I was born in 1975. My brother was born in 1978. Our parents were youngish baby boomers, and my dad was very nostalgic and sentimental. He loved to take pictures of everything.
Unfortunately, there was no good way to preserve photos from that period. My father doubled-down on 35mm slides. He “scanned” our childhood images to photographic slides that can only be seen through a slide projector.
(Do you kids even know I’m talking about? Damn youngsters. See links above.)
I recently discovered about 700 slides in my basement. Not the ideal conditions for archival footage. For my brother’s birthday, I took advantage of a Facebook coupon and converted those slides to digital images through Legacybox.
(Facebook advertising works! My brother said, “These photos are amazing. Thank you.”)
I’m glad he is happy. I am the opposite of nostalgic, but it is fun to see photos of the 1970s and early 1980s. Wrigley Field looks different. Clothes are funny, too.
For the first time, my brother was able to see his childhood. That’s pretty cool, right? I remember him looking like this.
Nostalgia is a slippery slope, however. It’s great to see my parents and family members look so happy and normal in the digital images. Everybody looks like they have potential, which is nice to remember. But then life happened. Just like many of you, my family has experienced its fair share of trouble. If I let nostalgia fester, I fear that it will lead to maudlinism.
(Who has time for that?!)
The nostalgia loop is powerful and seductive, but every moment spent looking back for the sake of looking back feels a little pointless to me. It is intellectually lazy to think that what our childhood offered was better or sweeter or simpler than what we have today.
(That’s rarely true.)
And in order to make progress in life, you have to believe that tomorrow holds the possibility of something greater than yesterday or today.
So I’m torn between celebrating these images and storing them in another box — in the cloud — and never looking back. It’s amazing to see photos of my childhood cats, Taco and Biggles. It is fun to see my grandparents and family members looking so young and carefree. But sometimes enough is enough.