The weight of the past and the preservation of memories.
We often talk about how memories can be a burden on our psyche but have you ever thought about how much time, effort and space goes into maintaining your pictures, videos and other memorabilia? Please don’t get me wrong I am not someone running from my past or wanting to start my life over at 57 and forget everything that has preceded this very moment- that would have been easy. Burn it- bury it lose it- recycle itI Unfortunately, fortunately who knows- I am probably one of the most sensitive people you would ever meet. I cry at Maxwell house coffee commercials for god’s sake. I love my past – I love my family- I love remembering Christmas’, parties, weddings and birthdays. The reason this came to the forefront of my brain was due to the impending EXTREME downsize. In the past roughly two years we have moved from a 2700 square feet house with a ‘carriage house’ apartment to around a 400 square feet RV- period. While purging has been very therapeutic and needed in some areas- who needs 6 sets of sheets- or 27 beach towels?- It has been very difficult in the area of pictures, photo albums ,video tapes and memorabilia in general. Today I am not going to address the maintenance of such items as baby teeth, diplomas, pasta pictures etc., that’s a whole other discussion, this is just about pictures and video tapes.
Since they are physically heavy and take up a lot of room they had to be dealt with- BUT I don’t want to lose things that are precious. I know everyone is different so to give you an idea of the volume of items we were dealing with I tried to keep an accurate account. My husband and I were the caretakers of over 7000 photos in various conditions. Some loose some in frames and some in books. We also had approximately 65 video tapes of differing types and time lengths. Birthdays, weddings, little league, first days of school, graduation, school plays…. After some research and discussions with this is what I discovered. I could pay a service to digitalize the photos for me such as fotobridge.com. They have a package for 5000 photos digitalized at 300 dpi for $729.95. For those of you that are not tech savy- 300dpi is ok but not great -600dpi is better and $730 is a lot of money! Another option – CVS will convert for $25.99 for the first 30 images, 59¢ each additional images- that’s over $4000. Video tapes were just as bad. The cheapest service I found was $12.95 each – around $840 for the video tapes. So to recap- I could pay someone around $5000 and be done with it. OR, I could do it myself.
HOW? We purchased an ‘Epson FastFoto FF‑640 Document Scanner’ from Best Buy for $579 plus tax and spent about 30 hours total- 2 hours a night after work for a couple of weeks and the better part of a rainy Saturday and scanned all the pictures we had in our possession. Then I backed them up on two external drives and very non-ceremoniously trashed them. Even I wonder if someday I will regret that decision. The videotapes were more difficult. Geez what a beating! We bought a
‘Diamond VC500 USB 2.0 One Touch VHS to DVD Video Capture Device’ from Amazon for $36.99 plus tax. The way this works, briefly, is that you connect one part of the cord to your computer and the other part to a VCR. The bad thing is that you have to play the tape in real time for it to record. Trust me it takes a lot of time! You can start it and leave it which is what I did. I didn’t track my time on this project. It took a lot of time but most is hands off- just baby sitting and checking it. Not difficult and now I have lost more weight than I can imagine.
Now that the work is done I can say I am glad that we put forth the effort to preserve the precious memories. I can also say I lost some weight! Just not the body fat I was hoping.