What if Facebook were around 80 years ago?

It probably wouldn’t look that different from today’s Facebook.

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

You’d still have line-ups of beautiful young women in party dresses:

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

And the posed, wanna-be-artsy portraits they take of each other when boys aren’t around:

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

There’d be photos of handsome young men doing their own kind of posing:

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

Like today, there would also be those awkward couple photos in which one half of the party is clearly more into the relationship than the other is:

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

And the sweet ones in which both are equally smitten:

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

You’d see teens that present one face to their friends, and a very different one to their family:

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

You’d see pics of your friends’ cute kids…

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

…and their vacation trips…

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

 

…and their special visits with relatives who stopped in from out of town:

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

People would share the same kind of exciting moments they do now:

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

There would be photos from parties…

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

…and photos of partying:

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

Of course, there would be those that present an enhanced view of reality to the rest of the world:

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

A note on the back says that this fish was caught with nets and the stick is just to make the photo look good.

As well as those that, perhaps, should never be shared with the world at all:

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

When my grandma died, my great-grandmother’s old photo albums were placed on my cousin’s dining room table and we all took the pictures we wanted from them. In the process, the albums were destroyed–pictures became separated from the pages that told who was in them and where they were taken and why.

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old Photos

Who are these dapper young men? I have no idea.

My mom gathered all the leftovers and gave them to me. I now own a stack of old photos filled with people I don’t know. My grandma and her brothers and sister are in some of these, but I don’t know who most of the people you see above are. Or rather, were.

I would like to do something other than store them in an envelope (where they are currently housed) or a new album, but I don’t really know what to do with them. They are just snapshots, most of them–the kind of pictures we now post to Facebook and forget about.

And yet, this stash of casual, everyday photos feels like treasure to me. 

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old Photos

My grandma as I never saw her, with a young man who is not my grandpa. Here she looks so much like my daughter that something hard catches in my throat when I look at it.

This collection of photos from parties and birthdays and outings to the beach are evidence and reminder that as much as some things have changed, others haven’t and won’t. We all start out young and beautiful, our stories full of potential, in love with our friends and our families and fun.

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

For all of us, a time will come when nothing but artifacts can tell others who we were, how we lived, what we loved.

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old photos and Facebook

Seeing these photos of my young grandma and knowing how her story will go–that while there will be lots of joy before its end,  there will also be loss:  of her looks, her health, and far too many of those she loves–I’m reminded to see and appreciate and hold all that I still have, even though  my days of youthful promise have passed, too.

If Facebook were around 80 years ago, I doubt that I’d have these photos to hold in my hand today; they’d be as lost as my ancestors’ youth. And so, while I try to figure out what to do with the motley crew of photographic treasure that has passed to me, I’m also thinking about how I can preserve the mementos I have of my own younger days and the days our kids are living now–the snapshots that might someday provide comfort and wisdom for a daughter of the young woman whose face I see so clearly in that of my teenage grandmother.

This (sorta) Old Life:  Old Photos

My grandmother–the young woman in so many of the photos in this post–with my mom, my daughter, and me.

If you’ve got any great ideas, I’d love to hear them.