Today’s Happenings are Tomorrow’s Memories

The importance of saving the stories that go with the photos

By Kurt Rump

What’s happening?  

We talk a lot about photos, heirlooms, and artifacts from the past, I know. And sometimes we all lose sight of a rather important fact. 

Today is tomorrow’s past. 

Whoa. That seemed deep, didn’t it? Bear with me here… 

The neighbors went off to Colorado with their two kids, climbed some mountains, did some hiking, ate some good food, camped out, and had a wonderful time. I know because they posted pictures of their adventure to their Facebook for all of their friends to see. 

And I wondered… how will their kids ever find those photos when they’re grown up and want to remember this wonderful vacation?  

Maybe they’re being sent off to a photo book place to make “The Great Colorado Trip of 2021” book. Okay – but that’s one book. Will they print 3 books, for when the kids are grown and off into their own homes (and one to stay with Mom and Dad, of course)? 

But what will happen to the stories that go with the photos? 

The picture of Madison “sledding” down a sand dune – but right after that she stepped in a hole and twisted her ankle, and Mom was handy with a wrap and an improvised ice pack. Or when Lily got tired and Mom had to carry her up the last hill to the night’s campsite (she’s 5). That’s a lot of captioning for pictures in a photo book. 

Or how wonderful that ice cream tasted after a day of playing in a stream. Or how Madison felt after she caught that big fish in the picture? Or how Dad almost fell out of the boat trying to net the d@#* thing! 

Posting the photos to Facebook gets a lot of great commentary from friends and family – and it all disappears after a while, and you find yourself hoping that Facebook keeps their “Memories” function going so you can remember to re-live the pics each year. But of course, there are no guarantees that they will do that…  

And it’s impractical to create a photo book for every event, and budget-killing to try to create one for each person who might want to re-live those memories at some point in the future, right? 

What’s on your camera roll right now?  

Have you discovered a green thumb you didn’t know you had, and you planted (and photographed) a wonderful garden? Did you learn to make sourdough bread and proudly post your sourdough victory to your Facebook feed?  

Maybe you started working your way through Grandma’s recipe cards, learning to cook her specialties and reveling in the memories from when SHE used to make that treat. Or perhaps you took a photo of that faded, handwritten recipe card and shared it with a family member who wanted to recreate a tasty treat from his or her childhood. 

What are your plans for the rest of this year? Will you be attending a family reunion? Enjoying a family cookout? Heading off to explore a new place? Staying home and painting the living room? Celebrating birthdays or opening holiday gifts? 

Whatever your plans, you’ll probably take a picture or two (or two hundred!).  

Today is tomorrow’s past. More specifically, the happenings of today are the memories and the stories you’ll want to capture for the future. 

I had a brief but eye-opening conversation with a friend a while back. He and his wife had visited Germany a year earlier – a trip that was motivated by a deep appreciation for history. They had taken a gazillion photographs and shared some of their favorites with a group of us shortly after their return. But here we were a year later, and he casually mentioned that he and his wife had been revisiting their trip pictures. Then he said, “You know, in many ways it’s more enjoyable to look at those photos after a year has gone by than it was immediately after getting home.”  


That’s why you capture special moments. It’s like Dr. Suess said, “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.” 

Do yourself (and those you love) a favor. After you’ve posted some favorite photos to Facebook to let your friends know what you’ve been up to, take a minute to also drop them someplace where you can revisit them later. Ideally, a place where those who shared the moments with you can also revisit them… and they can record their memories alongside yours.  

Tomorrow’s history is happening today. Capture it.  

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