A couple of years ago I had the sad task of emptying and selling my elderly dad’s four-bedroom house as following a fall he’d had to move into a care home. As well as having to sort his own possessions there was the task of processing the things which he’d inherited from his parents (my grandparents) which were still stacked up in boxes in his home office although they’d died years ago.
As well as the dozens of packets of photos there were hundreds of individual slides. They reminded me of tedious evenings as a child when we’d be ushered into a darkened room and be expected to be enthralled by the images of someone’s first foreign holiday projected onto the wall, so I wasn’t in any rush to retrieve them from the storage unit where they’ve been living since I’d cleared the house.
But we are working to gradually clear the storage unit after a visit this autumn I bought a box of slides home to work out what to do with. Without even having anything to view them on I set aside five minutes to give the slides a cursory glance but half an hour later sensed I’d uncovered some forgotten gems.
So, just by holding them up to the light, I whittled 800 slides down to 200. I then sent them to photosos.co.uk who converted the slides into digital images which they returned to me on a memory stick.
It was wonderful to view the images full screen on my computer. Some of them hadn’t been seen for at least 60 years. I’d been shown lots of cute baby photos of my dad but here were wonderful images of his teenage life and young adulthood, then his time as a young dad.
I could relate to the shots as in some he would have been the same age as my daughter is now, then I saw him flourish into a rather handsome man and I could see him experiencing the joy of fatherhood.
One image of my teenage dad laughing on the beach in his swimming trunks, looking so fit and full of life in the fresh air, made me cry as I thought of my dad now hobbling around with a walking frame and spending most of his time in his bedroom.
I used blurb.co.uk, which is very user friendly, to transform the digital images into a beautiful hardback book which I intend to give my dad for Christmas.
Just by taking time out and making a little bit of effort I’ve rescued these wonderful memories and hopefully created a Christmas present for my dad which will mean so much more to him than socks or hankies.
The shots are all the more poignant as now he’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s he’s in the final chapter of his life. I’m looking forward to hearing him sharing his stories which lay within the pages of The Lost Slides.