After my sophomore year of college, my roommate Susan and I planned a trip to Mexico, just the two of us. I had spent the previous summer on a study abroad in Mexico and I couldn’t wait to return. The summer of 1993 had been full of incredible memories – camping in the jungle, climbing pyramids, swimming in jungle rivers in the middle of nowhere, and skinny dipping in the clear blue ocean waters.
I had traipsed all over Mexico with small groups of my friends the previous summer, and I figured I could do it again. I’d play tour guide to Susan and we’d have a blast.
We went on our trip. When I came home, I rushed immediately to the one hour photo desk at the grocery store at the bottom of the hill. I couldn’t wait to see all of our pictures. I’ve never been very patient when it comes to pictures. I was made for the convenience and speed of digital photography.
At the appointed time, I ran back to the one hour photo and handed the lady my envelope stub. She rummaged around until she found the envelope with my name on it, handed it to me, and took my money. Before I left the store, I excitedly opened the envelope up and found….pictures of someone else’s dog.
I scanned through all of the photos. None of them were mine.
I returned to the desk and told the lady that there was a problem. Could she find my pictures and determine who these in my hand belonged to? I figured it was a simple case of mix-up.
She looked and looked, and as she kept coming back with nothing, I started to get more and more worried. Finally, she approached me with a very thin envelope. She handed me what she explained was my film, which had apparently been damaged beyond the point of being able to save it. She was sorry and would be happy to give me a free roll of film and a free developing service for the trouble.
I was hardly breathing at this point, staring at my film, which was ripped down the middle of the entire length of the 36-image roll. The edges were jagged, but I could still mostly make out the pictures. I asked the lady if there was any way to even print the half-images. I’d rather have a partial photo than nothing at all.
No, nothing could be done. They were all lost.
Time passed, a new semester started, and I met the guy I was going to marry. I didn’t think about the lost pictures very often. I had other things to think about. But any time I thought back on the trip to Mexico that I had taken with Susan, I found that my memories of the long weekend were fading and distant.
Today, my only memories of the trip are of swimming in the hotel pool and ordering a virgin strawberry daiquiri from a confused bartender (why would a young college student order a non-alcoholic drink with her free drink ticket?) and of laying in a hotel bed, terrified by the rowdy yelling right outside my door.
As disappointing as the loss of my pictures was, that trip has proved to be a poignant reminder for the last 18 years. It taught me how important pictures are to the preservation of my own memories.
When I’m looking through old photos, the memories come flooding back and they stay fresh in my mind. Without those visual reminders, the memories fade faster than I would have ever guessed.
Now, I pull my camera out for the most seemingly ordinary moments as well as the milestones because I want to remember it all.
This week, I’m heading to California to make new memories with my fellow YesVideo blogger ambassadors as we tour the YesVideo facilities and have all kinds of fun in my original home town of San Jose. My camera will be close through the trip and I won’t be forgetting these times any time soon, I’m sure.
Note: I am a YesVideo ambassador and receive compensation for my time and involvement. All memories and opinions are my own.
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