Sunday, June 5, 2022



Long before the advent of cell phones, with their come-as-standard HD cameras, previous generations ran around with small cameras. Back then, we inserted cylinders of film into the rear of a Kodak camera, clicked the door shut, then slid the film forward to be ready to take that first picture. If my memory serves me, the camera film came in 12, 24, and 36 exposures which had to be mailed to a picture developer or taken to a one-hour photo shop. Then we waited. Perhaps an hour or even a week. We waited to see if our snapshots of moments in our lives would live forever in a permanent photograph.

Now we possess the means to capture those moments instantaneously. We can see them immediately, edit them, add effects, or even delete the unwanted. Perhaps someone wasn't smiling, another person had his eyes closed, or maybe the picture wasn't capturing the moment as we wanted to remember it. We stick a thin half-inch memory disk into the cell phone, so we can possess an insurmountable number of pictures. We have so many pictures that our moments seem to blur into a never-ending collage in which many of the moments lose their meaning in an impersonal collection of snapshots.

As I have grown older, I have discovered that I possess more pictures than I can view in a day. They are scattered everywhere: on my phone, in Google Photos, in my albums at CVS photo, and even on photo paper mounted in scrapbooks, placed in frames, and stuck with Mavalus tape to the dry-erase board in the back of my classroom.

Mavalus tape. I am fighting autocorrect's desire to change "Mavalus" to "marvelous." I added the word to my dictionary because something about Mavalus tape makes it worth my extra effort. Betsy, my down-the-hall teacher pal, told me about this incredible tape that must have been created with teachers in mind. Principals and custodians nag teachers about using tape on walls as it pulls off paint when you attempt to remove a poster or picture. Mavalus tape has a unique bonding material that leaves little if no residue. Glorious and literally marvelous!

At the beginning of the school year, I shared a year-long theme with the seniors sitting in my classes. Last summer, I came across this marketing campaign called Live a Great Story. I wrote about it in my blog back in August. I brought the massive Live a Great Story flag to school, where I mounted it across the back dry-erase board. Throughout the year, we listened to other people's stories, reflected on our own, and considered how every day is simply another part of a bigger story we are writing ourselves. 

Many diverse stories filled the spaces of the board. Some people were at the beginning of a chapter while others presented a closing chapter. As August moved into the fall, November became winter, and April gave way to spring, I would place snapshots of the entire class, groups of people involved in sports or service projects, couples smiling at dances, and individuals in their own unique moments. Everyone discovered themselves there, individuals as part of a larger familial community.

Last Friday, I was valiantly attempting to clean out my room. I saved taking down the Live a Great Story board and its snapshots for as long as possible. I listened to the Goo Goo Dolls as I pulled each snapshot off the board, looked at it, and placed it either in the discard pile or the save-for-later pile. Removing each one was difficult as I possess fond memories of each picture I had attached to the board with the Mavalus tape throughout the past nine months. 

I swiped my hand across the board to feel for residue from the tape. There was none. The board was smooth and clean. I chuckled because many of my students would make fun of me for looking for deeper meaning as I stared at an empty board with no sticky remains from the pictures that once adorned it. 

In one sense, I am glad that the Mavalus tape worked so well and did not ruin the board. Conversely, I find comfort that memories are not like this. We can literally take the snapshots off our walls, inadvertently delete them from our phones, and declutter by putting them in our discard piles. However, people in our lives always leave bits and pieces of themselves behind which will continue to remain even as we find more snapshots to place atop them. 

I never finished cleaning my room Friday, but I did manage to fold the black Live a Great Story flag to use again next year. 

Congratulations to the CCHS Class of 2022!

If you have not already checked out my new Etsy store, please look. 
I will continue to add unique products related to my books, blog, and podcast.

No comments:

Post a Comment