Tributes & Video Biographies
Sharing Life Stories, Connecting Generations, Preserving Legacies

Sharing Photos With My Friends

I’m often not sure what the age range of my readership is, but probably most of you are not too young to remember the old-style accordion photo wallets that people (primarily grandmothers) used to keep in their purses before the advent of digital devices that not only make phone calls, but serve as virtual luggage for all of our digital data, including photos.

A photo wallet is a sleeve of connected plastic photo cases that usually fold up in an accordion fashion upon themselves. Sometimes they slide into a leather sleeve, sometimes, as exampled by the photo I have here, they fold into a metal wallet or compact that then slips into your pocket or purse. I’m sure men didn’t carry these around so it was probably the latter. I’ve searched in vain on Google to find some additional images of these. I’m not sure why they’ve disappeared but I distinctly remember them from my youth.

My grandmother had several of these in her purse, or as she called it then, her pocketbook. When she would meet someone for the first time, she would whip one out to share photos of her grandchildren with her new friend. I wish I had some video of this because it was a movement that was almost like a ballet, it was so smooth and choreographed. Her arm would reach into her pocketbook and as the wallet cleared the edge of her purse, with her thumb, she’s flip the latch and out would flow this stream of accordion folded photos, reaching 2 to 3 feet in length when fully extended. Then the two would intently examine each photo while my grandmother gave the details of date, location and other information about the object of her affection, usually to verbal acknowledgements by her audience that yes indeed, she had beautiful grandchildren!

My youngest son Perry and his wife, just gifted me with my first grandchild, Jack. This allowed me to join a large but elite club of proud grandmas. My only responsibility in joining this club is that I am obligated to share photos and stories about my precious grandchild. My son and his wife have decided that they do not want to publicly share Jack’s life with strangers on Facebook and while I respect their choice, it puts me into the dilemma of how to share photos of my new darling with all my friends. I have an iPhone and although it doesn’t carry near the dramatic cachet of flipping out the photo accordion, it’s probably the best way to physically share numerous photos with my friends. But remembering my grandmother’s flair with the photo wallet, it had me go into my closet and pull out the two photo wallets that I have and clean them up. I am now in the process of printing out some 2×3″ photos of Jack on my inkjet printer to fill up the sleeves. Be sure to ask me to share them with you when you see me next!

Stefani Twyford is a personal historian and video biographer sharing life stories, connecting generations and preserving legacies. To learn more, visit her web site, find her on Twitter as @stefanitwyford, visit the Legacy Multimedia Facebook Fan Page, or send her an e-mail.

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5 Responses to Sharing Photos With My Friends

  1. cj madigan says:

    Oh, yes, I remember those photo wallets – some were accordion and some were more like a bound book. I love the image of your grandmother gracefully releasing the cascade of family photos.

    Despite the convenience of digital, I think there’s still nothing like touching and feeling photographs. Carry your pictures proudly, my friend!

  2. Annie Payne says:

    Thanks you for this wonderful word picture about the pride with which all grandmothers, world wide, share precious photos of their grandchildren.

    I loved the image of the accordian ‘Grannie’s Brag Book’ as they were named in my country and also smile about the different terms you use to describe what I would call your grandma’s handbag.

    Looking forward to becoming a grandma myself some day!

    • admin says:

      Annie, What a wonderful phrase, Grannie’s Brag Book! I love it. Last night I was at a music event and found myself saying, “want to see a photo of my new grandson?” I couldn’t believe the words coming out of my mouth! It’s so much fun. :)

  3. Stefani Twyford says:

    One of my readers emailed me today to let me know about a company that prints custom accordion books. http://www.mpix.com/products/funstuff/accordionmini. You basically drag and drop your photos onto one of their design templates and for $20 you get a beautiful little book. I love this idea and can’t wait to order some for myself. What a sweet little keepsake to give someone; a grandchild, good friend, souvenir of a trip…. so many different ways to think about using this. Thanks Michelle!

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