Flipping through time

News | October 19, 2023

St. Paul member Ann Quist looks back at past St. Paul directories, while looking forward to the upcoming online version, which launches late October.

In a drawer in Ann Quist’s family room sit 10 books documenting the passage of time at St. Paul. Spanning 50 years, from 1972 to 2011, from tiny black and white family photos to bright and shiny colored ones, hundreds of faces smile back, from the pages of membership directories. The addresses have changed, children have grown, and hairs have grayed but the feelings of home have remained the same over the years for Ann.

About a year after Ann and her family joined St. Paul in 1971, she was handed a black and white book filled with the photos of St. Paul people. And while she didn’t intend to begin collecting the directories as a hobby, slowly her collection grew. As the years passed, the stack of volumes continued to expand.

“I just couldn’t throw them away. They’re precious books to me. When we were still fairly new members, I would refer to the photos often. There was a couple, when we were first joining, that took us under their wing and helped us out a lot. Hold on! I bet they’re in here,” Ann says as she reaches for her 1972 directory, flipping through pages of Bs, and Js and Ns, until… “There they are! Herman and Margaret Palmquist. That’s them. That’s why I love having these directories.”

Occasionally Ann pulls out her directories to flip through with friends, a familiar face or family sparks a memory, and these memories turn into stories, laughter, and joy.

“When I have company over and we pull out the directories and reminisce, that’s when the memories really come back. I recently had friends over and I can’t tell you how long we looked through these. Hours,” Ann recalled. “Then we really start sharing stories. ‘Do you remember them?’ ‘Of course, but what about so-and-so?’ Many things have changed. A lot of the people in these older books aren’t with us anymore. Kids have grown up and have families of their own, but having this kind of connection through the years, it’s special.”

Just as the pages of the first directories turned from black and white to color, now those spiral-bound books turn digital as St. Paul steps into a new era.

“Making the change to an online membership photo directory will be different but it will be helpful. I imagine I’ll use it with a different purpose than I use the printed editions. Rather than flipping (or scrolling) page by page like I have with the printed copies, I’ll go in looking for someone specific, but I’ll be glad to have one again.”

Bring your questions on Sunday, Oct. 22
The exciting roll-out of new technology to support ministry and community at St. Paul is nearly complete. On Sunday, Oct. 22 during adult learning (10:15-11 a.m.), Jessica Taylor and Miles Thompson will offer insights, tips, and an overview of how St. Paul folks can use these resources most effectively. If you’re not sure how to get started or need help downloading or navigating the app, bring your questions to this session. One-on-one time will be given near the end for personalized assistance.

Update your photo for the directory: Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 21/22, put on your Sunday best and come get your picture taken for the online membership photo directory. Have a recent photo you already love? You can submit that to Lauren Brown, lauren@stpaulqc.org. Landscape orientation is preferred.

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