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These pages are a collection of stories from the Writer's Group at Box Hill U3A.



SNAPSHOTS

When leaving home in an emergency the first thing everyone reaches for is the photograph album. We all treasure those precious memories of times past and experience great pleasure in reminiscing. First baby photos are so special, capturing those moments at the beginning of life's journey, followed by memorable milestones along the way. "Did I really look like that?" "Isn't she like her father!"

Preparing to move to another house, especially a smaller one, is a bit like looking through a photo album. Hesitantly I begin delving into cupboards and drawers determined to make a ruthless cull. Before long good intentions are put aside as I uncover things that haven't seen the light of day for many a moon. "I'd completely forgotten that" "My mother embroidered that tablecloth before she was married. I can't throw that out." "I really loved that tea-cosy, but it will have to go.Its too big for my teapot." " I brought those table mats back from Bali. I can't imagine why I ever bought them. Yes they can go." Then there is that bag of really old lace that belonged to my mother-in-law in the days when she made all the underwear and nightwear for her trousseau. "I must see if our girls want to keep it".

Then I move to the bookshelves where the collection calls out. "Keep me". How difficult it is to choose. Unfortunately some will have to go. I console myself with the thought that I'm giving someone else the opportunity to love these books. That's a good thought. Several hours later I emerge thinking "I might go through the box again tomorrow".

One Sunday afternoon I uncovered my scrapbook. I had forgotten it existed. Begun in my mid twenties it covered the decade before our children were born when surprisingly my life became more domestic. I did continue making entries when the children were older. Wow! So many memories! A very special letter from my Dad after the family had waved me goodbye at Station Pier aboard the P& O liner "Stratheden". It brought tears to my eyes when I re-read it. There were other letters from people who were special to me along life's journey, fascinating snippets from newspapers, obituaries and reminders of so much of my past. "I can't possibly throw all this out." I look forward to having more time to read it and reflect.

A lifetime collection of photos stored in albums and boxes are definitely in the too hard basket. "I can't make decisions on these precious memories right now. Into a bigger box they all must go." I wonder how families will deal with photos in the future now that the digital age has come. Photos, photos everywhere, but scarcely a hard copy for anyone to actually look at.

Our elder daughter, her husband and three boys have been living in California for the past 5 years. It became obvious at the end of 2012 that they wanted to return home to Melbourne, but the financial mountain was too steep to climb and it seemed that they were stuck. Barry and I decided to make our house available to them and we would move to something smaller. In many ways it seemed that the time was right for us to make this move. We are not big movers, having moved only once before in 43 years. Nevertheless we set about the task of finding a new home. This new stage in our journey has been accompanied with a great feeling of satisfaction that we would be instrumental in helping our family to come home. It has been somewhat easier not having the emotional trauma of selling our home and downsizing at the same time.

The time frame for all this has been interesting. We thought we would have a year to eighteen months but earlier this year the family said they wanted to come earlier which was very exciting. They arrived a fortnight ago and we are all in together before we move in another fortnight. Our ears are becoming tuned to the delightful American accents of our three grandsons. The twelve year old is particularly delighted to be back in Australia.

Margaret Dimelow