As a pandemic-compatible project, I have been doing some work with video, including my family’s old 8mm movies. Projecting these movies was always an occasion, with multiple people gathered. It began with the ritual of setting up the projector and the screen and getting the film threaded into the projector. The pause to rewind each three-minute reel gave everyone a chance to post their review in real time.
On family road trips, both my grandmother and my dad would make a point of stopping at any Civil War sites we passed. In the photo above, I am with Gramma at the Vicksburg National Military Park. She is posing me next to a plaque about an Illinois unit, because I was born in Illinois. (I am all enthusiasm, clearly.) In this movie, Dad is commemorating a battle in the siege of Atlanta. At the time he was filming, I don’t know if he was aware of his great-grandfather’s connection to the siege, which I describe in the narration.
My connection to the movie turns out not to be what I thought it was.