Friday, December 11, 2009

Gone with the Windows

This is a picture from the Nicholson collection, although it was not in an album.

Well, a while back I wrote an essay for the Toronto Globe and Mail titled Gone with the Windows, about the ephemeral nature of digital images. I wondered if all the images being taken and posted on websites, etc. today, would last as long as pictures in the Nicholson collection.

As I write this novel, Flo in the City, about a young woman coming of age in the exciting 1908-1913 era, based on the real life of Flora Nicholson, and the letters of, I find myself re-thinking this.

I spent a good part of the day going through the old photos that I used to post Tighsolas, because, well, I had seriously misplaced them.

Some of them anyway.

These pictures spent 50 years at Tighsolas in and old trunk in Richmond and another 50 in Hudson Quebec, in the basement at my in-laws' and then I get a hold of them, spend 5 years playing around with them while posting a website and lose some of them.

Not only that I've lost of some my own family photos this way. I digitize them, then the computer the jpgs are on gets tossed and I may or may not save them on disk, but eventually, well, they are lost, too.

I don't know what the answer is to this, except to be meticulous in my archiving, which would be against my nature. Is that a good excuse or what?

Anyway, I posted this picture because, well, it's different. I had seen it floating around in the Nicholson pile of memorabilia but had lost it. Then, while I was looking for some of my own family photos, it slipped out of an album, so I digitized it and posted it here, forever, or until there's a serious solar flare.

This story Flo in the City shows that when it comes to history, some things change and some things stay the same. Apparently, women kissed on the mouth, before 1900. I know, because also among the Nicholson memorabilia I found a newspaper article insisting that this custom should end.

Funny, you never see women kissing in old movies, Westerns and such. Not in the G-rated Westerns, anyway. Anyway, I have to write that scene with Marion and Edith at home, discussing their love lives from their points of view.

Lucky, I have that diary from 1907 that is really just a dating diary. One thing that hasn't changed in 100 years, young women.