I capture things.
I capture things in photographs and video.
I can’t remember not being the capturer of things.
But I don’t think I really knew why. Until today.
I stumbled upon an old video cassette (the VCR kind) while cleaning. But it wasn’t just any video cassette. It was labeled #1… and I knew immediately that this was the first of 3 video cassettes that I had had converted from eighty+ 8 mm reels from my entire childhood.
You see, my Dad believed in capturing things. We didn’t have much money, but my Dad always had a camera and an 8 mm set-up. To capture things.
I stopped my cleaning and went into the bedroom in our home that has the sole remaining television with a built-in VCR thing-a-ma-jig.
I sat on the floor. And I watched. I watched my life unfold. I was 4 years old when my Dad got his 8 mm camera.
It meant something… something beyond words… for my Dad to capture my life and the lives of my 2 brothers.
I smiled. I cried. I laughed. I wondered. I ached. I loved.
The reels are all blended together, chronologically, and filled with birthdays, Christmases, First Communions, first days of school, back yard BBQs, high school dances. And then there are the ordinary days…
One small segment leaped out at me, just like I was still there today. It was footage from one of my favorite childhood places… the Navy Pool in San Diego. I learned to swim there. I played with my friends there. I jumped off my first diving board there. I still remembered my little red and white checked bathing suit from way back then.
I watched, mesmerized. I’m 7 years old again. I have on that red and white checked bathing suit. I’m wearing the required white bathing cap, covering my hair. My goggles are the huge deep-water-diving apparatus kind that could have gotten me to the floor of the ocean and back! My Mom is there, so young and so beautiful. My brothers are there.
And my Dad is behind the camera.
It meant something… something beyond words… for my Dad to capture that day…
The lines of age. The graininess. The silence but for the sound of an old 8 mm reel.
But I was there today. I was in the Navy Pool in San Diego with my beautiful, young Mom and my 2 brothers. I was smiling today at my Dad behind the camera. I felt the water and the tight, tight bathing cap. I saw the brilliant red of my favorite-of-all-time bathing suit. I heard my Mom’s voice cheering us on.
I felt my Dad.
Yes, my Dad captured things.
I capture things.
And I guess it isn’t ironic at all that I stand on the edge of pools on very ordinary days and capture my grandchildren doing the same things I once did. This is 5-year old Alex and 4-year old Ben…
Because it means something… something beyond words.
And as time passes, and as people pass… it will come to mean so much more.
I can’t wait to show my Mom this post.
And to my Dad who is watching from heaven, thank you. Thank you from the depths of my heart for knowing how much this would mean to me some day… both the extraordinary and especially the ordinary days.
This is why I capture things. Now I know…