I’m progressing through the scrapbook album I am making for my daughter and granddaughter, even to the point of boldly gluing — with repositionable glue — photos and captions onto expensive paper. I’ve decided that since I am a no-frills person, I’m going to make this, my first and only scrapbook, a no-frills album. I am more interested in the content, which is original photos and accompanying information, than I am in making quaintly elegant pages with all sorts of decorations that compete with the actual contents. I have learned that this is heresy for some scrapbookers, but I am who I am, and I am a chronicler, not a lace-and-quilts glue stick jockey.
Actually, the experience of making this book has been edifying and very happy. I’ve learned that photos may sometimes belie memories, and this can be a very good thing. I see loving interactions in our family of origin that I had forgotten and displaced with unhappier memories. I’ve also learned that there should probably be a national database of persons to whom it should be a felony to sell a glue stick.
I had concerns about how the content would flow, but themes readily revealed and sequenced themselves. It was as if each picture were a puzzle piece but all the pieces immediately fell into place to cohere in an overall picture that told the whole story. The layout unfolded intuitively. Now I’m down to gluing and writing captions.
Providentially, the photos I ultimately determined were indispensable fit exactly the number of pages that came with the standard book. Originally I thought that the book would have just eight pages, but it actually has 10 page pockets, and each holds a page with contents on front and back, so my book will have 20 pages. Perhaps the most amazing thing I have learned is that in a 20-page book of quintessential family photos, one picture of my inimitable Covenant Cat is sufficient. This was a truly remarkable discovery, since he dominates all the other photo albums of the last 13 years.
Another important lesson this far into the project is impressed on my mind, and on my fingers and clothing, and on the surface of my desk, and in little splotches on the book’s plastic page pockets: I hate glue.