Watching Old Family Movies

We watched old home movies last night – and I do mean old. We started with the Gisselquist Family Memories, the old Super 8 mm film transferred to VHS in the 1980s. It was fun, if a bit disjointed. Unlike modern video documentation of family events where you capture every memory, the Gisselquist Family Memories hops from major event (birthdays, baptisms, Christmas, Easter, Halloween) with perhaps a few extras thrown in – a big snow, a wonderful summer day with a “sea of blond heads”, as my Dad used to say, running through the neighborhood.

Speaking of my Dad: the first several times he appeared on screen I felt myself choke up, whether tears of sadness or joy it’s hard to say. I finally got used to seeing him appear with me on screen.

John-John thought I looked the same – and he shared this comment from the start – when I was less than a year old. I guess we all eventually come full circle, and my hair line is doing its part to bring me back to the beginning.

What’s missing from the old Gisselquist movies? What I wouldn’t give for sound! I’d love to hear what I sounded like as a little kid, or what my Dad and Mom are saying to me. It would be great to hear Paul and I talking back and forth, ages 3 and 6. The scenes at family reunions at Lake Nokomis or Minnehaha Falls with dozens of cousins running back and forth cry out for sound. But we didn’t have sound in the “old days” – at least not on the home movies. So you’re left with the musical sound-track which is decidedly more late disco-tinged pop from the early 1980s.

It’s past time to take the old film canisters out again, this time for DVD production. I’ll ask for a more appropriate early to mid 1960s soundtrack this time – maybe suggest the tunes myself.

I would also like to have seen more of the older relatives, aunts and uncles, both grandmas, and especially my paternal grandfather – who only passes through once.

After Gisselquist Family Memories, we brought out some newer video – Christmas through June 2002. I’m embarrassed how much I forgot. I think I have a good memory, but time and again, I found myself not remembering (at first) various scenes. Now – the morning after – I can’t get them out of my mind and even more details are rushing back to fill in the blanks.

It was weird to hear Maria’s voice back then – amazing we didn’t have her evaluated for a speech issue – or maybe that’s just normal cutesy 4 to 5 year old talk.


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