Picture your life

Jimmy Batchelor


As I sat, looking through the boxes of old photos; I hesitated, staring at the photo in my hand. I saw a teenage girl standing on my grandparents front porch. Suddenly, it all came back to me. The young girl was me and I was awaiting my grandfather to come through the front door and we’d take our walk down the tree-lined sidewalk, all the way to town and the McRae Methodist Church. Many pictures were taken of me around that house and on that sidewalk. I recently came across the photo of Granddaddy and me, age four, hand-in-hand, stopped mid-walk on that sidewalk, our heads turned looking back at the photographer recording our weekly Sunday walk.

Looking at my teenage self, the black and white photo became living color in my mind. That vivid red dress, high-waisted bodice of red with white dotted swiss material was a very favorite of mine, one my mother did not sew for me. Long, sheer sleeves of the same dotted swiss, white cuffs, collar, and small covered buttons down the center to the seam line were met by the solid red A-line bottom half. Two events came to mind where I wore that special dress. A sad visitation for a 17 year old friend who left us so early, leaving me a heartfelt lesson in life at age 16, trying to lift spirits in my red garment. The other, much happier occasion, was a short walk down a runway while competing for a place on Rich’s Teen Board, Rich’s way of keeping up with the youth trends of the ‘60’s. I was not a chosen one, but a high school friend was. We all had a grand time and went home happy that our friend was accepted.

Since retirement, friends have been asking what I do with my time. Quite often, the answer is that I am sorting through family pictures, the many pictures I inherited from relatives. It is wonderful I have them, also wonderful I have three children to inherit them from me!

I have taken my time sifting through the boxes of photos. These do not include the many photo albums of the Batchelor Family! A few years back, I put together an album for each of my children. Not just of photos, but memorabilia from each of their lives that I have saved, finally deciding how to pass on meaningful memories for each of them to appreciate. I will admit it simplified my life a bit and I had such fun assembling the albums.

By taking my time with the old photos, I felt as though I had visited all those that I love who have passed on. The process made me feel so close to each of them and I am thankful I was left with the pictures. I have mentioned in the past the importance of photography in my family. Everyone had a camera that was brought out when we gathered. Sometimes I feel like my whole life has been recorded in picture history! My children will attest that I am guilty as well. I laugh at some of their pictures and how they struck poses the moment Mom’s camera appeared.

After two days of photo sorting, I took a rest to tend to a desk needing attention. I came across a recent AJC comic strip, “Family Circus,” by Bil Keane. The first picture shows the mother sorting through a box of photos and, as she holds up a couple, the dialogue bubbles show her memories inspired by the pictures in her hand. The last scene on the strip is her husband walking in, saying, “I see you’re still sorting all those old pics. When do you think you’ll be done?” She answered, “Oh well - - I’m not sure I’ll ever be.” That answer is enough for me. Sit and savor some of your pictures from your past.

Jimmie retired from Henry County Senior Services in Stockbridge, where she managed Hidden Valley Senior Center and resided for 38 years. She uses her newfound time writing (for The Times) and enjoying life!