Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Preserving New Year's Memories

Several years ago I discovered some old video tapes. For you younger ones out there who are unaware, these were widely used in the 1980's to mid 1990's. It was the high tech method to record and later play back video things on your television (also an invention in the '40's and still used by older adults today). Like many of us I had amassed a large collection of TV recordings, movies and family videos made when the kids were very young. 

The VHS (Video) camera was also a popular gadget that seemed to replace the "old school" movie cameras of the day. I had both and was always at or ahead of the video technology of the times. So about 20 months ago I purchased a connector device that enabled me to connect a VCR player to my iMac computer. With software included, I began to transfer many of these family video tapes to digital format and store these on the computer.  This was a way to preserve these wonderful old images forever. 

The bad thing about tapes was how quickly these will deteriorate over time when not properly stored and cared for. My old collection was located in a few cardboard storage boxes in my outside storage shed. Extreme heat and cold for several years began to make these tapes loose their quality. Luckily I discovered this box of tapes before it was two late to digitize them. The process was very time consuming but quite rewarding because I began to reminisce about long forgotten events. I even discovered a small collection of 8mm and super 8mm movie reels I had made in the mid to late 70's also stored in the boxes along with the other video tapes. So I was able to rescue these treasures and digitize and transfer them to my computer also.

One of my favorite discoveries was two tapes from 1988 to 1992 that contained a few New Year's Eve parties Janine and I attended with about 10 to 15 good friends/couples.  Some of them had long since moved to other cities and a few are no longer with us, today.  It's not that we were big partiers back then. In fact neither of us drank alcoholic beverages except that I would enjoy a beer or glass of wine on such occasions. When the "ball dropped" over Times Square Janine and I were always sober. Since it was only 11:00pm in Jackson trying to stay awake another hour until our New Year rolled in was difficult for us because we rarely stayed up that late. But we thoroughly enjoyed these times with good friends ringing in the New Year.  These old videos showed our fun and also revealed how, with the passage of time, we had changed much like the old recordings had begun to deteriorate.

As we approach yet another New Year's tonight, I will probably be in bed asleep by 9:30 or 10:00pm at the latest.  The body and mind want let me "party" like I once did. But the memories of ringing in past New Years still holds a fond place in my heart. May you all have a fun, safe night whether with friends or family. Preserve your memories and look forward to a better year in 2015 for us all.

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