A couple of weeks ago, I had a scare…  (Thankfully it wasn’t the kind of scare I had in my younger days… you know, one that involved the calendar.)  This scare involved something like the blue screen of death. I was working at home and was in the middle of searching for a graphic for my job when I clicked on a site and my entire computer locked up and turned blue.  I was petrified that I’d suddenly gotten one of those viruses that force you to restart, and when you do, it eats your hard drive, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

I do back up my computer regularly.  About three times a year, I burn the entire hard drive to roughly twenty DVDs.  And at least once a week, usually more often, I put only the latest versions of the important stuff (documents, recipes, and most importantly, my manuscripts!) to cloud storage.  But the thing that takes up so much space… the thing that’s too large to put on (free) cloud storage, is my massive collection of photos.

A few years ago, my son Jeremy asked how he could get access to “every photo that was ever taken of him.”  Challenge accepted!  He soon forgot all about his request, but I did not.  I made it my mission to scan in every photo every taken of him.  I started by making year folders for every year since I was pregnant with him…

Then within each year’s folder, I made a folder for each month…

But I didn’t limit my scans to only include photos, I also added school work, report cards, etc…

(By the way, I’m not insane with the desire to be über-organized… It took me nearly a year to complete Jeremy’s project!)  When I was done with Jeremy’s photos, I copied his folders to my daughter, Stefani’s file, and deleted any photos that she was not in, then I added her photos.  (Because I had a lot of hers scanned in where she was in the photo with her brother, hers only took me about five months.)  That seemed like the best way to organize my children’s memories, and even though some months have empty folders, it’s kind of neat how sometimes they get filled this many years later.  For example, my daughter’s former stepmom recently put an old picture of both my kids on her Facebook wall.  I’d never seen the photo before, and it was so cool to add that to my “collection.”  (Of course I copied it twice, once for each kid.)  And recently, I was at my birth mom’s house and we found an envelope of pictures my Grandma took of my kids when they were little that she’d never shown me.  It feels almost like finding buried treasure when this happens.

Of course, after I started my children’s projects, I wanted to scan in my grandparents’ photos.  However, unlike my kids, I had no desire to attempt to organize each of them by month and year…  (Grandma was never one to write dates on the back, so that would have been impossible.)

So for each of them, I made folders such as Grandma Alone, Grandma & Her Siblings, Grandma & Her Children, Grandma & Her Grandchildren, Grandma & Her Great-Grandchildren, Grandma & Friends/Other Family, Grandma & Granddaddy’s Wartime Correspondence (yes, I scanned in their letters to each other. Okay, actually, I photographed them on a black blanket because that was faster than scanning them.), and Grandma’s Cool Stuff…

“Cool Stuff” includes just about anything that isn’t a photo, and it’s also stuff that my birth mom, uncle, cousins, or my own children might want copies of.  For example, I photographed Granddaddy’s track letterman’s letters and his trophies and ribbons.  For Grandma, I added her high school diploma and a short story that I recently found which she apparently wrote shortly after she was married in the 1940s.  (How cool that she, too, fancied herself a writer… a well-kept secret that neither of her children or I ever knew!)

So these days, unless I get the rare treat of one of my kids allowing me to do a photo shoot of them, I mainly add to the “collection” when I find a new photo (generally a selfie they post on their Facebook, which, with me being a professional photographer, makes me cringe!)..  And that’s the main reason I panicked when I clicked on that bad website and thought I got a fatal hard drive virus.

Thankfully, after I rebooted, I ran a virus and malware scan, and haven’t had any problems since.

Time to talk:  Do you keep your photos well organized?  Do you scan your old photos that were not digital?  Do you regularly back up the photos on your phone and camera?  When was the last time you had a computer virus?

Anne Reincarnated

Since today is Throwback Thursday as well as Anne Frank’s birthday, I want to share a story to tie them both together.  As I’ve said before, my grandparents raised me.  My grandfather was stationed in Japan during World War II, then he and the family lived in different areas of the Far East during the reconstruction years following the war.  So growing up, my house was filled with Oriental and Asian furniture, paintings, knickknacks, and other keepsakes.  I heard a lot of firsthand stories about Japan during wartime.

My grandma had a large family, and all but one of her many brothers were stationed in either Asia or Europe.  She had one brother who was a German prisoner of war for more than two years.  But my grandma was an odd woman.  She was very tight-lipped and secretive about just about everything.  So, getting any stories of Germany out of her was like getting military secrets out of Hitler himself.  In fact, the only thing she did ever share about it was that every week she’d go to the store and buy a carton of cigarettes to send her brother because he could trade them for something or other while he was in the prison camp.  (After I got older, I found it particularly odd that the foreign prisoners of war were treated better than the Jewish citizens of Germany!)

Now, while all this talk was going on during my childhood, I attended a private Christian school.  And at school, we didn’t focus on such things as World History or American History.  We focused on Biblical History.  So, yes, learning about ancient Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams of a bajillion years ago took precedent over the more recent Word War.  (No offense intended either to God or the dream-plagued king.) 

As such, I really had no idea about German or Italian involvement in the war (so I was obviously not a fan of Hogan’s Heroes)… until the fourth grade, when my teacher, Mrs. O’Brian, assigned us to read Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl.  I was hooked!  I thought Anne was just about the bravest girl to ever have lived!

And now comes the odd part…  I’ve told you before that because of my Asperger’s Syndrome, I don’t have very good facial recognition.  Well, keep that in mind…

My grandparents had a child who was just over a year older than my birth mom.  Her name was Dawn, and she died from a hole in her heart early in 1962, shortly after her 14th birthday.  There were photos of her all over my house when I was growing up.  And after I read Anne Frank’s Diary, I was convinced that Anne (who died in 1945) had somehow reincarnated (even though at Christian school such thoughts were a HUGE no-no!) herself into my aunt who I’d never met and who was born four years after Anne’s death.

And BELOW (hopefully), you’ll see why.  The top two pictures are Anne Frank.  The bottom photo is of Dawn.  Am I wrong to have thought (actually I still think) they look amazingly alike?

Anne Frank

Anne Frank

Aunt Dawn