Author’s Funniest Home Videos

A common theme of this blog is my ongoing reorganization project.  Nearly a year after I began the arduous task of downsizing the piles and boxes of clutter in my house, I have barely made noticeable progress upstairs.  The first floor of my house is nearly immaculate, with the exception of the closets, which are passable at best.  The upstairs, consisting of a loft (office), and master bed/bath is a disaster.  I’ve made a number of changes to the layout since I started, but to the outsider, it would undoubtedly still look like the habitat of an early-stage hoarder.  This is because my upstairs doubles functionally – if not intentionally – as my attic.   I have no “real” attic for storage purposes, and thank goodness, or else I would never have to face these objects that clutter my life.  Out of sight/out of mind is an act of complacency.  I am seeking to tackle all individual items, evaluate their importance, and decide that most are superfluous.

Among the touchiest of subjects is that of old photos and videos.  The photo project involves scanning each individual snapshot and saving it on my computer’s immense hard drive.  The video project has been more troublesome, because though I knew that it was possible to transfer VHS tapes to DVD format, I did not have the means.  As luck would have it, this weekend I stumbled across a box with a complete DVD/VHS machine; it even had the remote and the directions.  And thanks to my previous organization I was able to quickly locate a cord that would connect it to a TV.  Thanks again to my intuitive understanding of simple technology, and the “if all else fails, read the directions” method, I got the system up and running in under 20 minutes.  Then, it was necessary only to pick my first VHS to test.

In a strange coincidence, I decided to pop in a tape titled “Dad’s 70th Birthday.”  I assumed, since my mom had written most of these, that it was for my grandfather, and I would have been about 5.  Well, a few minutes into the film, it became clear that it was not my biological family at all!  Almost 3 years ago, my recently widowed grandfather married his recently widowed next-door-neighbor, Norma.  As a result of their union, the moved in together, and my mom, aunt Lynne and I helped them get rid of their excess from combining two apartments into one.  That’s the only way this video of that side of the newly formed family could have ended up in my collection.  So, I’m going to be sending that along to Lynne to enjoy.

The next tape was clearly labeled with my name and the year.  However, that says very little about what’s actually been recorded.  Each one I’ve done has been a smorgasbord of events and sound/recording quality.  I think my favorite clip so far is of 3-year-old-me singing some of my favorite toddler songs, and being generally silly.  Two-year-old-me is also pretty cute on Christmas morning, opening presents.  I also love all of the clips of me with my mom, of which there are surprisingly few, because she was usually behind the camera.

It’s difficult to put into words what these represent to me.  I haven’t watched any of them in at least 10 years.  And even though I know it’s me, it doesn’t feel like watching myself.  It honestly feels like more of a history of my mom in the 1990s, because she was the one who organized all of the things I was doing, dressing me, and prompting me to sing or answer questions.  I’m not as emotional watching them as I would have expected…  I’m more curious than anything.  And I’m extremely relieved that the process of copying them has gone so smoothly.  Not only is it saving space to have them on DVD, it’s preserving the memories.  Some of these VHS tapes are over 20 years old, and that material doesn’t last forever.

This recording project has been on my list for years – even before the general overhaul of the house got underway.  It feels so good to finally be making progress towards the completion of this goal.  And I think I’ll plan on having a little home movie showing for my friends and family… Figure out how to compile the “greatest hits” in iMovie somehow.  After all, if I can dream it, I can do it!  Now, must stop talking about doing it, and actually get started!


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