This post is sponsored by Legacybox.
After my dad died and my mom downsized to an apartment, I inherited multiple bags and boxes of family albums, loose photos, random clippings and mementos. I believe the idea was that as I am laughingly (lolingly) considered to be one of the more "tech savvy" types in the family, I was best suited for the task of scanning and digitizing the sprawling heaps of ephemera.
That...never happened. You're shocked, I know. I went through everything and did my best to sort it into categories, but ultimately it all returned to the various bags and boxes and ended up on a shelf in the basement. A terrible place for such delicate, irreplaceable items, a fact I knew perfectly well (humidity! floods! fire! snakes!) and felt plenty guilty about, but ugh. Where to start? Our scanner is soooooo sloooowwwww and really doesn't do a great job with the older, poorly color-corrected photos, plus there were all kinds of old VHS/video tapes from various camcorders that I didn't know what to do with.
In August of 1997, my dad underwent surgery to remove his larynx due to cancer. The surgeon planned to create a "voice" for him using whatever could be salvaged of his vocal cords, but we didn't really know for sure if that would work or what it would sound like.
Before the surgery, at my request, he recorded this tape for me. It's about 15 minutes of him talking to me, then reading his favorite passages from Shakespeare and the bible.
I listened to it once, maybe twice. It felt...sadder rather than helpful, since his voice was already so hoarse and ravaged and not quite what I remembered.
And then I couldn't listen to it anymore, because it was a cassette tape. I remember trading in an old car and getting behind the wheel of my new one and realizing that I'd just parted ways with the only cassette tape player I owned, and wondered if I should've taken a moment to pop this tape in.
But my dad was still around. With his "new" voice, but one that sounded "normal" to me by that point, so whatever. The tape remained in the bottom of a box, along with extra wedding invitations, old Playbills, photos, etc.
And it was the FIRST THING I thought of when I was asked if I'd like to try out Legacybox.
A kit quickly arrived at my door with detailed instructions. I bagged up photos and newspaper clippings, dusted off old VHS tapes of our wedding and those tiny camcorder cartridges we used to document Noah's first year or so.
(Legacybox can convert just about every format possible, one-stop-shop style, and it felt SO GOOD to know that finally -- FINALLY -- everything worth preserving digitally was getting taken care of all at once, with no more procrastination.)
Ezra was home sick, but rallied to go through my baby album, which he found fascinating.
Here's everything I ended up packing into my Legacybox:
Approximately 100 old family photos, three VHS tapes (two wedding and Noah's 3D ultrasound), two camcorder cassettes and of course, To Amy From Dad.
I dropped it off at the post office with a bit of trepidation (plz don't lose this guys or drop it in a fire pit of snakes okay?) but I was able to safely track the package from delivery through the entire conversion process at the Legacybox website using my order number. It arrived back at my house in no time, filled with all my originals and a nice clean stack of CDs and DVDs.
And there it was.
It took me a couple days to work up the nerve to listen to this. I was afraid I'd cry, or be devastatingly sad for awhile, or maybe it would just feel kind of strange and morbid, like the way I felt visiting his grave.
I finally took a deep breath and slipped it into a laptop drive.
And there he was. Talking to me. Reading to me. Telling me he loved me.
Jason and I got married almost exactly one year after my dad's throat surgery. His "new" voice was very rough and raspy, and he'd be prone to throat problems and coughing fits for the rest of his life.
He still read 1 Corinthians 13 out loud at our wedding.
Thank you so, so much to Legacybox for sponsoring this post and for offering such an amazing service. (and for letting me send you SO MANY MANY THINGSSSS).
Have your own backlog of precious irreplaceable memories to digitize into this current century? The first 50 people who enter the code AMALAH at checkout will receive 40% OFF their first Legacybox. Go, go!