Remember that Flock of Seagulls song? ‘If I had a photograph of you I wouldn’t spend my time just wishing…’
When I was young we bought a roll of film, took photos, and paid to have it developed. If you were lucky one or two turned out and the rest were tossed.
Then we spent money on photo albums. You’d peel back the thick plastic and carefully place your photo on the sticky cardboard and cover them back up with that plastic that froze in wrinkles for all eternity.
Then came digital, and how that changed everything. No more rolls of film unless you were a professional photographer or purist. No more development costs. The ability to delete all the embarrassingly bad photos.
And the ability to archive thousands and thousands of pictures on your computer, on the Cloud, even on your smart phone.
Until you accidentally delete all the photos you took from your trip overseas in July.
Until you remember that you didn’t back up the computer after downloading all those photos.
Until you realize that not only are all those photos gone, but also you’ve somehow lost the whole entire photo program on your computer.
I’m reminding myself that things are just things. Photos are gone, but memories remain.
I am going to take the computer in to a repair expert though.
And if anything can be salvaged, I think I’ll print out photos and see if anyone still sells old sticky albums where pictures can be stuck safe for years.
Because all of this has also made me think about the people in California who lost their homes to the recent fires.
How quickly everything can be lost.
There is no backing up a whole house. There are no saving heirlooms and mementos to the Cloud. There is no shoving your child’s first report card onto a thumb drive, or the quilt your great-grandmother made. Emergency Services might bring you blankets, but it won’t be that quilt.
I’m thankful that all I’ve lost are some photos, and I ache for those who have lost everything, in so many ways.