The Way We Were

Perhaps you’ll recognize that phrase as the title of a movie starring Barbara Streisand and Robert Redford. When it came out during the ‘70s it was a huge smash. The title song from that movie was also a big hit for Ms. Streisand. There’s a line from that song that has always stood out for me. Misty water-colored memories of the way we were. When that song first hit the airwaves in 1973, I was in junior high. I had no concept of nostalgia, and what it meant to look back on your life. Much too busy seizing the day to wrap my brain around that notion.

Back then, I had no idea what water-colored memories were. It just seemed like a neat song lyric. However, the older I get, the more I understand the meaning of those words. As I have mentioned before, I am the family photographer. This includes not only still, but video photography as well. I remember thinking, “One day we’ll look back on these endless hours of video and smile.” That happened the other evening.

Recently, I have been going through some unlabeled DVDs. Trying to see if anything had been recorded on them. Then I grabbed a DVD I had seen with the others. To my knowledge, it was a blank disc or a bad burn. How wrong I was! I tried playing the disc on a laptop and then a Blu-ray player, nothing. However, when I popped it into my DVD Recorder, a static-filled screen suddenly morphed into Christmas Day, 1989. That was followed by Easter, Memorial Day, and my oldest son Jeff’s First Haircut and First Birthday Party. Priceless memories, indeed.

My wife and I sat transfixed, watching younger versions of ourselves going through everyday life with our baby. We both had tears in our eyes, as we watched our son lose his curls, then come home from the barbershop a little boy. In addition to that landmark event, we also saw relatives who have since passed on. Watching my Mom holding Jeff was heart-wrenching. When I realized this DVD could easily have been tossed out, it sent a shiver down my spine.

Dear God, NO!

It inspired me to contact one of those video archiving services. They turn your old VHS tapes and photos into a digital format that can be stored in the cloud. There’s no way to put a price tag on those memories, but they try. It’s not cheap. However, when I think about what could have happened to that DVD, that shiver comes back in a hurry.

So if you’re a Baby Boomer like me, don’t forget to preserve your family’s pictures and videos. All it takes is a flood, fire, or hungry VCR, and all your memories could be gone for good. Don’t let that happen to you! Check out the links below, and protect those family archives.

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