Wednesday, February 8, 2006


I did a video history of my Father a few years before he died. I came back home  that year with the intention of transferring the tapes but they stayed stored and forgotten until yesterday.

The tapes are a treasure because I can see and hear my daddy talk to me 10 years after his death.

I am in the process of transferring those memories from tape to DVD and spent most of the afternoon watching the  forgotten tapes, laughing and crying.

I remember the week that I went to visit my daddy with my video camera in hand. I wanted to save his voice and his verbal history for my children and their children. At the time, I didn't realize how important those tapes would become. I lived in the same house with my dad for 18 years and visited after that but we never sat down and really talked about his life.

I set the video camera on the table in his kitchen that day and started the tape.I started and stopped the camera with my remote control. Daddy soon forgot the camera was rolling as I asked him about his first memories and his growing up years. I asked him about his father and grand father who died before I was born and his brothers and sisters. For some reason, I never knew that there were 12 children in his family.

I asked him about the first time that he saw my mother. His eyes filled with tears and he said that she was the most beautiful woman that he had ever seen. He remembered that she wore a blue dress with tiny pink flowers on it. He talked about her beautiful smile and blue eyes that danced with laughter and mischief.

I learned so much about my daddy from the tapes that I did that week so long ago.

I saw a side of him that he kept well hidden when I was growing up.

I asked him if he remembered the day that I was born, if he was disappointed that I was the 3rd girl. Why he named me Mary Louise. I asked if I looked like his mother who died before I was born. I asked what I was like as a baby and toddler.

So many questions that I had never taken the time to ask.

One of the last tapes that I reviewed made me tear up and smile at the same time.

There was Peggy, sitting at the kitchen table with Daddy. I heard her voice as she asked him questions and laughed. I watched as they interacted. I kept rewinding and rewinding the tape to see Peggy's smile and to see Daddy as they joked and laughed.

Two people that are gone from my life today.

Two people sitting at a kitchen table talking about  their lives and remembering.

I kept rewinding the tape to hear their voices and see their faces.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could rewind our lives to a day in the past and live those moments again in the present.

That is not possible but I can see my daddy and hear his voice anytime that I want and I can also see and hear Peggy the way that I remember her.

If you have parents, grand parents that are still with you make sure you do a video history starting with their earliest memories.

I learned so much from the tapes that I did so long ago and with the maturity of today, I thought of more questions that I wished that I had asked like,

What was Christmas like when you were a child?

But I did ask and get answers to many questions.

I learned about a beautiful woman who was wearing a blue dress with tiny pink flowers on it in 1935.

For one afternoon in February 2006, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my daddy and Peggy again, laughing, talking and remembering.

It was a nice afternoon.

I Love You Today, Peggy!

Mary Louise



wendy4145 said...

That is terrific advice!  I will do that!


barbpinion said...

I don't have tapes of my mother or father so made sure I have made them for my children. I also fill cassette tapes from time-to time, with me talking to them about life, God, faith, their problems, their children, self-esteem, sharing, ....just anything that crosses my mind. They tell me those tapes are their most loved and treasured gift from me. I wish I could see a video of my father and mother. I don't - but am so glad that you do.

siennastarr said...

ML.. this entry brought tears to my eyes.  My mother died when I was just 24 years old, and of course, who thinks of doing something like that when your mother is only 56 years old, and her dying at that young age, and unexpectedly, is not something you even thought about.
I just left an entry in my journal about how I can't remember the sound of my mothers voice anymore.  I can still her face and her hands, but I cannot, for the life of me, remember the sound of her voice.
What a wonderful idea...   I hope others take you up on that suggestion.  It's certainly an excellent one!

God Bless,

scaptainscreamer said...

That's a great idea. I noticed last year that my father starting talking to me about his childhood and that he would like to visit the places he lived as a child, we still haven't done it but I will take your advice and get the camera out. My dad is 72 and well although he had bowel cancer in 2004,this is why I think he started to think about his life. Thanks for sharing, it really moved me. I work in mental health and know how difficult it is for families of those with alzheimers, you are grieving for someone who is still here. In Britain the government are stopping giving the anti dementia drugs to those in the mild to moderate stage of their illness - it has caused quite a furore here qite understandably. All the best, Suzy x

urbannote said...

that's a superb idea..I'm inspired by the way you choose to keep your Dad's memory alive. It's beautiful to me.

pharmolo said...

It is something that anyone with a sense of family should do. It applies also to those who hold memories of perhaps a fading culture, of songs, stories &c. Passing on stories to the next generation is as old as humanity itself. In your case is was even more poignant because two people are no longer there; either physically (in the case of your father) or mentally (in the case of your sister). Good work.

caragricke said...

Now I am in tears.  I am so thankful you recorded daddy's history.  I treasure the video of Olive Hill, Ky and our tour of the town that daddy took BJ, Beth and I on. I never knew that about Mother and the dress.  Every once in a while I think "why didn't I ask about.......but I didn't.  I can't wait to see Daddy again and her Peggy's laugh. Thank you so much for the journal.   caragricke (Barbara)

lowis6535 said...

I know you like taking photos ... me, too.  It is just so marvelous to hold in your hand  a special moment frozen in time. I scrolled thru the pix of your Daddy.  In the course of my family genealogy project, I want to make up a family history album, & make up CD's for everyone, too.  I would invite you to read one of my online tributes that I am wont to write up as a tribute to those who have passed on.  This particular entry would pertain to you and your sister, tho she is not actually dead ... It is YOUNG FOREVER at  
Some of my other tribute entries there might have messages, also.

motoxmom72 said...

Mary Louise......what a fabulous idea!  We have old movies with out sound (music was dubbed in thanks to my brother) that were transferred from the big projection tapes to VHS tapes.  I want to transfer them to DVD.  I also want to pull out the video camera and "interview" my mom, aunt and great aunt to get as many family details as I can.  Thanks.  Hopefully I can get something together for Mother's Day.  That's a perfect women's get together day.  Have a great day.  I'm not giving up on Peggy and saying a prayer for you and your family!