To Love in Memory: Old Yearbook Photos

It is easy to love people in memory; the hard thing is to love them when they are there in front of you. – John Updike

This quote feels like a huge guilt trip, am I right??

We let little frustrations about people sometimes obscure the love we feel for them. I think especially it can be hard to do this with the elderly or family members who we do not feel we have much in common. For years I felt this way a little about my grandpa Bateman, who I loved, but I didn’t really try as hard as I should have to love him.

He had a quirky way of engaging people in conversation about deep topics in a somewhat one-sided conversation about science or medicine until your eyes would glaze over. He was brilliant, and he had a good sense of humor, but it would make me a little annoyed because I wasn’t interested in science or medicine the way that he was. I had a hard time changing the subject. He passed away in 2014. I get emotional every October when I recall his passing. I drove down to Las Vegas with my siblings to attend a viewing and be with my grandma.

A few years ago I had an itch to find my grandparents’ pictures in their high school or college yearbooks. It took a lot of sleuthing through alumni websites and online library archives, but I discovered my grandpa would have been a wealth of stories about musical tastes and experiences from his younger days! I found so many fun pictures of my grandpa in a dancing group, quartet, choir, and even as a leader of various clubs and religious groups.

A picture of Tom Bateman in the Collegians group at Idaho State University (1959). This was the year he married my grandma.
1958 Concert Choir at Idaho State. My grandpa is in the back row, 7th man in from the left.

I always thought I got all of my love of music and my singing voice from my grandma (his wife) but my grandpa was equally invested in developing his musical talents as evidenced by these super fun pictures (Once I found them I uploaded them to Memories on FamilySearch, an excellent way to share photo memories of ancestors with your relatives!). We have so much in common!

What I wouldn’t give to talk to him about his musical background for just a few minutes! I wish I had loved him enough to ask about his younger days and engage with him about these things. It would’ve helped me know myself much better.

So, if there’s someone in your life who you’ve been struggling to love who is right in front of you, take a moment and think of some way that you can try to love them and serve them now. Engage with them in a way that is meaningful to you. It can be a phone call, a text, or something small, but don’t put it off. Ask them about a cherished memory and just listen. You might find you have more in common with them than you thought.

If you’re looking for a way to love your family more in memory and to share memories with the next generation, consider my Family History Memory Game, or 4-generation Family Tree with Photos on Etsy!

Follow me on Instagram or Facebook! @shop_epdesign

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