Last week when I was visiting my mom, I was tasked with sorting through what old tapes and photos I wanted to keep. She had started to slowly clean out all of our old stuff and there were stacks of Disney VHS among a few home movies, notably my short-lived acting and karate careers. Sadly those two never intersected.
I spent a couple of hours trying to find a way to digitize the VHS and “scanned” a few old photos my mom had saved that I wanted to keep. Have you ever done this? I find it hard to balance deciding what to save vs. hoarding everything because you never know what you will want to share with your friends, loved ones, or future children.
We always think think we will remember everything because the memories are ours; they live within us. But memories are like little vaults, individually locked within your brain. Each experience you have creates a new vault where you store emotions, sounds, pictures, smells. Sometimes these vaults are poorly protected, allowing you to easily open them and recall the memory. Other times, you need a key.
What is a key? Well, it’s different for every person and each vault. Sometimes it’s a song. Other times it’s a sight. It could even be a smell. When I hear Bon Iver’s self-titled album, a vault opens and I see myself riding the bus to Aurora every day for a summer while reading Lovely Bones, looping the album. The smell of old apples opens the vault where my mom would pick us up after summer camp in her Toyota Sienna. Don’t ask me why, but her van really smelled like hot old apples to me.
The pictures and videos stored on analog formats like—VHS, photographs, Beta tapes—are keys to memories that we’ve likely forgotten. How many others have been lost in the years of moving, tidying, and decay? It’s kind of scary to think about what happens to all of these keys as technology progresses and we have no way of retrieving them from these antiquated devices. If you haven’t already, you should start to digitize all your childhood family photos. Save them for the future. If you want to know more about digitizing VHS, I can be of some assistance. I was fortunate enough to have a mother who saves everything, so I could use one of our two VHS/DVD combo players to record them.
Every online digital transfer company I saw looked extremely dated and sketchy, not someone I would trust with my precious past. I bet there is an opportunity to help a generation save the memories of their parents and childhood. You could call it “Keys to the past”.
I’d love to hear what some of the keys to your memories are.
Honestly, nothing. I am finally turning around after what’s felt like a lost week. I got my laser eye surgery last Thursday and proceeded to spend the next four days in pain, falling in and out of sleep on the couch, while Moana played on the TV and wearing Solar Shields. I’m going to keep them as a key for the future.
Now that that’s over and I’ve gotten my 2nd shot, I am ready to get back to life.
Until next week,