Remember a few weeks ago when my sister was clearing out her boxes of memorabilia and sent me a stack of old family letters? She also sent a handful of old cassette recordings. But since we live in a world of MP3s and streaming radio, I didn’t have a way to listen to them. So I bought a cassette converter machine (which is basically a Walkman with a USB cord) and have started to transfer the old recording into MP3 files.
This morning, I was transported to Christmas morning 1980. I heard the excitement in my six-year-old sister’s voice as she came running down the stairs and saw the pile of presents under the tree. I smiled as we opened up our stockings, unwrapping wind-up toys that I still unpack during the holiday season. I listened as my mom opened the wooden ornaments my sister and I had made for her. I cringed when I heard how high and screechy my four-year-old voice was. That year, we got new boots, rubber stamps, crayons, stuffed animals, and a pair of new red sleds.
It was heartwarming to hear the joy and happiness in my father’s voice as he hummed, sang, and whistled throughout the morning. I loved hearing the old cuckoo clock chime at 10am in the middle of the festivities. (Apparently, we started after 9am because we had all been up late at midnight church service on Christmas eve.) I laughed as my parents repeatedly commented about how cold the room was (being able to see one’s breath when sitting only two feet from the Defiant woodstove) and how my sister and I didn’t seem to notice the chill at all.
Having these recordings, as well as a few old photographs, is as close to a video experience as I will be able to create. The audio helps enhance the experience and makes recreating memories that much easier. I can’t wait to rediscover other Christmas mornings. There are other tapes labeled 1977 through 1982!
~ Phoebe DeCook