Sunday, October 18, 2009

Voices From The Past

I came across a recording this week quite unexpectedly which plunged me immediately into the past. It was one of those instances in your life that you cannot foresee and are so grateful for afterward. But before you listen, I must give you a bit of background on how I came across it in the first place.

Back in the early 1980s while attending a local bible study, my mother and father made a number of cassette recordings of a well-known preacher. Needless to say, thirty years later these cassettes are rapidly decaying. So for a number of weeks now, I have been transferring these recordings onto compact discs. We have this amazing machine to do the job which only requires me to press a few buttons.

Having already done a dozen of these old cassettes, I placed in another labeled with the preacher's name and the number eight, it being the eighth in this particular series (but not the eighth one I've done). I was all prepared to hear the usual opening sequence, check my recording EQs and move on to another task while the machine does its magic.

But what I heard in the first seven minutes of that tape was not what I expected at all. Instead out came these voices from my past, my great-grandmother and great-grandfather, her daughter, my grandmother, my dad, and in the background my brother and I. I cannot fathom how this recording, dated June 2, 1979, remained on my mother's shelves for thirty years, unharmed. And when I think of how all this time has passed, yet those voices - my great-grandmother, great-grandfather and grandmother - all gone, still remain as fresh as they did all those years ago.

The recording also contains me, at age eight, singing a song we had learned in the children's choir at church, and then my brother and I playing the piano for our assembled relatives. (I have only included the first portion of the piano portion of the recording, as it is quite lengthy.)

I know I am fortunate to have found this recording as so many others would wish they could do the same. I have placed it into a video I created (below) along with a few photos of the participants around about that date. However, I would tell you that this video is not meant so much to be visual as it is to give you a chance to experience what I did, even in a small part. I hope you enjoy it.

It is available in two formats, for the best view visit the Photodex link below.

It is also up at Webshots.


Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

1 comment:

Dave said...

I have done a similar thing, but using reel to reel tapes. It took me a while to find someone who had a reel to reel player. The recording was of my grandmother's memorial service in 1968. I know my parents have other reel to reel tapes somewhere which probably have me on them. Someday I'll digitize those.

It sounds like you are interested in your "roots". One thing I would highly recommend to do ASAP is to interview your oldest relatives with the camcorder recording. I did this with my grandparents a number of years ago and those tapes are priceless to me now. e.g. my grandfather had an album of old family photos, none of which were labeled. I turned on the camcorder and had him go through the album and talk about the pictures. It was awesome! You can use a list of questions like this to help get you started:

Thanks for sharing!

Dave (via the naturerecording list)

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