WIMBERLEY, Texas (KXAN) — For the thousands of people affected by the Memorial Day weekend floods and starting the rebuilding process, it can be about much more than material items. Thousands of photographs, memorabilia and family heirlooms were washed up and blown around during the storm.
Those photographs now lay on dozens of tables inside the Katherine Anne Porter School in Wimberley — hoping to be reunited with their owners. Some of the pictures are crinkled and have significant water or mud damage. Others remain in mint condition. Organizers at the school say people started dropping off photos they found among the debris to the Wimberley Library last week. The Katherine Anne Porter School will now house the pictures for about three weeks as flood victims come and sort through the memories.
“It’s a resource. You know, when you’re really hurting, even the smallest memory can help and the smallest item can help. And we’ve certainly got a lot of them here,” said William Bowman, a teacher at Katherine Anne Porter School.”I’ve seen photographs anywhere from the early 1900s all the way to in the last year. It looks like a lot of family vacations, family reunions. Weddings seem to be the biggest ones — ski trips, graduations in a lot of them, but just so many memories.”
Bowman says even for him, seeing the pictures of strangers brings back memories of his own.
“About 20 years ago, I had a house fire, and there were pictures from my Navy days and fraternity days that I could never get back. Of all the things — furniture and clothes you can buy again — but, I still miss those memories. That’s part of the reason I’m here. If a few people find those memories, it’s all worth it to us,” Bowman said.
The school says right now they are not accepting any new items. They will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday for another few weeks. Organizers suggest you allow yourself 45 minutes to look through everything. If you find anything else of sentimental value, Bowman recommends putting a picture of it on the Wimberley Flood Facebook Page.
UT program offers help with damaged items
Experts with the University of Texas School of Information say wet papers, photos, books and other sentimental objects should be frozen — if possible — and not thrown out.
“Without archives, we don’t have our history. That goes for cultures and family photos, as well as personal archives,” said Karen Pavelka, with UT’s School of Information.
UT has hosted several salvage workshops in areas most affected by flooding over the last week. Anyone interested in hosting or attending a salvage session should contact iSchool.