a horse, but I’m not an expert.

Note the black dog sitting in its back.

This photo survived a devastating fire at my parents’ house.

The photos keep on coming, and they add to the stacks of photos that we already possess. The time to take care of these photos and the memories they trigger is now. They deserve more than to be tossed into a box and forgotten. These are dear and treasured family memories and friends that have taken their time to remember us by sending us a holiday greeting. They should never be added to the rest of our files of piles without making due notation of their date and the persons they include.

One of these days we will be gone. If we have not taken the time to properly care for and label our photos, they may very well be tossed. Let them continue to live on!

Grammy On the Go! – part 1

My Grandparent's Photograph

My Grandparent’s Photograph

[Editor’s note: Flip-Pal Ambassador Peggy Lauritzen looks at her own family’s story and her reasons for why “Flip-Pal goes where I go.”]

We all have them. We have inherited a shoebox full of photos that no one labeled or we have discovered one of those dreaded magnetic photo albums that were so popular when they first arrived on the scene. Sometimes we can remove those photos; sometimes we must let them be. These albums were very popular when they first appeared, for they were very easy to use, did not require glue or fasteners on the corners of photos and seemed to be protected by their see-through pages.

However, through the years, they have proven to cause more damage than ever imagined. The photos have a tendency to stick to the magnetic backing and the clear pages will sometimes lift the colors right off the photos.

Such was the case in my own family. I was born into an older family. My parents were in their forties and my three sisters were mostly grown and out of the house. That may not be old by today’s standards, but when I was born in the 1950s it was considered old. It also meant my grandparents were born in the late 1800s, a fact that is remarkable to some. Imagine knowing someone from that century!

But everyone is gone now. My mother died nearly thirty years ago. Then, just a few short years ago, my father died—followed by my mother-in-law the next year and my father-in-law the year after that.

In the blink of an eye my husband and I became the older generation. We became the ones that our children, our nieces and our nephews would come to when they wanted to know the family’s history, to hear stories and to see the photos.

My sisters are all approaching their late 70s now and there is no time to waste in tweaking their minds to retrieve any tidbits of information that I can. We get together quite often to research our family lines and to review photos. But, like many older family members, they don’t want to let those items out of their hands.

Enter the Flip-Pal mobile scanner.

This little device was a valuable tool in scanning the photos and documents that survived a fire in my parents’ home. It is just the right size for sitting in front of the television and scanning away. It is perfect for traveling—having its own little tote bag and extra batteries packed away and ready to go.

Gone are the days when I would try to convince cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents that I would take good care of their photographs if I could just borrow them. Most of my family lives out of state, so it would mean borrowing photos one at a time, taking them to a developing center and physically returning it into their hands. It was expensive and time-consuming.

I particularly remember such an occasion when I visited my aunt and uncle who, at the time, also had their adult son living with them. All three were on oxygen and were heavy smokers.

I noticed a formal picture of my grandparents that was fastened onto their wall with screws. It was the same photo that had burned when my father’s home caught fire just a year after my mother’s death. My dad really missed his copy of the picture and we really had no way to order another. I took that picture to the color copy center, which they duplicated. It was extremely yellowed from years of cigarette smoke, but my dad was happy to receive it as a gift and it hung on his wall until his death.

I recently used the Flip-Pal to scan and stitch that same photo, using the included photo software to remove the yellow stained background. It is beautiful.

Flip-Pal goes where I go. And now, precious photos will be forever preserved.

Save Your Family Stories for Those Grandkids!

[Editor’s note: Bob Keesy shares some of his experiences saving family stories for his grandkids.]

800px-Polaroid_Land_Camera_Model_800_front_unfolded_bellows vert SCAN1202_edited-1How different it is now for our children in this digital age than it was for us and our parents.  My dad was the photographer in my family. I remember him using the simple black box point and shoot camera of the day and a fancier fold out bellows camera.  Dad stepped up to buying a Polaroid land camera. He wasn’t an especially skilled photographer, just the average hobbyist-level dad.  I also think he loved to be the center of the activity at family events, taking and developing his Polaroid’s on the spot to capture the family stories. When it was folded up flat the camera was about the size of a tissue box and when it unfolded it also used a bellows to protect the light path. A negative sheet was exposed inside the camera, then lined up with a positive sheet and squeezed through a set of rollers which spread a chemical between the two layers, creating a developing film sandwich. I remember that after a minute, negative peeled away to reveal the print. Amazing to have an instant black and white photograph in your hands so quickly!  Technology has zoomed ahead since my dad took his Polaroid’s.

IMG_3095 - Copy_edited-1 2013-06-11 14.58.34_edited-1My son and daughter-in-law are well on their way to taking hundreds and hundreds of digital images of our new twin grandchildren. They use their camera, phone, and iPad and camcorder.  I will never have a shortage of images of their twins. Becoming a new grandparent makes me more aware that I have a lot of photos, Polaroid and regular, my dad took. Many of these photos tell a story about the family, whether it is about my siblings, my parents, my grandparents, or other relatives. It is easier for our children to share their digital images with us than it is for the other way around, for us as parents and grandparents to share our images and memories to them.  We are the holders of our short stories of our family and our past.  I need to get busy and start putting something together for the twins.  I know that someday when they get older, their parents and they would like to know the interesting stories about the family. Even this story will help them to better know their Great Grandpa Ken and that he loved the idea of instant photos fifty years ago.

Unfortunately it seems that this project doesn’t have a pressing deadline.  It is too easy to procrastinate. But the truth is there is a level of urgency that needs to be considered.

  1. As originals photos or prints age, they are harder to save and restore; especially when they are very often stored in poor choice locations; hot attics or damp basements. They are also scattered and lost.
  2. Accidents of nature do happen, whether it is water, fire, storm, or worse.
  3. If you do collect and digitize your family photos and album you get to be the first in your family to author the stories that go with the images.  Wouldn’t you want to get your bylines into the story line rather than leaving it entirely to another family member? You can still be fair and give them a chance to review and give you editorial feedback.
  4. We all know that we are only given so many days.  We have different seasons in our life. You really should consider if you are now in a season for your life where saving photo and word stories deserves to be a priority in your day. I know that I am.