Tuesday, December 30, 2008
During my visit to my mom over Christmas I decided to go through a couple of boxes in her garage. Even though she moved into her house several years ago, she hasn't gone through all the stuff we initially piled in during the move. I thought I would help her out by taking a box or two and organizing it.
I mostly focused on boxes from my grandparent's house because they were the most interesting. They contained things I had never seen before. I never met my grandparents before they passed away (I met my grandmother, who married my grandfather after my maternal grandmother passed away) and so what they left is really all I have to know them by. In the box I found that day there were several smaller boxes of jewelry. They were my grandmother's. I had a friend who collects antique and costume jewelry look them over and she was surprised to find so many pieces in good condition.
Another box contained my grandpa's pins from WWII. He was a medic stationed in the Aleutian Islands for a while and the brass pins had images of the snake and staff as well as two flags my friend thought might be Masonic symbols.
The most intriguing item was a white roll of 8mm film. My mom's name was written on it, but that was it. A year or so ago I had bought a projector that could play the film, but when I had turned it on the light bulb hadn't worked. Last night I decided to play around with the projector just to see how the film would fit. To my surprise, when I pushed the switch to turn the bulb on, it actually turned on. I needed to have it in a certain position. It took Joey and me a while to figure out how to put the film in. It's funny to think that this procedure would have been commonplace at one time but is so rare now that few people can do it. We finally threaded the film through the projector and turned the machine on. We dimmed the lights and focused the image on a white piece of paper.
The film showed my mom running around with a chihuahua at the house she grew up in in Sugarhouse. I could see the small trees in the front lawn that would be tall by the time I visited my grandmother. There were also scenes of my grandfather and the grandmother I knew. He looked exactly like his pictures. He had on a suit and tie and she had on a white dress with buttons. They were walking around the front lawn. The projector would only work in slow motion so their movements were slow and gradual. This was the first time I had seen my grandfather actually moving. Because I had only seen him in photographs I thought of him as being quite static. When I saw him on the film for the first time moving and smiling, it seemed really natural to me. Even though I never met him in person I know I would recognize him in anything.
I really enjoyed watching it. I hope I can find more films of my grandparents because I feel like I know them better just by watching the films.