Family history, now available on DVD and VHS
I accompanied a friend to a photography/art shop as she was picking up some framing she had done. While there, she was taking care of her project, but I enjoyed looking around the shop, fascinated by all the things that can be done with photos, as evidenced by examples in the gallery. There were reproduced photos of any size you wished, photos turned into framed artwork, photos on metal, cardboard stand-up persons in the photos, and much more.
As we were ready to leave, the shop owner noticed my interest in the gallery, so he explained the various services he could provide. He ended by saying, "I can also make DVDs from old VHS tapes, so if you have some you haven't seen for a while, bring them in."
That evening I thought more about his invitation. I looked in the box where I had saved a few VHS tapes over the years and selected a couple to get made into DVDs, including a tape of the now long-ago 1989 wedding of a younger brother.
It took just a few days' time to get the DVDs and tapes back, so over a weekend I kept my laptop DVD player busy as I viewed the tapes. I wasn't planning to watch the entire DVDs but just to spot-check what was on each one to refresh my memory, because it had been years since I had seen these.
That strategy worked for three of the four DVDs, but for the fourth — the wedding — I was hooked from the very beginning. While this DVD was a complete record of a wedding, vestibule greeting, pictures taken in church, and reception, I immediately realized that the DVD was much more than just a record of a most special day in the life of a brother and sister-in-law 29 years ago.
This wedding DVD was family history. All our family members had roles in the event. The wedding party included the other three brothers and a sister. I did the music. Mom and Dad, now long in heaven, had starring roles, too. There they were, walking down the aisle, smiling, posing for pictures, greeting guests, and enjoying the reception.
I probably watched that DVD six times over the next few days. Family love loomed large. Each viewing meant I also spotted other relatives who are also now in heaven and who haven't been seen for years.
I'm happy to report that the newlyweds on this DVD are still happily married, celebrating anniversary No. 29 this year. I sent them a DVD copy and they were thrilled to receive it. Their VHS tape had accidentally been recorded over in spots a few years after their first child was born, and they didn't realize there was another copy of the tape.
It was the inspiration of Spirit to have been in the photography shop, to get the invitation about VHS tapes, and to take in a few tapes for DVD formatting. Indeed, how fortuitous to have had a copy of the wedding video. What a blessing to view it, to relive it, and to share it.
[Sister Nancy Linenkugel is a Sylvania Franciscan sister and chair of the department of Health Services Administration at Xavier University, in Cincinnati.]