Memories, Pictures and Art Galleries

“Memory…is the diary that we all carry about with us.” Oscar Wilde

Memory is a funny thing. How, why, and what gets tucked into the recesses of our mind is so subjective. I have seen families plan big expensive vacations-to assist in making a memory for their children-only to ask them later if they remembered the times in such and such. Blank expressions look back. Heads shake of no….then eyes might light up and a recollection of the trip to the store they took when they were getting suitcases. “yea”, they say. “Remember that little white poodle on the escalator?” and the grown up kids laugh around the table. The parents look at each other with zero recollection of that shopping trip and wonder why they hell did they spend that 10 grand to make those great memories at the Florida Keys.

Memories fade, some stay vivid. Some can be recalled, some seem gone forever. I have recently re-connected with old friends. I have memories of times shared, laughter enjoyed and encouragement given. I wonder what memories they have.

I remember the days when pictures were taken with cameras that produced those little square slides that you would put into a projector to see on the screen you set up in the living room. Or perhaps you just moved a chair aside and showed them on a white wall. Mom made popcorn, or her famed chip dip, and we had our weekly allotment of soda. We gathered as a family to see the slide show. Perhaps that is what helped with maintaining memories. I might not really remember the trip, but I remember the slide that showed us on the trip.

Today we take digital pictures. We have to gather around someone’s computer screen to see them. Or if we have the capability to show them on the TV from our camera, we get a larger view. Some put them into little picture frames and let the pictures rotate through. To see them all, one has to stay in one spot for the duration of the rotating pictures. Some print pictures and put them into scrape books with cute captions.

My grandparents put them into a box. Later in their lives, they could not recall who was in the pictures. Even if the picture was of themselves as young adults.

So I have also wondered about pictures. I love to take them. I use my IPad. I use a digital camera. Some of my pictures are on the camera, in a frame that rotates, in my laptop, and in my IPad. I share some on Facebook.

I rather miss the days when the family got together with their favorite snack and watched the pictures of their trips, family events, reunions, and day to day fun. Not only did the pictures get reviewed, but the memories were re-shared.

One day long ago as I stood at Santa Monica beach and stared at the ocean crashing in, I realized nothing will adequately capture this. So I stood and watched and painted a portrait of it in my mind. I have a whole art gallery in my mind. I stroll through there from time to time and smile at the memories, feelings, and beautiful encouragements those ‘paintings’ bring me.

When my memory begins to fail, as it might, there are not enough pictures in a box to bring it back. My art gallery may go unvisited. That is one fallacy of the value of my art gallery. It is difficult to pass on. But a box of pictures….those can last a very long time.

Perhaps what is important, is not so much the specific memory, but in how that person, or that event, made you feel.

“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.” Lionel Hampton

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