My girlfriend is moving, actually a lot of my girlfriends are moving…or have recently moved. Downsizing to be closer to family, downsizing to rid themselves of cheating husbands, downsizing so they can work less with lower overhead, upsizing for some lovely generational living with their parents. Cha cha changes.
With change comes decluttering. One of the most tender chores is going through the boxes and boxes of photos. Remember physical photographs? Rewinding and removing the rolls of film then dropping them at the Fotomat kiosk or local photo store. Watching as they wrote your name and phone number on the envelopes… picking print size, b/w or color, matte or glossy. Matte was cool, cool people chose matte-finished photos. The wait… oh the wait. Waiting is so good for the soul. Writing the due date on the calendar, that day being so long…knowing you would see the pictures after work. Being handed the envelope. Ripping the super sticky outer envelope glue strip to find those glorious packets of images and negatives…careful, don’t drop the negatives. Shuffling through the images as your credit card was cla-clinked through the machine…sharing the best moments with strangers waiting their turn. Not so different than posting online…but much less danger of people being rude. Such such innocent fun.
Boxes of photos, moments, negatives…what do you do with this stuff. It has to be trimmed down. Stuff. I have been receiving texts with images of moments long forgotten. Bits of gold passed on. Now digital…they are forever…or until the laptop login no longer works. Nothing is forever.
Our refrigerator used to be the catch-all for all photos we received from friends… announcements, school photos, bits of our daily life. I removed them years ago to do a “good clean”…the stark blue of the refrigerator was so refreshing…they never went back up. Now just things in a box, to be found when we too decide to move. This picture, a reminder of the time when people actually printed photos, when we shared the best of the best with the people in them, when we held our loved ones in our hands instead of flipping through them on the screens.