My older brother recently sent me a package. It is almost always something nifty, that only brothers would understand. This was just that. It was one of those smaller envelopes that have plastic air bubbles protecting the contents.
Sometimes it will be something he found that he thinks I might like.
Maybe a Hot Wheels car from “our era,” or a postcard or a toy that might remind me of being young.
This was way better than that…
This was one of those “USB sticks” that you can put data, pictures or whatever and send to someone else or transport to another computer. There were some cool old postcards and an envelope with my name on it. Inside the envelope, was a card that said something to the effect of, “I hope you enjoy these videos as much as I did.”
In short, I can’t imagine anyone enjoying those videos more than I did.
The first one had my aunt arriving on a plane from somewhere, I could only guess it was from the early sixties. But what got me was that first pic of my Papa, my grandfather – just the way I remember him. He was in his prime. The glasses, the haircut and I swear, I think it was his real hair color.
You see, my Papa was a technology guru throughout his life. He had the coolest cameras, the latest video technology and he knew how to “produce” home videos. He got the “good stuff” as far as I am concerned. My brother had these videos converted so that we could enjoy them.
To my knowledge, I have never seen them before. There is no price I could put on these.
Within a few more seconds, I saw my Daddy – young, healthy and smiling. That’s when a fellow closer to 60, than he is to 50, loses it. I don’t remember my Daddy really being healthy and smiling. But this video brought it all back.
My Papa’s dogs, here and there. I don’t remember their names, but he always had one tucked under his arm and this one was actually getting to play on the floor, with a cat. I have no memory of a cat… but there it was.
It was Christmas and my Papa was cutting a watermelon. Where in the world do you get a watermelon at Christmas in the early 60’s in rural Alabama? There is probably a good answer, but I do not know.
And by the way, these were in blazing color.
I can never run for political office, because in this video and throughout them all, I can see all kinds of things that wouldn’t be well received today. Things like pop guns and my Papa putting me on a horse backwards or letting me ride the dog.
In most of these videos, I was two to four years old, which would put them in the mid-1960s. The color was brilliant and seeing my Mama, Daddy, Grandmama and Papa in their prime (from a little boy’s eyes) was more than amazing. Video after video that had been copied from an old video camera, kept bringing me to tears.
I don’t remember my Daddy playing anything with me but cards and dice and dominoes. However, now I have proof that he pulled me in wagon, played with me on the beach and laughed and smiled and looked very happy.
Movies of horses and cows, just because my Papa thought it was a good idea for his grandchildren, specifically my brother and me, to be around - horses and cows and dogs. They were miniature horses, but perfect for little boys.
As I kept going through the videos, around 4 to 5 minutes each, I got to one and said, “Holy Cow.”
It was blazing “Gone With the Wind” and “Wizard of Oz” color… and it was my Mama and my Grandmama.
It was from about 1938 to 1940. And the color was magnificent. Folks didn’t have color video cameras back then and this hadn’t been doctored.
As I said, my Papa had the best toys… For us, he had cardboard boxes to build forts and old lawnmowers with no blades to ride on. For himself, he had a color video camera. I will tell you this – whatever he paid for it – it was worth it.
Seeing my Mama as a little girl… I never remember my Grandmama having anything but gray hair.
So, don’t take 3 hours of video you will never watch. Take a couple of minutes of things that will matter the most to those who will watch them in the future.
Believe it or not, it will probably be the person behind the camera, rather than in front of it.
Thanks to my brother and my Papa.
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