Tearing up Albums

Elisheva Brauner

In the midst of a family gathering, I find my grandfather cutting up photo albums.

I am aghast. To me and my father, photo albums are considered almost sacrosanct. But my grandfather is forward-thinking, pragmatic, practical. He has long gone paperless when it comes to bills. “Why do I need four copies of pictures that are identical aside from a scrunched nose?” People, he explains, are more likely to look at the pictures if there aren’t so many albums piled up. And so he is curating pictures and consolidating albums. There are probably plans to scan his final product and put it online.

“Look at this.” Here is a stiff-stern looking family portrait from generations earlier. Here is his grandfather, and I can see the family resemblance. Here are his mother and aunt enjoying the beach.

Here is the defiant-looking “black sheep” of his cousins, who had been sent back from Canada, ultimately to die in the death camps of Europe.

And then there are the more “recent” pictures of my grandfather and his generation – and the resemblances to the current grandchildren were uncanny.

“What are you up to?” My cousin, curious, takes a look.

And here we are in the present — next to the wall with my wedding picture beside those of my parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and great-grandparents — looking at old mementos and transmitting memories before they are swept away with time.


© Elisheva Brauner, 2018, All rights reserved.

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