It’s raining this morning, only a few oak leaves cling to the trees and it is pretty dismal outside. I’m cheering myself up by putting photos in my 2015 album. Twenty-four years ago I started making a photo album for every year. Since then, I’ve gone back through boxes of old photos to make albums of the previous years. It is a wonderful way to retrieve the past.

Very few of the old pictures were dated. I’ve always enjoyed puzzles, reconstructing photo albums by year has been an interesting exercise in puzzle solving. Was that photo of the children taken in Montreal or Halifax? Was it 1969 or 1971? Did we camp that year at Mt Blue State Park on Webb Lake or was it Lily Bay State Park on Moosehead Lake? And does it matter? Only to me I suspect.

My family teases me, why have I lined book shelves with photo albums they wonder. In addition to yearly albums, I have others from each of my trips. I tell them that when I get really old, I will spend my days reviewing my life. They wonder why, in this era of digital photography I bother having prints made to tuck into a book. They take up space, they sit unopened from month to month but it gives me satisfaction to see them waiting, holding my life between their covers.

In fact, my albums get frequent use. It means I can date events accurately, I just have to check a couple of albums to find whether my nephew married in 1999 or 2000, I can find the year that I took Crystal and Leah to Michigan or which year Jason’s family lived in Florida. I suppose these facts aren’t really important but they keep me oriented and sometimes solve family arguments.

When I flip through an album, I see pictures from events long forgotten, a party with colleagues taken the Christmas of 1996 takes me back to that day, I remember conversations and even some of the food. I see pictures from the year my brother and his family visited, I thought they never visited came to Massachusetts. There are photos of a trip I took with Sherry in 1986, she’s been gone many years now. Family gatherings, camping trips, holidays, people and events, these books hold the history of my life and my family. I treasure them.

1956 Camping in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, my first camping trip.

1956 Camping in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, my first camping trip.

1960 Mom and Dad in front of Dad's milk truck.

1960 Mom and Dad in front of Dad’s milk truck.

1964 The kitchen stove in the first house we owned.

1964 The kitchen stove in the first house we bought.

1979 The orchard sign when we bought the farm.

1979 The orchard sign when we bought the farm.

1992 Alex's farm truck.

1992 Alex’s farm truck.