Sunday, September 06, 2009

Before Everything Fell Apart.

I can't begin to tell you about the birthday gift my daughter gave me this year. She had painstakingly gathered all the long forgotten and unwatched-for-30-years home movies ever made of 'the family' - her family - and shipped them away to be made into DVDs. These movies were made in the first 10 years of her life. Movies of her and her sister's first steps, of family Christmases, of trips to the beach, of travels to Ireland, of swimming, of a cottage, of a much remembered trip to South Carolina with my then teenage brother and sister and our two young children.

There are cherished snippets of my mother before she died and of my grandmother. Movies of a brother's wedding where our daughters were delectable flower girls and the wedding reception in our house. (His bride died tragically young). And many more.

It is right up there in the exalted list as one of the BEST GIFTS EVER. Thank you, sweetheart if you are reading this. A million thank yous.

Here is something I wrote in an attempt to crystalize my countless emotions in watching the DVDs.

The Way We Were

Were we that young?
Were we that loving?
Did that song say it all
About the way we were?

The story of each scene
Takes my breath away
More than it did then,
At the way we were.

My parents light up
And my granny too
Surrounded by love
In the way we were.

And those little girls
In their frothy dresses
Giggling and laughing
By the way we were.

The screen flickers on
With our loving glances
I switch off and mourn
For the way we were.


  1. Oh, yes, WWW, we all were so happy then. Why didn't we know how happy and fortunate we were to be young?

    I wish I had home movies like that. I have photos,and everyone looks happy and smiling. But movies would really be wonderful.

  2. That's the thing though Anne, we just don't know it at the time, do we. All taken for granted. All thinking it would last forever.
    And none of us quite seeing how absolutely incredible and wonderful it all was!

  3. What a lovely idea. It's good to have reminders of all those precious experiences.

  4. best gift ever, yes, but bittersweet, too.

    when we were kids my folks would occasionally set up the big portable screen in the living room and haul out the slide carousel and we'd watch slides that had been taken over the last four or five years.

    after my brother died, we continued to clamor to watch slides, but my parents always said no. i was only 9 when he died; their refusals made no sense to me then.

    now, so many years later, those slides are precious again.

  5. Oh wonderful gift, WWW - and such a lovely poem too.

    I have some audio tapes, reel to reel and cassettes of some family get-togethers, jokings and sing-songs with my parents, grand parents and late partner - but I'm so silly - I cannot bear to listen to them - even thinking about them now has some caused tears to splash onto the keyboard.

  6. Truly wonderful gift, you are so right! And lucky!

  7. Thank you for reminding me of the need to video the boys. These moments pass so quickly. How precious that you have them xxx

  8. What a thoughtful gift.

    Alas I only have old poor quality photos from Elly's young days. The B&W ones from the previous generation seem to have lasted so much better.


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