I'm Going 'Analog' to Brag About Our Grandchildren

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Back in the Stone Age, before smartphones were a thing, every grandma had a little photo album called “Grandma’s Brag Book”. This low-tech wonder, filled with actual printed photographs, rested at the bottom of her purse. Whenever a friend, acquaintance, or other human being with a pulse would ask about the grandkids, the proud grandma would retrieve the brag book with lightening speed. Then she’d watch to make sure you turned every page..

My mother had a book like that. On the arm that proffered the book, a charm bracelet jangled. A charm for each grandchild, engraved with his or her date of birth. I can’t remember the last time I saw one of those sweet, old-fashioned bracelets.

Recently, while cleaning out a neglected drawer, I found a slim leather envelope meant to hold photos. I turned it over in my hands. I asked myself- when was the last time anyone showed me an actual photograph of anything?

And that’s when I decided that it’s time to up my grandma game. I’m going analog.

These days everyone keeps their photos on their phone. Thousands of photos. Sharing pictures of the kids (or anything else) begins with scrolling, scrolling, scrolling for the right ones. ‘Hold on, it’s here somewhere…I’ve almost found it,” people say. Once the intended photos are found, a germ-laden device is thrust into your hands. If you touch the screen in the wrong spot, you could accidentally ‘lose’ the photo, prompting a fresh round of scrolling to retrieve it. The more photos you see and swipe past, the more they become a digital blur.

I just picked up my first set of prints today. They are tucked in the leather envelope, waiting in my purse. In the time it takes to find the ‘right’ photos on a cell phone, you can peruse my carefully curated set of real pictures. I think people will be not only delighted by this low-tech throwback—they will see for themselves that a photo in hand beats anything on a screen.

But will I resurrect the heavy, jangly charm bracelet? That’s a bridge too far, even for me!