Snapshot Stories: A Hope Chest, the Hunt for a Photo, and a New Book Title

This month I’m participating in the WordPress Writing 101 Blogging Challenge.

Today’s prompt was: Open the first photo album you can find — real or virtual, your call — and stop at the first picture of yourself you see there . Tell us the story of that photo.

I was immediately drawn to this prompt because it reminded me of Throwback Thursdays you see on Facebook or Twitter where people post old photos of themselves and comment on the circumstances.

I’ve always wanted to post my own Throwback Thursday photos, but alas, all my childhood photos are stuck in my mother’s hope chest. And by stuck, I mean “stuck.” Well, not the photos themselves, but the drawer.

The hope chest is a massive hardwood box, probably dating back to the early 20th century because it belonged to my mother’s aunt before her. And like most hope chests, it opens from the top, but there is also this drawer underneath. That is where my mother has stored all our childhood photos, school pictures, etc.

Unfortunately, one of the boards above the drawer (inside) broke and now hangs down, blocking the drawer from opening. My mother used to be able to shove a yarn stick in above the drawer and push the piece of wood up so the drawer would (with effort) finally open. Then she lost the yard stick.

Since we don’t want to damage the hope chest further (it is an antique after all), there the photos sit until we find something that worked as well as the yardstick or get another yardstick.

But I digress…

Today’s writing prompt asked me to find the first photo album I see and the first picture of myself. I do have dozens of photo albums  in my own home, documenting my adult years, so it wasn’t hard to find an album, but the picture? Ummm… Let’s put it this way:

I take a lot of pictures–of other people. Which means I’m not in many of them at all.  (Sorry, “selfies” just aren’t my thing.) 😀

So, the first album was no good. The second album the same. Finally, on the third album, I found a picture I could use for this prompt.


Easter, 2002

This photo was taken on Easter Sunday in 2002. My little boy was just over a year old and as you can see, bored to death from having his photo taken. (Let’s just say those dozen photo albums I have didn’t fill themselves — I pretty much documented my son’s entire first year day by day.)

I really like this photo, though, because to me it symbolizes what is most important to me. My family.

We were all together at my mother’s house for Easter that year, which doesn’t happen any more now she’s older and the dinner hosting has fallen to others, but back then, all the holiday meals were at Mom’s and all us kids were in attendance, along with a few aunts and uncles as well.

Tradition is very important to me. As a child I loved looking forward to specific times of the year because of the celebrations they would bring. That repetitiveness was comforting. You knew what to expect.

One of the things I’ve found hard to reconcile as I grow older is how traditions inevitably must change. There’s a little kid inside me who wishes nothing changed. That everything could be as we remembered. That people didn’t get older and pass away. That the crowd around the table didn’t get smaller. That we could go back and relive those precious moments we remember so fondly.

Maybe that’s why I write time travel novels. 😀

Alas, time does not hold still. My little boy in that photos isn’t so little anymore and my hair’s a lot shorter. 😉

As the title for Book 2 in my Soul Mates series says (Yes! It finally has a title), Nothing Stays the Same.

But photos like this one here allow us to revisit those memories, which is why I love to keep photo albums.

One day, we will get that stubborn hope chest open again (without breaking it!) and have even more memories to enjoy.

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