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The way things never were

It has been fun looking through old photo albums lately, remembering things the way they never were. Everyone is shiny and new and unbroken. Look, there’s Bob before he succumbed to soul-darkening depression! He looks so happy! And there are my parents, hugging each other in front of the dogwood tree. They’re not divorced after all! Oh, and look how cute and skinny I am at four years old before I ever discovered my compulsive eating problem!

It is kind of sad knowing these people’s futures, almost as sad as looking at what they’re wearing. Wow, a poncho. Really? But it can be happy too. Look, there’s Uncle Terry before he met his wife and made his beautiful babies. He’s got good times to look forward to. And there is Aunt Kelly the day she found out she had uterine cancer. She’ll be happy to find out they get it all during the hysterectomy. I wish I could tell Aunt Karen she will be so much happier after she divorces that man.

So many pictures. So many ways to remember the past. Take a picture today and remember it the way you want to.

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23 Comments

BrightAngel • December 23, 2008 at 7:46 am

Great Entry. Made me think.

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Jill • December 23, 2008 at 8:23 am

Wow.

It’s so tragic, and at the same time hopeful.

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tutugirl1345 • December 23, 2008 at 9:45 am

This makes me think of the book “Time of My Life”

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Carrie • December 23, 2008 at 9:53 am

Awesome entry. I read your book and then became a fan of your blog. I’m actually going for laser surgery today to remove some acne scars on my face. I’m not one who has ever done this before, and I’m not sure if I’ll do it again, but I figure I would try it one time. (I’m also not made of money!) I’m really trying to focus on me this year with weight loss and now this laser surgery thing. Enough rambling. Thanks for the entry, it made me think!

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Quix • December 23, 2008 at 10:24 am

I love looking through old albums too – in fact one thing I want to do over Christmas is scan some old photos. Though I’m not sure I really want all those horrible 80s and 90s clothes and hairdos preserved on the internet…

But as time goes by, it’s easy to put a captured moment in time into perspective. I wish I could go back to some of those past me’s and tell her she’d be ok, but I think somehow, she knew that.

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Mrs Lard • December 23, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Spooky. I have just started looking back at photos for this year (taking them off my laptop and putting them onto my desktop). And I thought, wow, this year hasn’t been ALL bad yet that is what I have been telling myself, certainly since October.

Great post. Very thought provoking.

Wishing you a lovely seasonal break.

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terryocean • December 23, 2008 at 3:47 pm

This was a wonderful post, I never thought of looking at pictures that way. Very nice!

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Jason • December 23, 2008 at 4:07 pm

Oh yes, I know about looking back at pics. the way your talking about. The good thing is that since I lost 130lbs, I can actually look back and think, “Wow, I sure am glad things are better nowdays.”

That is a good feeling. Not nearly as good as if feels to be that much lighter, but it does feel good.

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s • December 23, 2008 at 6:08 pm

wow … thanks for that.

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Lyn • December 23, 2008 at 6:09 pm

It’s very true. I look at pictures of me at 21 holding my new baby and think, wow. She had no idea she would have four more babies… and gain 138 pounds! If I had known… wow.

And please tell your loved ones that you love them, because you never know which picture is going to be the last one. I wish when I got married I had known my father was going to pass away just a month later. I would have spent more time with him.

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KIm • December 23, 2008 at 6:23 pm

I never thought to look at pics that way. I can’t wait to pull out my albums and think

of them a whole new way. (I am, however, used to thinking about the clothes! )

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Amie • December 23, 2008 at 8:22 pm

I think looking at pictures is always bittersweet. Some things never change, and others are totally different than I thought they would be/should have been. But, I always enjoy it. It’s especially entertaining sitting with others who know the people/situations that have been photographed…lots of fun and interesting stories can come out of photo albums!

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jdm • December 24, 2008 at 12:16 am

Lovely entry. Since I lost my second parent (my mother) nearly three years ago, I find myself both very attached to and very saddened by old photographs. My parents, whom I will never see again, young and beautiful as I never knew them. The home I can never return to. So much of my life is now a legend.

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100 DAYS IN BED • December 24, 2008 at 3:04 am

Love this. I look at Facebook photos from college and I marvel that we have no idea the pain and heart ache we’re going to go through. Sure, we all survived, but we might have held each other a little closer had we know.

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April • December 24, 2008 at 6:40 am

I think this is my favorite blog of yours ever. I love this. It is a bit melancholy, but there’s so much truth in it. No fake Christmas cheer. Those blogs that cut to the truth, the ones that touch people’s hearts with their truth, even if it hurts, those are always the best blogs. You know, you could write another book with this! I bought your other one, of course. But never got to read it. Sad story that i won’t bore you with! Hopefully I’ll eventually get the book, it’s been held hostage since August! I am a constant reader and fan! Hope your holidays are joyous. And keep writing! ~april

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Lynn • December 24, 2008 at 7:47 am

I’ll never look at my photo albums the same. Very thought provoking. Thank you.

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roxie • December 24, 2008 at 8:39 am

J,

Very nice entry. I wish you peace for the holidays.

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Shelley • December 24, 2008 at 9:33 am

Wow. Your post makes me want to pull out all of my old photo albums and look at them with new eyes.

Merry Christmas!

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Karen • December 24, 2008 at 1:02 pm

This post brought tears to my eyes. How very true. Life sure is a crazy and wonderful thing. Merry Christmas to you!!

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MB • December 24, 2008 at 2:39 pm

I’m a photographer so I take a ton of pictures but when the lens is pointing in my direction I tend to run away.

That is one of the bad things about being fat – there aren’t many pictures to look back on and the ones I have make me cringe.

I’m going to schedule a photo session for myself when I reach my goal in ’09.

Take lots of pictures and enjoy the memories you make.

Merry Merry! Happy Happy!

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RG • December 24, 2008 at 7:01 pm

Yeah, I often see pictures and think “I wonder what’s really going on underneath”. Sometimes the seemingly happy family, really is. Sometimes you can see the rifts, the body language in the pictures will reveal the problems. The person who’s poking their head on the side or hiding in the back. A fake smile or a natural one.

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Frederique • December 26, 2008 at 11:24 am

A few days ago, I was going through old photo albums myself, looking at photos of my family when I was little, before my dad died, seeing how happy we are and thinking to myself “gosh, we have no idea what’s coming just a few months after this”. I’ll admit it had me pretty bummed.

But now, having stumbled upon your blog, very fortuitously, I would like to think that the photos we took yesterday at Christmas dinner will be of the second variety you mention, those where the subjects have no idea that the best and most wonderful parts of their stories are just around the corner.

Thanks for this.

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Cat • December 27, 2008 at 7:38 pm

I love how you write your blog entries with just the right mix of irony/wit/introspection…it’s hard to use one word to describe it, but you’re obviously someone who looks at the world and takes it all in, asking, what does it all mean.

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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