These days we take for granted the ease in which we document and share our memories. With digital cameras, smartphones and flip video we can share a moment in real-time with our entire network of friends and family without giving it much thought. Our children do not know a time when photos and videos were not shared before the sun rose on another day.
But back in 1974, just one lone Yale film student was cool enough to have a Super 8 camera at the summer camp I have written about so lovingly before. And that super(8), cool guy just happened to be my husband’s co-counselor and dear friend. As luck would have it, this Time to Cry Tuesday happens to be his birthday. So, Steve, this one is for you.
After thirty-five years, most probably buried in a box at his parent’s house, Steve uncovered an artifact like no other. The very Super 8 film that he shot in the summer of 1974. He burned a bunch of DVDs of that most incredible piece of history and shipped it back east to those of us that he knew would love it the most. Thanks to Dr. Jimmy as courier, we are now in possession of a copy of these 55 precious minutes from the past.
For those who have not read my gushing posts about this very special sleepaway camp, it is a place where 3 generations of my family have attended (yes, my mom went there). So did my husband, his siblings, my cousin as well as both our kids. The friends we made there are counted amongst some of our closest friends today, and their children are friends with ours. Ok, so my daughter’s boyfriend is the son of one of them, too. There it is all out in the open. One big happy family.
We watched this amazing footage with our son the other night. His love for the place is as strong as ours. And there, in silence as there was no soundtrack on Super 8, were the younger versions of ourselves and people we have known for all these years. To see the place in action, as it was back then, was such a gift. Not just to ourselves, but to our son as well. He hears the stories and knows the way we feel about the place, but for him to see that history come to life was such a joy. There we were, his age! Seeing not what has changed so much as what has remained exactly the same – the essence of the place. The traditions. The love. The complete and utter freedom to just BE. And do it with passion.
This young man of a generation that documents every move it makes stopped and sat in awe of a generation that was so very lucky to have that one lone Yale film student who took the time to painstakingly piece together that carefree summer for all eternity. In his own words:
I can’t believe it’s been hidden as if in the Grateful Dead vault for 35 years. But as that was my last summer of camp, it’s frozen in time for me there. I remember the fall of ’74… I spent three months cutting the thin little slivers of Regular 8 film on a tiny film viewer and splicing them together with tape.
Thank you, dear birthday boy, for giving us all back that magical summer, and letting us share it with our children.