This was in my potential blog posts, dated March 23, 2016 at 1:10 PM – and I had forgotten most of it:
“While I was napping, I was overcome with memories – memories which I am terrified of losing from my head, memories I haven’t shared or saved or written down, memories that will come from the detritus of making ourselves small to move to a CCRC*, and which I have no time to save right now.
“Memories which might be read to me in the nursing home so they would spark real memories.
“It is a huge project, even writing down what I do remember, and asking those people who still remember some of the pieces to tell me those pieces.
“The present could take so much time in locking down those memories, time I won’t have while I can still DO some things, still create a few more.
“Today I went out for daffodils, brought some in, and wonder if I took energy I don’t have – or released some restlessness that needed a place.
“And here I am writing – that takes more time.
“MY memories. For me. For our kids. But mostly for me, though I want to give them theirs – and Gary is NOT getting back to me with the digitized videotapes**.
“And I don’t have time this week anyway.
“One more thing for the To Do list.
“I could at least start, ‘An annotated Life,’ as a Scrivener project. DONE”
What you don’t write down may disappear
*A CCRC is a Continuing Care Retirement Community – and we’re planning to move to one as soon as our last chick is settled. I need the pool and gym facilities, and we need to be free of the not-fun-anymore chores of taking care of a house and yard and having to drive around for the doctor appointments.
They are not for everyone – and they are sort of permanent, so we will choose carefully.
My main concern will be quiet, and congenial people to do things with. After this last election cycle, we will be VERY careful in picking the state as well as the people.
There is something like a 50% chance of developing dementia if you live to 85, which is a sobering thought for a couple.
I’ve seen amazing things done for people with memory problems, which include photos, music, and other memory triggers. But you have to pick a place which will do that.
Before they get any older
**Even though it was a lot of work, and I was always exhausted, I took the darned camcorder everywhere, forced people to smile for the camera or the recorder.
But I never had energy for the next part: moving those precious memories to newer storage methods, making copies, annotating the contents beyond the label on the spine of the tape cassette.
By the time I really started panicking, 30 years had passed, and I had at least 18 tapes in everything from Beta to Super Hi8 (no digital!). Through Thumbtack, after posting a project, I found a person not too far away who seemed to understand what I wanted, and could do it: digitize those memories onto a state of the art hard drive.
Gary, of Films-4-good, did a wonderful job, but he had to fix our camcorder and find a beta machine (because the ones we thought we’d preserved were dead), so it took a while – and I felt the pressure of having those carefully saved memories out of my house.
They are safe now. We have five copies on five hard drives, so each kid has one – and therefore it is offsite storage. Phew! Annotation may take a while – even watching them will take a while – but the main part of the chore is done, and the relief is enormous.
Gary also processed the Butcher family movies, narrated by my Dad who is no longer with us, so I have digitized home movies and footage from the turn of the century. The TWENTIETH century – and the time of Mexican dictator Don Porfirio Diaz, with scenes from Mexico City back then, and my great-grandfather Nicolás García Colín and my great-grandmother Rosario.
Don’t delay – and keep updating.
***Pride’s Children is on sale at Amazon for the ridiculous price of 0.99 until Jan. 30.***