by Caren Kimenker
Last year, my daughter's grandparents on her father's side passed away within 8 months of each other, leaving behind a ninety-six year legacy of family memories in photos. They both loved their family and friends and surrounded themselves with photos of family groups and grandchildren as pleasant memories when they couldn't be there in person.
As precious as these family photos were to my mother-in-law, it would have been a shame to just sort them and box them away or just split them up amongst various family members. So, I offered to scan them and make a picture book so that everyone could have their own copy of the photos to enjoy. This turned out to be a larger task than expected as there were old photo albums and pictures stored all over the house - in main living areas, in the basement family room, in the attic, and in drawers. But, to me, it was a labor of love.
I had so much fun looking at all the pictures as I was scanning them and then putting them into a book. Seeing my in-laws in their younger years, the way the outside of their house looked when they first moved in without the porch and the landscaping, seeing my ex and his sisters growing up, all the family vacations and the adventures that they went on, and then the siblings' families as they grew. My daughter was the oldest grandchild and she managed to have her picture taken with all the other grandchildren. The pictures made me feel a special connection to my in-laws and a special appreciation of the joy and love they brought to their lives and to everyone they touched.
Putting together a picture book for someone else was not something that I was used to doing, so I took special care to make sure everything was just right and in the correct chronological order. But, the more pages I finished, the prouder I felt that I was doing this not only for the family members but for my in-laws, because I know how special pictures always were to them. Lil had diligently labeled every photo with the dare, the location, and the names of everyone in the picture so that the memory was never lost.
My special tribute to them is the last two pages where I did a collage of pictures of the two of them together, always smiling and always showing the love they felt for each other.
The book is finished, except for some final editing. But, even before she saw the final product, my sister-in-law reminded me of why I do what I do as a photo solutions consultant: "You do a mitzvah with this business--in just one example, for those people who have pictures of their loved ones who have passed away, it is a way to continue honoring the loved ones, by honoring their memory."
Pictures are special because the people, places and things in them are special and because they all tell a story. Don't lose the stories.
About Caren: I have been helping people create their own photo albums for eleven years. People would buy the products to make their own albums but then they never completed the album. They would comment that they didn't have time. Making scrapbooks and preserving memories and stories of photos has always been a strong passion of mine, so I changed my focus to help people get it done by helping them organize their photos and creating their albums. So, I started CSK Photo Solutions to help people organize their photos and memorabilia, paper or digital, create memory books telling the stories of the pictures, photo gifts, wall prints and much more! I receive a lot of pleasure from seeing client's reactions to looking through their books that tell their stories. I will be glad to help you.