Friday, March 17, 2000    


"What do you mean I can't use Scotch Tape?"--Confessions of a Scrapbooker

By:Carmen P.

I've known that I have a lousy memory for a very, very long time. This flaw makes for many uncomfortable moments, like the time I saw (I thought) a friend of mine whom I had known since we were in fifth grade...
"Peter! It's so good to see you!"
"I'm not Peter, I'm his older brother, Greg. Tell me again how close you two were?"
"Oh boy."

Obviously, this is not a genetic problem. My sister has photographs from when she was in nursery school, and she can remember the names of each of the little ankle-biters in each picture; whereas I can't remember the name of someone I've been introduced to five minutes later!

I realized this apparent lack of memory brain cells when I was in college. That's when I started scrapbooking--I wanted to preserve whatever memories I had in case they weren't around tomorrow. Those grey cells just kept losing ground! So, I picked up this terrific new hobby. Scrapbooking was a wonderful diversion whenever I needed a break. I buried myself in the work, and the results were marvelous. However....

I bought top of the line magnetic photo albums (first mistake), decorated every page with lovely stickers (what's acid free?), and journaled on pieces of paper that I taped to each page (scotch tape! AAUGH!).

Fast forward to 1998. I opened up an album I had completed in 1983, 15 years before. Imagine the shock, the screams, the horror! (You know what's coming up!) What did I find but... yellowing pages, faded photos, damaged memorabilia! All that work, all ruined because the materials at the time weren't archival! I sobbed, I ranted, I raved.

I called the company and threatened them with severe pain and anguish.
"We'll be happy to replace the albums," they said.
"With what?" I replied.
"With the same item, of course," they said.
Yeah, right. Like I want to be doing the albums all over again in another fifteen years?

So, I went back to the drawing board. I researched, I read, I surfed the net. And then I ripped apart (oh, how painful!) those once-beautiful albums. Some pictures wouldn't come off the pages at all, so I had to cut the pages up. Some photos were faded out, and I no longer had the negatives. All my stickers were, well, stuck, and I couldn't reuse them. But I toughed it out, and started over.

Now, hours of work (again!) later, I have wonderful scrapbooks. But this time, I know I won't be crying fifteen years from now. My supplies were acid-free, lignin-free, EVERYTHING free! My scrapbooks are photo-safe and archival quality. I know that my children and my grandchildren will be enjoying these photographs for years to come. And with two growing rugrats, I have to make sure that their memories are as carefully preserved as mine.

Scrapbooking? It's a way to make you...immortal, if you will. Memories preserved for generations. It's wonderful, and I love it.

Tomorrow at dMarie Daily: My Scrapbook, by Mindy D.

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