Or "Rednecks, Granpa in a Dress? And Protecting your Prizes"
by Uncle Hiram
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION
We are in the process of moving (Still) and emptying out the closets and storerooms. I will admit most of the stuff we have “Found” in our storage was junk. Beat up old toy trucks (mine), old Prom Dresses (The Blondes), stuffed animals (the Blondettes), a half a case of Billy Beer (Don’t ask) and a forgotten treasure.
About 10 years ago when I moved back to Texas (after a two year exile in the desert) my mother went through her boxes of photos and pulled out some for us. At the time I was about as interested in old family photo’s as I am in Disco music. So I thanked her and stuffed the box in storage and forgot all about it.
When I came across them last week, to be honest I was more excited than an Arkansas lawyer at a traffic accident. I started rummaging through the box, praising Grandma Zonia for writing names and dates on the back of the photos. I found photo’s of my Great Grandparents all dressed up like they were going to the Governor’s ball and photo’s of my Granpa when he was about 2 in what I swear looks like a dress.
My sweet Blonde noticed what I was doing and said “Babe, I know you wanna sit there and go through those photo’s for the rest of the night but you are forgetting 3 things.”
“What’s that?” I replied.
“1. Them are old photos, you told me the safest way to deal with them is to have them put on a Photo CD. Then you can look at copies while the originals are protected. 2. You are sittin in the middle of an unairconditioned storage shed and 3. We are moving if you don’t get busy I’m gonna make you wish you had.”
Needless to say I quickly got back to work. The next day I went by my favorite photo shop and spent some time explaining to the owner what I wanted him to do with the photo’s. I want to take a moment here and talk to yall about the need to find a good photo shop. Kmart, Wal-Mart or the Drug store is fine for developing cemetery photos. But when it comes to making copies of 50 to 100 year old photos’ you want to go find a talented professional.
Let me tell yall how I weeded the various stores in the Dallas area down to the one I now trust with my irreplaceable photo’s. I took a photo that was over 30 years old, but one that I had extra copies of and had a couple of different good shops make copies of it. I then took the copies and picked out the best three and eliminated the other shops. I then took an old beaten up water damaged photo and went back to the three best shops and had them work on it. Again, just to point out the obvious I used a photo I didn’t mind losing. When I got the photo’s back I let my family pick out the best one of the three.
Using this method cost me a little extra money but now I had a photo shop that I could trust with my irreplaceable photo’s. The next step I took was to investigate ways to protect the originals themselves. After talking to a few people I came up with a solution that was a compromise between perfect protection and financial reality. I went down to the local comic book store (Which in my case is 65 miles away in Dallas), bought a package of acid free silver age comic backing boards (100 boards for $10), a package of silver age comic protectors (100 bags for $5), once comic box ($3.50) and a roll of scotch tape ($1). Total investment $19.50 plus tax.
I then took a ¼ inch strip of the tape and made it into a loop, sticky side out and affixed it to the center of the back of the photo. After carefully copying everything written on the back of the photo onto the backing board, I attached the photo to the board. The reason for using a loop of tape is so that if I ever need to remove the photo I can slip a knife under it and slice the tape without damaging the photo. I then slipped the backing board inside one of the protectors and sealed it with another strip of tape. I repeated this process with the rest of the photos. I then took the stacks (Which were all now protected from air and the exact same size) and placed them in the comic box. Each comic box can hold up to 500 photos protected this way.
Well here we are at the end of another one of our little visits, see y'all next week.
- Adios and Keep Smiling!
- Bill Hocutt (Uncle Hiram)