Old Photos: Why You Should Keep “Stuff”

 This year is the 40th anniversary of the Akron Women’s History Project (WHP), which started on my watch as the first director of the university’s women’s studies department. The university archivist and a former colleague, who apparently is part of the ongoing yearly event, expect me to remember the details of the WHP’s roots. I’m 80! Are they serious? I have to write myself notes to turn off the stove! 

However, since I only work part-time these days, I gave up watching my nightly Netflix series and started rummaging through file boxes and shelves to see what I could find. Not much, but far more than I predicted: photos of early organizers and award recipients; the first volume of the WPH annual booklet; my first speech at our first awards program; and several of the first awards (small porcelain figures sculpted by Sister Evangeline Doyle, a local Dominican nun).  

Awesome, I thought to myself—at least I have something to contribute. More awesome, however, were the other photos and memorabilia, including a 1924 obituary of my paternal grandfather, David Gozansky. According to the report, he died of a broken heart when his soldier son Joe died in France. There were baby pictures of my grandchildren and g-d children, all now teenagers and older. There was even a photo of one of my annual costume birthday parties in the 1940s, as well as one of my older brothers when they still had full heads of hair. I also found poems, letters, and a box of treasured books such as Catcher in the Rye, Shogun, a book on the philosophy of Hanna Arndt, and everything Tolkien. 

These bits and pieces help us remember and relive moments in our lives lost to time and memory. They are an antidote to old age, a reminder of a life well lived, and a connection to all those who have passed but are now reinstated in our hearts.  

Published by Carole J. Garrison

I’m a conversationalist, an observer, a passionate participant in life. And now, in my later years, I’m a recorder of the lessons of my life through essays, stories, and novels. I live in the fourth moment of life, just outside the normal distribution of most people and it is from this place that I write.

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