How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


IS a Picture WORTH a Thousand Words?

I started an overwhelming project last summer with no progress since. Today, again I begin to scan several generations of family memories from my mother’s photo collections. The goal is to finish before Christmas—I hope.

Why undertake this gargantuan task? My mom passed away a year and a half  ago; to be fair to everyone (we are five siblings), I believe everyone is entitled to her own DVD copy of our history in pictures. Whoever takes the originals once the work is completed is fine with me. I’m certain my mother’s grandchildren will also be tickled when a surprise DVD arrives.

Such an undertaking is an excellent idea (of course it is; it’s  mine), but, is not as straightforward as it sounds. I am dealing with photo albums consisting of cardboard pages with sticky backing to hold pictures in place and a clear (plastic) sheet, which is peeled back to insert pictures and pulled over top  again to protect them from air, dust and possibly sticky fingers.


  • Over time, between the  plastic cover and glossy finish on colour photos, a stickiness occurs gumming them together–separate gently
  • If pictures have been ‘attached’ for years,  they won’t unstick easily and must be removed deligently from cardboard backing as well
  • Do not mess up scanner bed with sticky photos
  • Clean first
  • What is the best product to clean gummy pictures without ruining them?
  • Vinegar with water doesn’t  work well
  • A careful dab of nail polish remover sometimes does the trick if sticky area is small
  • Sometimes Goo Gone works (in small areas)
  • Be obsessivelycareful: rinse cleaning product off and allow to dry well (wasting more time)
  • When gumminess is stubborn = frustration and waste of precious time
  • Patience is a virtue (So where is it?)
  • Have a directory tree planned for DVD
  • Lift up cover on scanner
  • Place photo inside; make sure it’s straight
  • Scan to organized directory
  • Open scanner, remove picture
  • Be careful not to scratch scanner bed with fingernails 
  • Use another photo corner to pop picture off the glass
  • Position back into album
  • If photo doesn’t stick, roll a tube of clear tape around a finger and mash onto back of photo to reposition onto cardboard in album
  • If clear sheet protector doesn’t stick back down again, ignore it and continue
  • Each step takes time. What? Only three pictures in fifteen minutes?  #@%>&.
  • Why are some photos taped together, corner to corner? Oh, I see: to keep them from sliding because the sticky backing isn’t sticky anymore. #@%>&.

 This scanning drudgery is not for the faint of heart.  After about an hour, in addition to developing a headache, I feel dizzy. The bottom line–and the honest truth–is I find scanning  monotonous, nerve-wracking and unfulfilling.

Ah–only 999,999,999 pictures to go. I believe I can do this. In the interest of chronicling our tribe for future generations, I can do this. I know I can. I think I can…

Wait a minute—did I mention which Christmas my task will be completed?

Who the heck are the people in this picture–must e-mail  to siblings…