Capturing Memories

We all have memories of favorite hangouts from our teen years. In our town it was McCartney’s drug store for a cherry coke after church or stopping by Russell’s drive-in to see and be seen. Neither of those  special places exist today. I have a lot of memories, but no photos to go with them. Of course, back in the days of film photography and the costs of processing photos meant we didn’t take many pictures. I’m always on the lookout for pictures of the people and places of my youth. I did discover one good source – my high school annuals. There are advertisements in the back of each annual – many with photos. Still, there are many places that never make it into any kind of publication.

A while back we were having dinner at our favorite funky little restaurant. It’s one of those places where the daily specials are posted in chalk on a blackboard just inside the door. On one visit, the place was  so busy it was hard to get a good look at today’s choices. On impulse I used my phone to take a picture of the blackboard so we could peruse the menu at our leisure. Several days later, I was wandering though the photos on my phone when the menu popped up . . . and a lightbulb went off in my head. I had captured a future memory and it’s one worth saving.

Menu board
Menu board at Ned’s

Fortunately, I have the Day One journaling app on my iPhone, my iPad and my Mac. This delightful app makes it easy to capture even the most ordinary potential memories. With Day One, all I had to do was drag that photo from the Photos app into a blank journal entry. Day One will automatically capture the date, time and location from the photo’s metadata and all I need to do is add a few notes of my own. It might be what we had for dinner that night or who we ran into while we were there. No, this is not a momentous occasion, but it is definitely a fond memory.

There are any number of things about Day One which make it a great tool for capturing our own family history. In addition to storing files using the Markdown standard, they also have a delightful publishing service. This allows me to turn selected entries into print books. It’s an easy and affordable way to document our world for future generations.

Barnes and Noble coffee shop

It’s easy to find information on the big events in our ancestors’ lives, but unless we are lucky enough to inherit letters, journals or photographs we seldom know much about their everyday world. It’s these little things that add color to a family history and we have many opportunities to insure that our generation’s stories include them.

Day One app is available for both iOS and Mac. There is an Android version in development as well as a web-based one. The apps will cost you nothing, but a premium subscription ($3.99/mo or $34.99/year) is needed to take advantage of multiple journals, encryption, cloud services, unlimited photo storage, audio recording, video entries and more. Your subscription covers each device you have with Day One installed.

Don’t let those everyday memories get away from you. Your phone and a good journaling app like Day One makes them easy to capture and future generations will love you for doing it.

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