About a month ago I mentioned that I was having my family's home movies digitized. They consist of six Super 8 film reels shot by my father between 1966 and 1971 or so, and I wanted to convert them into good quality digital copies. I brought the reels back from Florida when I visited in February, and early last month I took them down to a film lab near Tottenham Court Road and paid to have them converted.
When I dropped them off, my contact at the lab told me it should take about a week to finish the conversion. Well, the weeks dragged by, and just before Dave and I went on Spring Break I called the lab to ask what was happening. I received a bland assurance from the receptionist that they'd be in touch when the films were ready.
Up until Monday, I heard nothing, and frankly I was beginning to get a little freaked out. Had they lost my movies? Were they more likely to get lost, the longer the lab kept them? What was taking so long? I e-mailed a polite inquiry and engaged in gallows humor with Dave about the possible responses: "Who are you again?" "Films? What films?"
But lo and behold, the lab called me yesterday and said the job was done. I didn't waste a second in getting down there and picking everything up. And indeed, I now have digital files of all six film reels and several DVD copies for my family.
I watched some of them last night. A ridiculous amount of the footage is of me as a baby (above). I guess Dad did what many first-time parents do -- he went a little nuts making a record of his first child's first days on the planet. My younger brother is in two of the reels, and most of the adults are incidental players.
The short scene at the top of this post is an exception -- no children at all, just three generations of adults. The time: Christmas, 1966. The place: Outside our newly built house north of Tampa -- the same house my mom sold just a few years ago. The participants: My grandmother, grandfather, great-grandmother, mom and uncle.
It's not an action-packed sequence -- just people wandering back and forth as they packed the car to leave after a holiday visit. My grandmother's "luggage" was a paper bag, typical for her on short stays. Everyone studiously avoided acknowledging the camera, until my great-grandmother, who was in her late 70s, decided to clown around. Such a slice of nostalgia -- and what great old cars!