Citizen Army Training Medal

Do you know the stories behind your old photos? I just looked at mine and, yes, I do.

There’s one good reason why this week I metamorphosed into an archaic-photo enthusiast.

A short meeting with a fellow Filipino in Brookings weeks ago got me into thinking to scan my old pictures and salvage them from further wear and tear. Each photo in her stack of albums, she insisted, carries brilliant stories of long ago that should not be expunged simply through waning and yellowing. In as much as she wanted the photos to be reinstated to their original grandeur, there was nothing so much she could do but to clean them from lizards’ debris, having been concealed in the filing cabinet for quite a time.

Hours later, inside my room, I brushed and scraped. There is this box I brought along from the Philippines that is full of old photos of me and my family. It has been in my drawer for over a year already and, today, it grinds its teeth and spews eruptive magma of displeasure saying, “lazy dude, clean me!”

While meticulously unfolding and smoothing the furrows for hours, I also spent appreciating how little I have changed all these years in terms of looks. Even perhaps the not-so-close friends could effortlessly spot me from the rest of my look-alike clan associates. They probably would be quick to cop out on certain facial features that are very evident-the round eyes, uniquely-shaped eyebrows, flushed cheeks and the shipshape boy-cut hair I always have been sporting. “You still have the same big eyes and cute flat nose,” I could imagine them asserting. Oh well, I could only give a very consenting nod when that happens.

As the scuffing continued, I chanced upon a black and white photo,which fully monopolized my interest, of me and my cousins. It was the main reason why I became too enthusiastic like a budding photographer for this article. Apart from the photo’s more than 20-year value, the faces of my cousins were equally appealing. I imagined how the years made each one of us the persons that we are at present.

The old photo did not only paint thousands of words or imaginings but created the untold stories that I never knew happened before; as told by Mama-in the past-when I asked her why there were giant pigs in front of us that almost hid my small, young frame; she giggly told me how she panicked when the neighbor’s pigs cut loose from their enclosure and headed towards the ‘little’ league members who were all smiling for the long-anticipated picture-taking. She said that she had run crazily, mightily after the pigs to shoo them away with just a twig in her hand and tongue-lashed our neighbor thereafter for putting my life at risk.

Photos bring back memories of yesteryears. Good or bad, they are sources of forgotten sagas of life. I want to re-live the past many years from now. That is why I have been collecting loads of photos from different events in and out of the SDSU campus-from paid student events, to free plays at the auditorium, to important inaugurations and parties, to even conferences and small gatherings in Brookings.

Great impressions are scarce, not to mention precious, and I want to catch them while I can. As Rutger Hauer’s character of Roy Batty in Blade Runner said before he died: “All these moments will be lost in time. Like tears in the rain…” So, join me. Get those cameras clicking and enjoy the Kodak moments.

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