Just the other day I was pushing the "video" button on my so-called smart phone. As the camera opened up, that dreaded error message popped up as well.
There was not enough storage space on the phone's internal hard drive to shoot the video. At this moment, I do not remember what it was I wanted video of. I do not remember what precious moment I wanted to capture for all eternity.
What I remember is thinking I needed to burn a disc with photos and start deleting from the phone. A couple days later, I preformed another photo download to my computer and then burned that disc. My wife has since absconded with it, so I know not where it is. That is a pretty normal thing in my house. Turn my head while making breakfast, and I will have to start looking in the dish strainer for the spatula. It's why I seem to expect my wife to be an encyclopedia of everything in our house and all of our possessions. But I digress.
After making that copy of thousands of photos archived on my computer, all downloaded from the phone, it was time for a little cleaning.
I started to scroll through, figuring I could get rid of a few hundred pretty easily.
Nope. Not easy. I found dozens and dozens of selfies of me with my children. I couldn't really remember taking them. I could not remember why I had pointed the camera on our faces to capture the moment. Maybe that's due to earlyheimers, or maybe it is due to taking too many selfies. Who knows.
I kept scrolling, thinking I could probably delete every other photo pretty easily. Not hardly. Photos from a vacation picnic at Laura Ingalls Wilder's birthplace. Feeding hogs on the cousins farm. Riding the trains at "Day Out With Thomas." Riding barrel trains and playing in the corn at Papa's Pumpkin Patch near Goessel. A trip to an apple orchard near Whitewater.
Some selfies, like from the Daddy/Daughter date at Disney on Ice and the daddy/son day at Marvel Universe Live just had to stay on the phone.
Photos of trains (yeah, I am a train geek. I live in a great town for that!) went away, no matter how rare the paint scheme of the locomotive captured. I did have a back up, after all.
Hundreds and hundreds of photos, each with memories. I gleefully deleted the photos of my leg in a cast, as that is something best not remembered.
When I was all done deleting photos I had made a little space on the phone. Not nearly as much as I would have liked. I did, however, enjoy a trip down memory lane as I scrolled through all those images.
I waxed poetic in my mind as I saw a few. I talked openly with my children about their great-grandmother they did not get to meet as I watched a video of my cousin playing piano after her funeral a few years back. My daughter, bless her heart, told me how much she wants to meet my grandmother when she gets to heaven. She does, after all, have grandma's bed frame in her room and we eat family dinners around grandma's table.
My daughter has met her other great-grandma on my side of the family. Great-grandma Frey lives here in Newton. I do not get over to see her often enough, nor do my kids, but she is here in her 99th year on this planet. When she came, she was the fourth generation to live here.
Memories. Lots of them. Some of them documented by photos on my phone.
Thursday was another one of those memory days — the first day of school. I watched as parents took photos of their kiddos headed off for the school day. When I returned to the office after seeing that, and sending my own kiddos off to school, in my social media feed was another one of those photos. A year ago, when my daughter started kindergarten.
I went and found my son's first day of kindergarten as well.
Memories. As my head fills with more and more of them, it seems harder to remember each. Thank goodness I have an archive aide in my pocket every day.
— Chad Frey is the managing editor of the Newton Kansan. He lives in Newton with his wife and three children.