the rest of the story

One of my favorite iconic bits of broadcasting was Paul Harvey’s regular feature on the details behind famous people, their lives and choices. His wrap line, of course, was “…and now you know the rest of the story.”  (If you need a refresher, here’s a clip: 

I was reminded of those words many times this past week as my mom and I sorted through the old photos filling two large boxes and several albums. Nearly a century of images of family, friends, funerals, pets, livestock, post-blizzard snow tunnels and post-WWII Japan, where my dad was stationed. Mom’s memory is clear, and her recall of details and dates complete. Which means I got the extra-close-captioned story on people and times I knew and didn’t.

There was Tony, the two-year-old, green-broke horse my Mom rode 20-plus miles on a below-zero day to help her sister’s family during a difficult time. With that one, I learned she’d stopped in at Emeril Fenton’s farm–that’s Donny Fenton’s dad, to my southern Iowa friends–to warm up so she could ride on.

There was my Grandmother Lillie Thompson, holding my infant cousin Rick and looking not unlike the image I see in the mirror each morning–“…the last photo we have of her. She went to visit her sister in Missouri, right after that, and…”

And then there were the small asides that opened my compassion container big time. Of my folks’ Colorado  road trip with friends who had just lost their little girl, and how an unexpected sight shattered the grieving mom’s heart all over again. Of the many problems one young farmer and father was dealing with when he hung himself from a barn’s rafters. Of broken promises and painful betrayals. Of new babies arriving after earlier babies died. Backstories. Some public knowledge, others secrets kept by individuals and the people who loved them.

That insight rushed back when I saw the word-picture above online.

Something to consider on a quiet January Saturday.

In seperateness lies the world’s great misery, in compassion lies the world’s true strength.” ~Buddha


2 Responses to “the rest of the story”

  1. With a trove of history such as those boxes of photos, consider investing in a scanner (or multifunction printer) and scan those into computer files. A basic photo shop program can be used to improve many of them (fix scratches, folds, lighten underexposures, even restore some colors). Write down the stories that you and other people remember, and reference those photos in the stories. I suggest that you keep the 3 or 4 digit number your computer assigns to photos in whatever else you rename them. When the task is done, or at significant way points, burn the directory(s) to DVD and send them out to various distributed members of the family. Families grow over time and there are many who will be greatly interested in their family history. Don’t forget your county museum(s) who may be interested. Get the history distributed into several locations — not all of it on one computer, and at least one copy OFF of MAGNETIC MEDIA. Tornadoes, floods, war, house fires are destroyers of millions of family histories. Use a diversity of brands of CD & DVDs. Some formulations of optical media DO break down in a relatively few years. Store them in archival conditions if possible just as you would with fine photos. You might also want to scan in surviving letters and postcards, photo albums, and other memorabilia. Years ago a family geneologist copied (and distributed) many photo albums well enough that my kids grew up with photos of their ancestors framed and hung on the wall of the family room. She made copy negatives. Digital media is much more convenient.

  2. Thanks, Gary, for the info. I have good intentions–and a new scanner–so no excuses not to. Was caught by the elegance of long-ago letters…am thinking I might resume that tradition. C.

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