Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Thousand Words, A Thousand Memories

A picture may be said to be worth a thousand words but I also think a picture evokes a thousand memories.  Since my mother's passing in September, I have joyfully distributed many of her photographs to family and friends, and even to her nursing school alma mater's archives.  It's made me happy to see how pleased the recipients are to receive them.  In addition to giving away photos, I've asked for one specific picture of my mom since her passing.  Thanks to our good friend Ed, I now have two precious color photographs of Mom wearing a dress that I bought for her to wear at her 25th high school class reunion when I was 11 years old.  Those pictures are filled with nostalgia for me.  They take me back to Mom, Dad and me standing in the local women's clothing store where Mom selected a white, sleeveless linen shift with matching white and colorfully striped linen jacket.  I proudly handed over to the clerk the months of weekly allowance I had been saving to buy Mom her special class reunion dress, realizing that I had just enough to pay for it and for some matching jewelry, too.  I love looking at those two photos.  Today, I was in some small way able to pay the experience of receiving priceless photos forward.  I had recently been given a 16"x 20" framed, sepia-tone photograph of two young women from about 1910. Recognizing that the picture belonged with the women's family and not in our hospital's institutional archives, I tracked down the one woman's son.  Fortunately, he lived close by and was able to pick up the photo today.  The man didn't recall ever having seen that image of his mother before.  At age 92, he plans to pass the photo along to one of his daughters as a surprise Christmas gift.  Just as I have received joy in seeing those photos of Mom in her class reunion dress, I saw joy in the man's face today, as his eyes cast into the eyes of his mother as a young woman.  Perhaps a picture is worth a thousand words, but perhaps its worth is even greater as a thousand memories, a thousand joys.

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