Monday, July 20, 2009

Home Movies

When my father died I took possession of dozens of reels of home movies. All silent, all recorded on a 8mm wind-up camera. I also took the film projector so that I could actually look at said reels of movies. Sadly the projector was not in the best shape and alternated between chewing the film and burning it. To avoid ruining more than the few minutes of film I already wrecked I decided the smart thing to do was transfer the reels to a DVD. Did that several years ago... and that was that.

Until the Mac.

Oh yes, Joy's been playing with the film editing again and you poor saps ... I mean, gentle readers... can watch the first of my newly digitized and organized home movies. Right here. Right now.

Okay, so watching other people's home movies may not be the fun you'd think... BUT the reason I chose this particular chunk of memory lane to force your tootsies to walk down is because it's actually a little historic. It takes place at New York International Airport (or Idelwild as it was known) - before it was called JFK International Airport.

From the JFK website
Construction began in April 1942 under a New York City contract for the placing of hydraulic fill over the marshy tidelands on the site of Idlelwild golf course. Initial plans called for a 1,000-acre airport, but it would eventually grow to five times that size. Commercial flights began July 1948. The airport was rededicated on December 24, 1963 as John F. Kennedy International Airport in memory of the nation's thirty-fifth president.
Kennedy International is the United States' leading international gateway. Over 80 airlines operate out of JFK.
This was sometime in the mid-1950s. My mother's sister, Kathleen, had graduated high school, come into a bit of cash (long story) and she and my grandfather were taking a trip to Ireland. I actually still have some souvenirs of that trip, if you can imagine. So for me, this is interesting in that I see my family long before I was born, while my parents were still happy, and on a day that loomed large in the family history. The big 'return' to Ireland. In fact the biggest trip any of them had taken aside from my grandparents' initial emigration from Ireland and my father's tour overseas during the war. Plus it looks a lot like a film-strip from the '50s and that right there is pretty cool. You know, to me.
It may seem odd that my grandmother did not go with them on this trip, but while I don't know for sure, I believe the reason she did not go was because she was one immigrant who did NOT miss her homeland. To her Ireland was a place where she was dead poor, motherless, and "there were chickens running across the kitchen table". My grandfather's experience of Sligo (where they were both from) was a little more upper middle class... i.e. not so much with the livestock in the house.
Thanks for watching, and enduring my home movies. And I hope my mother's deep and life-long adoration of Frank Sinatra makes it okay to have used the song in this little clip. And if anyone's interested Kathleen in the green suit is my aunt (deceased); Kathleen in black is my beloved grandmother (deceased); Barbara is my other aunt; Fred is my story-tellin' grandfather (deceased); Joe is my dad (deceased); Maureen is my mom (deceased). Now ain't that a happy lil' coda? *sigh* I do know how to bring down a room, huh? ;)


LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

A great job! Joe and Maureen look quite sassy, and I love how she clutches that collar with such style. I play a similar role in my family and did a family history epic for the holidays in 2006. I won't bore you with the whole thing, but here are the closing credits

Salty Miss Jill said...

Oh, wow! Terrific editieg job, and thanks so much for sharing this!
Imagine those long-gone days where people actually got dressed to travel. Your family looked very elegant. And happy.

Gary said...


This is truly, truly terrific! It is great to see mom, dad and Aunt Barbara and Aunt Kathleen back in the day (since I met all of them) and to see the grandparents (since I never met them).

Everyone has such a stroll about them, don't they? It's as if they are moving to the music (which is a great choice).

Your editing skills are superior (Lori would be jealous). You are becoming the iMac Queen. LOVE the way you merged the music with the takeoff at the end. Classic.

Buh-Bye Now