Pinning the past

Image: Find it here: http://www.latestgadgets.co.uk/www-apps/1245-history-pin-pictures-from-the-past

My grandparents kept stacks of National Geographic back issues in the basement of their house in Promise City. When I was young, I loved sneaking downstairs by myself and paging through those old magazines, relying on pictures taken by strangers to help me better understand the stories–sometimes newsworthy, sometimes not–that I heard the grownups telling.

While I was certainly captivated by the exotic images of faraway places, however, it was usually the closer-to-home photos that interested me most: Depression-era families working hard to make ends meet; anti-war protesters with long hair and peace signs; blonde co-eds on the (shockingly empty) CU Boulder campus that would one day be my temporary home.

Needless to say, I’m still a sucker for old photographs– and when my mom sent me a link to http://www.historypin.com/, my brain nearly exploded. There are some really amazing user-generated collections of astounding pictures that manage to capture the essence of both place and time, and some equally lovely captions and stories that help the photographed people and buildings and animals and events seem more real– and somehow more significant–than I thought they could.

I’ll admit it: my fascination with other peoples’ lives is probably a little excessive. I swear that my intentions are (mostly) pure; I just really like feeling as if I have access to the scrapbooks kept by thousands of stranger-neighbors that I’d love to chat with over coffee if I ever had the chance. But since I probably won’t, I’m more than grateful for the opportunity to experience the incredible histories of so many once-foreign regions that this nomadic Navy lifestyle of ours is helping to make more familiar.

You can bet I’ll do my darndest to make sure that none of our awkward family photos make it onto the site– I’m not really into giving everything away.

But if you happen to find any of your family, I’d kind of like to take a peek…:).

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