Monday, August 2, 2010

Madness Monday: Where are the photos?

After my grandparents passed away my mom and her four siblings were left in charge of cleaning my grandparents' house...deciding which items were worth saving, selling, giving away, and trashing.

I was only in 7th grade at the time, but I remember getting my grandma's gold chain with a gold "M" initial, as I was the only one in the family with an "M" name, and a white stuffed bear my grandma kept in her spare bedroom.  I also remember a lot of fighting over who gets what item.

Other items were split between my mom and her siblings.  Some of the more valuable items, like my grandparent's record collection containing Frank Sinatra and other 50's and 60's music stars were given to my uncle for safe keeping and eventual selling.  My mom received my grandma's Precious Moments navity set, and my aunt received the remaining Precious Moments statues that my grandma had collected.  Christmas decorations (a BIG deal in my family), jewelry, pots and pans, and other items were split between each sibling.  Each of the siblings also received their baby books that grandma had put together for them when they were born.  But what happened to the rest of the family photos?!

No one inquired about the photos until I did, almost twelve years after my grandparents' deaths.  My mom and her siblings had planned on going through the photos and splitting up the photos between the five of them.  Somehow, life got in the way and the pictures were never looked at, and they forgot who received the photos for safe keeping.  (So safe they can't even find them....)

My aunt, the oldest, thought she had the photos, but after going through her attic, basement, and spare bedroom determined she didn't have them.  My mom and I searched the basement, crawl space, and picture boxes and albums and couldn't find them.  My uncle in Florida didn't have them, and my mom's other sister didn't have them.  So that leaves, my other uncle, who we *hope* has them.

The unfortunate thing is I seem to be the only person interested in finding the photos.

With digital technology available, I offered to scan the photos and make a CD for each sibling, so they wouldn't have to "split up the pictures".  But....that requires my aunts and uncles to find the photos.

Other than a few emails, reminders, and phone calls, I don't know how to find these pictures.  I can't search their houses for the pictures, and I haven't quite sparked their interest in finding the pictures.  The pictures are supposed to include pictures of both my grandparents as children and their respective families.  Pictures of family members I have never seen.  

Any suggestions?!


  1. Holy cow! I would be hounding them day and night until someone turned up with those photos! I hope someone has them. My great grandmother decided no one needed her photos and tore them up while standing in the alley over the garbage and tossed them before she died. And she was buried with the family bible. Nice. Didn't she know I would want that stuff? LOL!

    I'll send good photo finding vibes your way. Let me know if you needed any other DC's this week before I head down south.

  2. I agree with Jen. Drive your aunts and uncles crazy until the pictures have been found. I know that you have heard the old adage about the squeaky wheel. Get the pictures before there is no one knows who is in the pictures.
    We have many old pictures that we have no idea who the people are. It is so sad to have pictures and know it is family, but have no idea of who you are looking.

  3. How aggravating - and this kind of thing is not an isolated case. I agree with the above - work on those aunts and uncle - and good luck!

  4. Depending on how close to your relatives you are physically (and emotionally) perhaps you could offer to help them? Sometimes older folks just don't have the energy to search for something they're not interested in. On the other hand, some folks wouldn't like having others going through their things unless they're right there beside you.

    I have a similar but different problem. When we cleaned out my mother's house, she had a box with her journals in it. They were just spiral notebooks, but she'd been writing in them for years. My car was packed full and one of my sibs agreed to take the journals until the next weekend when I came back for the next round of sorting. When I arrived the next weekend, the journals were gone -- and no one seemed to have any memory of them. I still feel so sad to have many years of my mom's thoughts and memories disappear without a trace.

    I hope you're able to track down the photos. They would be so precious!

  5. Oh, Melissa, I wish I had the perfect words to share with you to get those photos! In my case my ex sister in law took my FIL photos and they were ruined in a flood in her basement. On my maternal side most of our family photos were left outside underneath a mobile home and were ruined by one of my aunts. Why can't people understand how important they are?!?!? Good luck and please let us know how it turns out.