The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Dear Readers - Save Memories

By Susan M. Thigpen © 1989

Issue: February, 1989

Recently my daughters, my grandchildren and my parents and I got together at my sister's home and watched old home movies from my childhood. The movies were made from the mid 1950's to the early 1960's. There was a measure of the usual sun glare, tops of heads missing from the picture and other things that all home movies suffer from, but no one even noticed. We were all caught up in our travel back through time.

The passing of the last thirty years, in my mind, has been a brief one. Much of it is so fresh in my memories that it seems as though it were only yesterday, not over a quarter of a century past.

As I watched those films, it was a joyful reliving of those times by all of us. Our children laughed at our hair styles and clothes and teasingly called my sister and me "Laverne and Shirley." My five year old grandson was thoroughly confused at trying to sort out who was who in the films. He really couldn't believe that baby who looked so much like him was his mother.

In a matter of one hour's time, I saw myself change from a young teenager to a wife to a new mother. I saw my grown daughters as babies again and wanted to reach right through the screen and hold them again.

It was only the realization that my parents, in the movies, were nearly the same age as I am now that brought home the passage of time.

One film made me want to lace up my old roller skates. In another film of a family vacation, I wished I could once again dive into the lake on a hot summer day. In another film, it was Christmas and there was my grandfather and aunts who have passed away. In the film we were all together and so happy.

I realize I'll never roller skate again in all probability. It's a foolish thought, one which I do not really give serious consideration. Giving up roller skating is only one of life's little adjustments. We change and adapt constantly as the years roll by, usually without so much as a conscious effort.

Logically, time marches on, but I am glad I can go back to those days anytime I want and relive precious moments exactly as they were on those few reels of film.

I encourage you to preserve moments now. A quarter of a century later in your life will find you wishing you had. Whether it is in the form of a home video, a tape recording (perhaps of your children's first words or your grandmother's memories), or a hand written journal, there will come a day when you will be glad you did.

The memories and events you have recorded will become a treasure to your family for all time to come.