As mentioned in a previous blog, doing a preliminary sort gave me a general understanding of just what the heck is in my “family archive:” snapshots / 35mm slides / 8mm home movies / photo albums / framed images / letters, correspondences and documents / newspaper clippings / genealogical information / fabrics / antique toys / and other junque.
Now that I have a sense of what’s what, I need to prioritize and decide what I would like to start exploring. Notice here I didn’t say “work on,” as it truly is more of an “exploration”—with a hint of time travel—rather than “work”. (OK, OK, yeah, its “work,” but its really cool work, so like that.)
Instead of jumping into the most populous and perhaps most obvious category—family snapshots, that is—my priorities are actually driving me toward the 8mm home movies. This is because 1.) these films make up a relatively small number of artifacts, which makes them a good starting point; 2.) many of the films are identified with regard to when they were made and who is in them (me, my parents, and my then-young siblings, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, space aliens, for example); and 3.) perhaps the biggest reason is completely altruistic—a significant motivation for organizing and archivally preserving this collection in the first place—as its for the benefit of others in the family and our subsequent generations going forward. Case in point:
My sister turns 60 years old in the fall, and I can’t think of a more unique gift to mark such an occasion than a couple of DVDs of all our old home movies. I vaguely remember watching these films with my older sister and my younger brother back in the 1960s, when the old man would drag out the projector, set up a rather rickety and cantankerous home movie screen, and thrill us with what we thought at the time were pretty boring scenes from our then-recent childhoods. NOW, however, with both of our parents chillin’ out in the Land of Not Around Anymore, our own children in their 20s, and all three of us “kids” rapidly approaching 60 years old (yikes!), these films have undoubtedly increased in personal meaning and value.
Its my job now to rescue these films from their attic tomb, revitalize them by sending them out to be converted into digital files, and then burn them onto high quality DVDs for my family and those of my sister and brother. The original films will be kept (of course!), identified and safely stored away in the finest archival materials, while the digital files will be backed up and thus ready to be migrated onto whatever future digital platform our descendants will be using. I’m busy workin’ on designing that new platform as I write this, folks. Yup. Its going to have a seamless interface that will be compatible with all human users; it will hold 10,000 terabytes of information; and it will be both microscopic and super easy to replicate. Yeah, you guessed it: its customized DNA. I still have to work out some bugs, though, as all 206 of my beta testers turned into brain-eating zombies. Stay tuned, as I’m gonna either be the richest, most successful digital platform designer ever, or I’m gonna cause the zombie apocalypse. As a precaution, maybe you should go live in your basement for a few years. I’ll let ya know when its safe to come out.
Ahem, anyway, saving my family’s home movies all starts with me, and since it’s such a time-sensitive project, one that offers tremendous rewards for our entire family, I’m on it so here goes….