Whilst scrolling Instagram recently, I came across a fairly sizeable post about hand-me-down clothes, and the memories they trigger, in much the way old childhood photos do. The difference being the photographs are handed down through the generations (hopefully) and not passed to friends or even strangers via a charity shop donation.
However, both trigger the same opportunity to reminisce and enjoy the memories once more.
Read the transcript:
Hello, and welcome to the Photographs in the Shoebox Podcast with me, Sue Kennedy.
Today, we are going to be talking about hand-me-downs, as in hand-me-down photographs, but before I dive into that conversation, I just wanted to tell you about something new that I’ve put together and it’s free and fun.
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I was scrolling through Instagram and I came across an article about hand-me-down clothes and it stopped my scroll. Whenever I used to pass clothes onto friends, I always got the distinct feeling they’d rather I didn’t, even though there was nothing wrong with them.
But this post went way beyond the money-saving, planet-saving aspects and straight to the memories. It turns out that our baby clothes trigger memories too.
There were so many comments on the post reminiscing about the onesie that their baby once wore. It absolutely resonated with me. I kept certain clothes from my daughter’s baby days that held good memories.
One of the reasons I donated the clothes was because there was still plenty of life in them, but clothes aside, if the truth be told, I’ve probably kept more photographs than I did the clothes.
It was interesting to me how the concept of passing the clothes on created this giving circle. New photographs were taken, although the outfit remained and the baby changed, obviously, so the story differed. It became part of the new family’s story.
I had just never thought of hand-me-down clothes like that. I just considered the practical side of helping someone out or literally just recycling them. It was amazing how sentimental people were about the baby clothes.
I guess people are the same about baby photographs as well. Although we don’t pass them down in quite the same way, we do still pass those memories on through the generations so that they can be enjoyed again and again, although I don’t think we think like that until we are older and the children are older.
I’ve seen it in the studio. I’ve had three generations in and the grandmother is telling her daughter the baby looks just like her at the same age and has a photo to prove it. Now, the daughter’s normally eye rolling her mother at this point, but with good humour. She’s secretly enjoying it, or pleased that the baby looks like her, but we all do that, don’t we?
Bringing Family History to Life
I always think of the TV program, Who Do You Think You Are. There are some others around at the moment and they explore a celebrity’s family history. When the researcher produces a photo of great-great grandparents, you just sense the utter delight of the celebrity who instantly feels more connected to that family member because they’ve got a visual of them.
I just love it when they say, “Oh, she’s got the family nose,” or something like that.
I often think that with photographs, I’m trying to market something that people don’t know they need until it’s too late, but there’s nothing any of us can do about that. We are where we are.
Whilst I didn’t think of donating baby clothes in the same way as creating baby memories as photographs, there’s plenty of common ground for making us sentimental about those babyhood days and both help the next person who receives them to understand or enjoy them.
I think with photographs, it’s all about preserving those memories and with clothes, it’s probably about creating those memories and being practical as well.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Are you as sentimental about baby clothes as you are about baby photographs? Let me know @photographsinashoebox
That’s all for this episode. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.
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