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by Abigail Van Buren

Photos of Grandma's House Are Picture Perfect Memories

DEAR ABBY: After Grandma passed away at the age of 101, the thought of dismantling her home and dispersing her belongings was heartbreaking because her house had remained unchanged for so many years. I knew we couldn't keep everything, but never seeing her house again was too much to bear.

I asked my cousin to take photos of every room, every hallway, every closet and every view inside and out, so I could make an album of "Grandma's House." Now I have an album of photographs that makes me feel like I'm standing in the middle of it again. My cousin even photographed the auction in which we sold the things none of the family wanted or couldn't fit in their homes.

With all these reality TV programs that deal with hoarding and clutter, I wanted to share this idea as a healthy alternative to keeping "things" in place of memories. Looking at my photo album is even better than having the actual items, because everything is in the setting I remember. What I'm trying to convey is -- sometimes you really can't take it with you, and a picture is the next best thing. -- JULIE IN BRADENTON, FLA.

DEAR JULIE: Thank you for a valuable suggestion. I'm sure I'm not the only grandchild who wishes that she had thought of it when my grandparents' home was being dismantled. I'm sure that looking at your album brings back a multitude of happy memories.