I sorted through endless stacks of my grandparents photographs and made piles for each family member.
Though we intend to keep their house and continue to use it as a family gathering place, we removed what we knew we wanted to protect from theft or vandalization while the house stands empty.
In addition to pictures of family members, their photo collection contained hundreds of pictures of places, endless scenes without accompanying stories.
They loved traveling and my grandfather was an avid photographer.
Where and when were my grandparent's scenery pictures taken? What was their significance?
I stared at photo after photo wondering.
I found three striking pictures of a trip to England with only place names written on the backs.
Why did he feel compelled to capture this lonely, desolate shot?
Were these photographs from the 1960's business trip my grandfather used to talk about?
I remember him telling me that he visited a bar in Liverpool to listen to live music, but left early because his colleague said that the next band was awful.
He missed his chance to see The Beatles that night.
Some of my grandparent's photos had nothing more than a year written on the back.
Where had they been or where were they going?
More importantly, what were they thinking?
What pieces of their lives have I missed?
Last night I opened my own box of random photos -- the kind that aren't album worthy -- and began recording names, places and years on their backs.
I believe in the power of stories.
Stories change the way I think and shape the way I understand myself and the world.
Stories passed down from family give me context and identity.
I don't think I can record enough though.
How do I know which stories are the important ones to tell?
When I am gone, I imagine my children or grandchildren will sort through my box of photos.
Just as mine is now, I see another face turned up to the sky calling,
"Wait! Come back! I have so many more questions!!"