It seems like appropriate timing somehow that, during this reflective time in our lives, my younger brother used some of his free time to transfer our old home movies to DVDs and mailed them to my mom and siblings to enjoy during our seclusion.
I’m sure our home movies are typical. There are four of us kids, so there were many birthday pictures, some with one of us sitting in the high chair with a yummy mommy-decorated cake or parties on the patio, with friends blowing noisemakers and wearing those pointy hats. There were many gifts at many Christmases with us in our jammies, me in my pin-curled hair. I clearly remember our pictures being taken, especially at Christmas. The flood lights attached to the camera were more than efficient. In some of the scenes we’re squinting into the camera, smiling none the less. We were spoiled at Christmas and I have to wonder where all those toys ended up? Dad’s train set was up and running around one Christmas tree, going round and round. I’ve played with that myself fairly recently and know exactly where it is! I easily get nostalgic. Three of us kids wore banners for new years at very young ages, squinting at the photographer wondering what the heck was going on as we wore a sash and a cone hat. We grew up in Phoenix. We played in the irrigation water that flooded our back yard, it must have been weekly, and often times the four of us reminded me of those baby goat videos that are so popular now – kids running and jumping, bouncing and laughing from pure joy and energy. We were introduced to snow up in Flagstaff, sledding and building snowmen, me in my red snow boots. We played with the same sled dad played with growing up, wow!
My parents took turns with the camera, so there are lots of mom in pretty dresses, a young mother smiling and showing off her kids at holidays.
Mom took her turn shooting, too, lots of pictures of us with our pets, bunnies and kitties. We loved to pose them on their backs, little paws relaxed on their bellies as they dozed off.
There are many of us playing on the swing set, dad pushing and guiding, always smiling. He was so handsome dressed for church. He’s been gone almost ten years now – I miss his hands.
There are many scenes of extended family gatherings – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, shot in Phoenix, Michigan and Kentucky. There was always lots of food, kids running around and socializing. There’s footage of trips to Disneyland, San Francisco and Knott’s Berry Farm. I can’t imagine traveling with so many kids!
Some years seemed to have been skipped. We went from little kids to young teens quickly, though my sister is a bit younger. Activities changed, our back yard transformed, the swing set forgotten. And then the movies stopped.
Years ago, this same brother put the original 8 mm film on tapes for us, so I’d seen our moving memories fairly recently, but this time, for some reason, the reminiscing resonated. Maybe due to age, maybe because dad’s gone. I’ve heard people wishing for it to be six months from now, a year from now, but we can’t be wishing life away. I see myself in these home movies, remembering most of those captured moments, and now fifty plus years have gone by. I’m at that age where I’m a little confused about how it happened, that I ended up here when just a few blinks ago I was growing up with my family.
It’s been fun taking this look back together, us kids spread out across the West. Each of us probably remembers a scene or a piece of history differently but we did it together, all those years ago. Maybe there will come a time when we can be together again, and pose for an iPhone video that will be added to the cherished memories. It won’t be the same as vintage film, complete with flaws, over and under exposure, but it will continue the story!