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Old shoe box holds wonderful memories

For those of you who took photos with a camera that required a roll of film, let me ask you a question. Are you like me and countless other well-intended individuals who still have their memories tucked away in a shoe box or cigar box? How many Florsheim, Dutch Master and White Owl boxes filled with photos are languishing in your attic, basement or closet waiting to see the light of day and be cataloged in a photo album? Isn't it about time you admitted you are a shoe box collector who also just happens to take pictures?

Seriously, photos serve no purpose tucked away in a dark corner. Perhaps the task of organizing those countless photos and recalling all those memories seems overwhelming. Pictures can summon memories, both happy and sad. To quote the song from the movie "The Way We Were":"Scattered pictures, of the smiles we left behind Memories may be beautiful and yet, what's too painful to remember, we simply choose to forget. So it's the laughter we will remember, whenever we remember, the way we were."

Photos capture magic moments, favorite places, loved ones and friends. How many of you have even dated those photos and identified the places and people? Be honest, not many. I have often asked myself "who is that?" or "where was that taken?" or "was I really that thin?" or "did my best friend [name withheld to protect the innocent] really have all that hair at one time?"

The "Greatest Generation" and the baby boomers subscribed to what has been called the Kodak Moment Era as they chronicled those special images of family, friends and places.

I couldn't wait until I took the last photo on the roll of film. I would rush to the corner drugstore to have the film developed. After what seemed an eternity, I would pick up the pictures and excitedly rush home to share the memories with my family and friends. Sharing was part of the joy of picture taking.

Picture taking, as we knew it then, has gone the way of the Kodak Brownie, the flashcube camera and the Polaroid. Fast forward to the digital age. The process of picture taking is quite different today. First of all, you take a picture with a digital camera or an iPhone. You then upload it or download it (to be honest, I really don't know which) to a computer. Then you decide if you want to save those memories on a disk.

But how do you share these memories with others? Simple, there is Facebook, Shutterfly, YouTube, Blackberry, Blueberry, Strawberry -- just kidding on the last two berries. Did I forget to mention that you can get these digital photos developed? Then you can actually put them in a scrapbook -- or a shoe box.

I know that there are many like me who are members of the Shoe Box Club. Let's all take the initiative of plowing through those boxes filled with all those precious Kodak moments and put them in photo albums. Don't wait until tomorrow or for another rainy day. Memories, just like those old Kodak photos, fade.

How we capture those special memories or magic moments is of our own choosing. Whether you are gathered around the kitchen table with the photo album, or hunched over a computer, or on Facebook or your iPhone, it doesn't really matter. What's important is saving and sharing the memories that have traveled from the shoe box age to the digital age.

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Jim Williams, who lives in Buffalo, plans to transfer all of his old pictures into photo albums.

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