A great portion of my youth was spent wincing in anticipation of a flashbulb. "Just one more," insisted my parents, who wanted to make sure they got a photo to commemorate whatever event or rite of passage that was about to pass into memory. Consequently there are dozens of faded pictures that capture less than the joy of whatever moment that happened to be, since we were asked to hold still while that time became another in a series of photo ops. I would like to imagine that this was because my brothers and I were a particularly photogenic group, but that's probably only partially true. It was truly an attempt to capture a moment.
That was the reason for all those home movies as well. Somewhere there is a reel of Super 8 film that was intended to sync up with a cassette tape, both of which were recorded as a legacy of my older brother's appearance on TV with the Boulder High School marching band in the Orange Bowl parade. Why didn't we just push record on the DVR? Or the VCR? Because there was no such animal living in our house back in those days. I am pretty sure that the footage and sound that was taken way back then is still to be found somewhere in the garage of my mother's house, but the projection and playback equipment has been lost to the ages. And yet I still remember the event as it occurred so many Januarys ago.
Which makes me wonder how my family might have behaved in today's age of digital everything. Would we be uploading YouTube clips of our exploits? Dangling selfies on our Facebook page, letting everyone know what a wonderful time we are having at whatever point we decided to press that button? My mother, the woman who took all those pictures for all those years with her trusty Kodak Brownie, still doesn't have a digital camera. She has declined to join that revolution. That's okay, because her sons have. We aren't filling up shoe boxes with our slides and negatives, but we are tracking the progress of our lives in pictures. We're asking a whole new generation to stand still so that we can remember later.