Saturday, August 13, 2011


For my birthday, Amanda Johnston and Allison Sigrist sent me a chunk o'cash, mutiples of my age. These woman already give me $ each month right before rent is due. I was going to use it to pay my phone bill, but then I stopped to think about what these women mean to me, individually and as a couple. Among countless other important realities about who they are and what they do, it was Amanda who introduced me to the internet back in 1995 and trained me to have an online presence. Her marriage to Allison helped spark the writing of Ginny Bates. And their visit last November launched not only the research of Allison's family (i.e., Lavinia) but also Stoundmeal.

So I decided to spend the gift on something other than grim necessity. I could hear each of them in my head saying "Yes!" Consequently, I now have a combo scanner/printer/copier that networks with my new laptop, including the ability to scan from slides and negatives.

During the 1980s, at the height of my genealogical travels, everywhere I went I asked folks I visited if I could copy their family photos. I had a camera with a special lens and stand that made this easy. Most of these photographs were in danger of being lost and did not exist elsewhere, certainly not in negative form. I also photographed places and gravestones, keeping detailed notes. I have hundreds of these negatives safely stored in labeled sleeves.

I was also inspired by JEB, Lynda Koolish, Cathy Cade, Tee Corinne, and many others during the 1970s to document my own life and community. I have dozens of albums stuffed with photographs of the wimmin and events I knew. Few of them have ever been scanned.

So, my goal for the next couple of months is to render all these images to a digital format that can be easily shared and reliably preserved. It's a monumental project, something I think of as part of the heritage I want to leave behind. I will post later on the question of privacy and distribution, asking for your feedback.

This weekend I have embarked on the oldest images, family going back to the first advent of photography. As I scan, I am definitively identifying each photo, running it through editing, and posting it at my online genealogical tree -- instant sharing. I will share a few of these in future posts with stories attached as I write them.

And it frees me up for the brave new world I have embarked on with Margot.

For now, the photo above shows me at age 9 (on the left) with my cousin Sally and little brother Bill in Dilley, Texas, December 1964. This is in our dining room, which was also my only space in the house. I was being abused by Craig though not quite sexually yet. I had just written my first poem and found out I was a lesbian. Sally is my cousin, Mama's sister's (Aunt Sarah) younger daughter, 4 months apart from me in age. The stuffed lion was called Leo. We are sitting on my bed.

No comments: