Deja vu

by sam on 06/30/2005

My latest computer project is less about the internet and more about family. When I was a kid, my dad had a Super 8 camera that he was pretty addicted to, and filmed tons of movies of my mom, myself and all of their friends when they were young (my personal favorite shot of course is my mother, 8 months pregnant with me, at her baby shower, with a cigarette permanently attached to her hand). About 15 years ago, my mom had all of these films converted to videotape, because we just had no means of watching the old reel-to-reel 8mm film anymore. I, of course, realizing that video is worse than 8mm film for preservation purposes, have meant for some time to take the videos and digitize them. We finally found them over Memorial Day weekend, and one MovieBox purchase later they were all on my computer (or, more realistically, my external backup drive since there’s about 35GBs of material). The picture quality is terrible, and my next purchase will probably involve FinalCut Express or something else like it because iMovie just doesn’t have the tools needed to restore the images.

Anyway, the actual reason for my post. On one section of the tapes was footage from a trip my folks took with me when I was three. My dad’s best friend got a job driving a van across the country, so my parents (being much more carefree back then) grabbed my 3-year-old self and decided to go with him. Some of my first memories involve this trip, but they’re really just fragments, some of which may actually be memories of watching the playback of these films when I was young. So I’m chopping up the video into separate clips because they were all jumbled together, out of order, when they were put on video, and I come across this image from the trip:

And I’m looking at it thinking that it looks really familiar.

And I realize, after a minute, that I was standing in almost the exact same spot, on a balcony in the same hotel, where I stayed when I went to visit my brother this past February:

Almost everything else has changed, but the pool and that building with the angled roof (on the right side of the image) are still there. My parents were obviously in a room much closer to the pool, but otherwise, it’s the same place (other footage also confirms what the balcony looked like, so it was definitely the same place). This past season was that hotel’s last, and they’re tearing it down to build a Four Seasons. It was kind of a dive (a cleaner and more comfortable dive than my brother’s couch, however), but I imagine that 30 years ago it was pretty much the only game in town.

It’s just weird when these little moments from your past and present coincide. I mean, my brother wasn’t even born for 3 more years after the first image, yet he was the reason for my (second) trip.

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