Thursday, June 14, 2007

Home Videos

My dad recently replaced their old and decrepit DVD player with a new one that also can burn DVD-R's. He has been systematically transferring our old VHS home movies into DVDs and then giving copies to the rest of the family. These movies include some very incriminating shots of me and my sister being toddlers and young children, but they also include video of the older generations. And there was even one video taken at my great-grandmother's house one Christmas. I was about 4 years old at the time, and she was about 82. She got down on the floor with all her great-grandchildren and was posing for pictures. I am so glad my parents thought to get footage of things like that. I wasn't exceptionally close to my great-grandmother, but we visited her at least once a year (more frequently when I was younger) and she died when I was about 14. Watching that video brought back a lot of memories of time spent running around her house and yard and eating large amounts of food that she prepared.

While JM and I were watching the videos the other night, he was commenting that when we go visit my grandmothers he'll need to take lots of video of them. Something makes me wonder if they'll realize the reasoning behind the camera time and be offended? My dad told my great-grandmother in one of the movies, "I've been instructed to get lots of video of you." She was a smart lady -- I think she probably knew that meant "we don't think you'll be alive much longer, and we want to get you on tape before you die." Morbid, isn't it? But I think of it this way: my children are going to know what their great-great-grandmother sounded like (and she had a VERY cool country accent).

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  • Alan

    Once your great-grandmother adapted to the idea, she didn't have any objection to being filmed as she played with the little ones. I think most elderly folks want to leave something for the future generations to remember them by. My dad was the same way. At a certain point he knew he wasn't going to last long, and it was obvious he wanted to leave good memories.

  • La

    I'd love to capture a lot of stories, too -- just them sitting there talking about how they met our respective grandfathers, and, as applicable: what college was like, what first jobs were like, what life was like starting out as a couple, what they remember about their schooling experiences, what they remember about their parents and siblings. And, of course, what our parents were like as kids. ;-)

    As a side bonus, that's about the best way you're going to be able to share their accents with generations who miss the chance to know them. And our grandmothers would probably appreciate having something specific to talk about; it's too easy to get video of people saying, "what do you want me to say?" which is not the most interesting content, even if you get a bit of personality in it.