When my granddaughter was born four years ago, I put photos of her into every kind of photo-saving device – albums, scrapbooks, Grandma’s brag book, refrigerator magnet frames, etc. Trouble was, I took so many photos and received so many, that they started getting ahead of me. When I want to show someone how she’s grown, most often I go for the jpg’s on the computer and attach them to an email. It’s an extra step to update wallet photos and to continue buying albums to put on the bookshelf, so I stopped.
Now I have hundreds of pictures on my computer. Lord help me if this thing ever crashes. I’m thinking I’ll get another flash drive and transfer them. Maybe if, as soon as I put them onto my computer, I also save them to flash drive, I’ll be protected.
My little girl was visiting me recently and she likes to watch the Windows Slideshow Screensaver. One day I left the computer for a while and when I returned, I found her standing in the doorway reciting, as if for an unseen audience:
“My birthday party. Skyla’s birthday. School. Mommy. Abba. Me and Hammy (that’s me).”
And on and on. When pictures of her as an infant pop up, she adds a story from her imagination about what said baby in the photo was thinking, i.e. “That baby wants to ride my scooter.” She knows the picture is of her, but she enjoys making up her “That baby” stories.
I don’t know how the sequence of slides is determined, but it seems like we get the same ones over and over for a few days and then up comes one we haven’t seen before. I suspect when I add to my endless jpg’s from another source, they reshuffle. I recently put in a bunch of vintage pictures. The little one was standing behind me when a new one came up and she asked “Who’s that?” I told her that is her great-grandmother, that the lady in the photo onscreen is my mommy. Then I showed her a picture of my parents together.
Next time I found her in the doorway narrating the slideshow, she had assimilated these people (who passed away before she was born) into her performance. She said, like a tour guide, “That’s Hammy’s mommy. That’s Hammy’s Abba.” Then as I walked by, she paused. It must be a work in progress, and she wasn’t ready to reveal it yet. Soon she’ll come up with something interesting about them and I’ll be eager to hear it. That’s something no mere photo album can offer.
Ó Anita Garner 2009