I finally set up a system to import VHS to my Macbook.
I think there were a lot of reasons that I put it off. One of them was that you have to watch the tapes in real time as they import. I’m so use to download now now now.
But the tapes represent my childhood. The vivid faces of my grandparents. Their voices…. I don’t remember their words clearly anymore. But these brief moments in time are captured on magnetic tape.
I was worried about how deteriorated the tapes may be.
I was worried about how long it would take me.
But those excuses are just…excuses.
Maybe it’s really because as I import these tapes, I cry a little. I dread the drain on my emotions.
My mother’s parents have both died. My father’s mother has also passed on. I cry because these people molded me as a child and they can’t see what I have grown to become (or not become).
My parents and grandparents immigrated to the US from the Philippines. I was born in a military base there as well. They believed the United States was the best place for their children and grandchildren to grow up.
Because of them, I studied hard. It was expected of me. Of all of us. Because of them, I graduated from college and have a career.
The tapes catch them in little moments at parties. Holding babies. Saying something softly – often not to the camera. I don’t think I understood enough Tagalog back then to understand. I can now.
The babies they are holding–my brother, sisters, and cousins– are all long grown. Many of them have children of their own.
I laugh at some of the antics. In the 80′s and 90′s, my cousins and I spent a lot of time unsupervised. Moments of madness, caught, but not forever. Magnetic tape is not amber.
That’s why I’m slowly importing the tapes. I’m making copies of the raw mov files for my cousins.
I wipe away the tears that sometimes leak from my eyes as I glimpse into the past with adult eyes.
I’m glad I’m doing this. – if only to see the warmth in their eyes once more.