Saturday, August 1, 2009

Preparing for a Sentimental Journey

I’m excited about our up-coming family reunion. The Frieze Family hasn’t been altogether in more years than I can remember. Doubtless there will be a few missing, but we are anticipating some 30 people to arrive at my aunt and uncle’s house in Shelton on August 8th. Compared to my husband’s family that is a pittance. The Haecks get together regularly and Christmases alone are usually 46 now with my granddaughter Lydia. The Friezes, on the other hand, are dispersed well enough and the product of my grandparents five children, compared to my in-laws seven, that we are seldom altogether in one place as we were in the days of my childhood.

Last summer I had my father’s home movies put on DVD by an outfit in Florida which I would not recommend. The frustrating process took three months instead of the promised three weeks and the result was lousy. I have no interest in turning over my father’s 16 mm film to those people again and was just grateful just to get the reels back. If you have home movies that you wish to preserve, find a company that is local. The biggest problem I faced with the movies is that my usually meticulous engineer father did not put the dates of the film on the cans so the DVD ended up higglty pigglty. If you are in the market for preserving your family home movies look for someone local and with more than their own website to recommend them.

This actually brings me back to the pending reunion. There are clips on my father’s home movies of my aunts, uncle, cousins and grandparents. There are scenes of us five older cousins in 1953 at a summer picnic in my grandparent’s back yard in Vancouver, WA. My favorite frame is of my grandfather standing with four of us grandchildren in his wheel barrow and the oldest standing between the handles. There are clips of us picking strawberries on my uncle’s farm on Whidbey Island in the 1960s and of the ‘babies”—the cousins that came along in that decade. There is even a “reel” of my very young not-yet-my-parents on Guam in 1946. Color 16 mm film was expensive and precious so my father’s clips were only about a minute a piece.

I spent Thursday watching this silent DVD (the idiots at Florida Home Movies were supposed to add the sound of a projector and didn’t), pausing when I found something I thought the family would enjoy to note the minute, before going on. I have a list of the places where there are things that might interest my cousins. Out of an hour and a half there’s about 20 minutes of the DVD that I think my cousins will be interested in (not counting a segment that is of a test flight of the B52), but those brief scenes from when our parents and grandparents were alive and young are cherished, perhaps because of their scarcity.

My next project toward our family reunion is baking a batch of my grandmother’s pineapple cookies.


Grandma L said...

Family reunions are fun. Sounds like you have enough coming to round up a baseball team.

Stephanie Frieze said...

If my husband can get some time off from work I am sure he'd be happy to organize it. Otherwise my cousin said she and her husband are bringing "lasso golf," whatever that is. I'm not sure but what I will need a Stetson for that instead of a baseball cap!

Jo said...

I envy you your large extended family, ready and willing to travel to get together. I am the only one from my family on the west coast, and none of them plan on leaving the east coast! What an adventure you have coming up, what stories will be told, and memories shared. Enjoy.

Stephanie Frieze said...

I don't know how ready, willing and able my family is. This was 15 years in the making. One cousin I've not seen in 30 years. All of this is the reason that I doubt if it will ever happen again. But hey, who knows...maybe they will have a good enough time, that ain't happening.