Friday Fictioneers — When I Die

D991EB91-E752-4FE3-B92A-E61DDCF17F04 All that remains of you is a crate filled with faded photographs. Mostly black and white snapshots of you, dad, and us kids. I’m going to sort through them and put them all in an album.

Looking at all of those pictures of you and us, though, got me thinking. I’ve taken thousands of pictures, but they’re all digital, all stored on a hard drive on my password-protected laptop. When I die, what will become of them? Will anyone ever see them, sort through them, and put them in an album? Or will they cease to exist, just like me?

(100 words)

Written for this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Photo credit: Ted Strutz.

25 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers — When I Die

  1. Sadje October 11, 2019 / 6:56 am

    I think that too sometimes. What is the future of the collection of digital pictures we have accumulated? Good take on the Prompt


  2. Laura October 11, 2019 / 7:09 am

    This one has me thinking. I’m the keeper of the memories in our house. I think I’ll need to start printing photos for my kids and putting them into albums for when I’m gone.


    • Fandango October 11, 2019 / 9:43 am

      Every photo I’ve taken in the past decade is digital. What will become of them when I’m gone?

      Liked by 1 person

      • msjadeli October 11, 2019 / 10:47 am

        You could put them on a flash drive and take them to Walgreens, where you can go through them and print out hard copies of the ones you want to carry on. Hopefully your kids will want them. My kids don’t seem at all interested 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • msjadeli October 11, 2019 / 10:48 am

        I’m sure the govt will have a dossier of every thing you ever said, every picture you ever took, etc. In the movie, “Ready Player One” digital museums/memorials are built to individuals.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. James McEwan October 11, 2019 / 11:42 am

    Perhaps a hologram display would allow an interactive kind of photograph exchange, perhaps with speech.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Iain Kelly October 11, 2019 / 1:29 pm

    The latter, unfortunately. A minus for the modern world of technology.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Marilyn Armstrong October 11, 2019 / 6:59 pm

    Very little of our generation will remain. I think it’s going to be mainly empty plastic bottles. I can’t even find anyone to take the antiques I’ve collected. No one has room for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marleen October 12, 2019 / 12:43 pm

      My mother didn’t care about my dad’s art (3-d and 2-d) after he died. I had to stop her from giving it away or even throwing it away. I now have the sculptures in two display cases, and I have another (a life mask with colorful and gold highlights) piece I want to figure out how to frame with a light. She also has an antique kitchen table and (4) chairs — which chairs my dad stained purple an which table is sort of a picked white — that she has in the very large garage but wants to get rid of, even though the set belonged to her parents. I think I will use it as a desk.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marleen October 12, 2019 / 12:58 pm

        When my children’s grandmother on the other side died, no one cared about the art she had collected. Except me. She also had antique furniture, but I have no idea what happened to it. I appreciated her eye.

        One of my early jobs was as her assistant, or I don’t know what we should call it. I mailed packages for her and kept records. She was a top salesperson of high-quality copper items (many “practical” and some not).

        Liked by 1 person

        • Marleen October 12, 2019 / 2:27 pm

          She lived in St. Louis [but was from Oklahoma], and her other son (of only two children) looked after her (with two grown children of his own living in St. Louis as well). My children don’t live there. And there wasn’t a funeral. (She donated her body to science, then was cremated.)

          Liked by 1 person

        • Marleen October 14, 2019 / 1:24 pm

          My dad as well as these two women — grandmothers of my children — are from the prior generation; I think they’re called the silent generation. I was looking at an old photo, last night, from a Thanksgiving at the house of my own grandmother and grandfather on my mother’s side… digitally, of course.

          Looking at the plates on the dining table, I was reminded of the push my mom and her twin sister put in that their parents dispose of their old classic china and obtain new dishes. Even then, antiques were valued. But not by those two. And the new dishes weren’t special in any way, to me (they were okay enough).

          I don’t know what was wrong with them — my mom and aunt — in that sense. The best I can figure is that antiques were associated with art and hippies then. And they were anti-that. I also think they were somehow impressed with “their” own world, the times. It was an odd snippet of history.*

          * This was before the types of things women had traditionally done were considered “valuable” and before the professional interior design organizations were solidified to accredit college programs. So, one could obsess about furniture, housewares, and clothing but as a throwaway consumer. To a large extent, that’s how most of our whole society is about everything now. {And some things that women have done never made it over to value.}

          But the picture was of that grandmother surrounded by her grown young granddaughters (my closer female cousins and myself) from all three of her children. Grandma was so old (and of the thin sort) she reminded me of granny Klampet (no, she never ran around with a gun or a pickup). She sat for the memento ramrod straight with a big, genuine smile.

          As for a picture of my other grandmother, my dad had one from a professional studio in a golden frame. I asked my mom if I could have it. This is apparently something else of which she has ridded the home it adorned for decades.

          I don’t know names for the generations before the ”silent” generation. I’m guessing one was “the greatest” generation (while that seems to have been coined late). Yes, that’s borne out here: As usual, trying to pin down and describe generations gets murky. For instance, none of my grandparents were directly involved in any war [though they lived through a few]. But each of my parents’ oldest brothers were; my dad’s oldest brother, who was also of the silent generation, was drafted for the very end of WWII (and was stationed in Japan). My dad also served, yet briefly, during the Kennedy administration.

          [My mom’s oldest brother wasn’t enlisted, as far as I know. I remember his always being in war zones, but with the auspices of the likes of McDonnell Douglas.]

          Unlike the G.I.s, the Silent didn’t have to wait for a depression or war to end. A new “booming” economy was ready to join right out of school. Demographer Richard Easterlin, in his 1980 book Birth and Fortune, called them the “Lucky” or “Fortunate” generation for their great timing. Easterlin noted that a remarkable feature of the Sputnik era was how the typical young man could earn more by age 30 than the average wage for men of all ages in his profess­ion—and could certainly live better than most “retired” elders. He also noted that since the mid-1970s, the economic conditions facing young late-wave Boomers were becoming much tougher.

          As you can see, I’m a little bit attached to this topic. I’m quite sentimental. Somehow, I’m also sentimental for future generations. I want them to have a sense of history.

          My middle son recently visited from New Zealand for over half a year. He took back, with him, a framed high-quality portrait of my dad along with Dad’s “dog tags” (difficult for me to part with but worth the doing) and one of Grandpa’s jackets.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Irene October 11, 2019 / 7:07 pm

    Preservation of history and records is always an issue, because digital images might not be readable in future formats, but paper gets wet or can burn, too, so I guess it is more a question of willing care takers of the legacy of such records, regardless of format.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. leigha66 October 12, 2019 / 2:44 am

    I have several boxes FULL of pictures of extended family… I’m not sure I even know who they are, but I still want to get them on a CD to have them digitally stored. If I really get ambitious I will make a family tree album for my daughter.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. October 13, 2019 / 8:05 am

    Wow… That truly is a concept, one of which I never thought of until I read this.
    Who kow what the future will hold and how pictures will be stored later on down the road… Anything technical these days changes on a dime… Who knows how our photos will end up in the long run.
    Great thought provoking narrative.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango October 13, 2019 / 10:53 pm

      A few good suggestions have come from this. I think I may copy all my digital photos onto flash (USB) drives and give them to my kids.

      Liked by 1 person

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