Love Letters from WW1

Barbara S. lives in Colorado and is a long-term customer of Life’s Sweet. She has done a series of books with us but one that she especially admired are these love letters. Here is an account of her experience in her own words.

“That day has come, the day I move my mother out of her home of 60 plus years to a retirement village where we can oversee her daily needs and care. My father had passed away several years ago and mother misses him as if it was just yesterday. Along with that comes the salvage and removal of all their belongings that have accumulated over the years. Memories….

As I enter her bedroom I come across the cedar chest that has been in the corner gathering dust and covered in old crocheted afghans. I was always curious as to what my mother hid in her little chest.

Imagine to my surprise and curiosity I came across an old newspaper package wrapped in an old ribbon. As I untied the ribbon, tears formed in my eyes, I was holding “letters of love” that my father had written to my mother while he was stationed overseas during WWI. Letters and postcards stamped with SOLDIERS MAIL. All professing his love for her, his day to day life, rations, snow, cold, so on and so on. He writes about the day he will return to her and they will build their life together. My mother kept all of these and more mementos from this era of time.

I needed to honor my parents and preserve their memories, our family legacy and share with our family, children and grandchildren.

Barbara S.”

Preserving Family Legacy

Transferring Your Old Home Movies Preserves Them

Video technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in the past few decades. Most recently the shift from renting movies from a brick and motor store like Blockbuster, to streaming them directly to your TV or mobile device wherever you are. Not only can you stream movies on your cellphones, you can shoot your own. Was it only 20 years ago that you needed a camcorder to shoot home videos? It’s amazing that almost all the technology we need today, fits in our pocket. But there is a downside to advancing technology; it changes so fast that things become obsolete before you know it. Those home movies of your babies you shot 20 years ago can’t be viewed on the same device you used to record their high school graduation. You have to own an “ancient” piece of equipment to watch those home movies, a VCR.

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Not many households own VCR’s anymore, just like hardly anyone owns a record player. There is a certain market for “vintage” VHS tapes for viewing authenticity.  So what happened to all of the home movies? Did people throw them away? If not, why do so few people own a VCR now? The answer is simple. With the advancing technology, companies created a way to preserve your memories captured on outdated devices. Many families have opted to convert their VHS home videos to DVDs. DVDs are far more durable than the older VHS. If one of your VHS had the tape pulled out or it deteriorated over time, your memories were lost forever. The DVD design is far superior to that of the VHS and it saves a lot of storage space.

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You may be reluctant to convert your VHS home videos to DVDs because of the cost. Surely, it is cheaper to keep an outdated VCR that can be replaced for a few dollars at your local thrift store rather than paying to convert the videos. But VHS to DVD conversion has come a long way since its first appearance, and because of that the prices have dropped drastically. So to answer your question, yes it would be cheaper to buy a $5 VCR from your local thrift store, but your VHS tapes will not last forever. It just takes one bad VCR to ruin a VHS tape and even if that doesn’t happen, time is cruel.

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You and your family will be so grateful for the preserved cherished memories later in life.  Spending a few dollars to convert VHS tapes to DVD, is nothing compared to losing the video of your wedding or child’s first steps.  Those memories are priceless.

Preserving Memories Through Photographs

Whether kinship to you means the family you were born into or the one you have chosen, true kinship never fails. And it needs to be preserved with photographs, because it is one of the only tangible pieces of kinship that we have. So it is important to exist in photographs for yourself and for your family.

There are photos on nearly every surface in our home. It’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door. Canvases, small prints, big prints. Framed pictures on my childhood piano and our fireplace mantle. A photo of my parents on their wedding day. Instant Polaroids taped to our refrigerator. Tiny details like the hands and feet and curly locks on new babies.

You know what I think about often? That one day my children will look for photographs of me and their dad, and us with them. What will they have? It’s easy to get in a cycle of not wanting your photo taken. But life is short — what happens when you’re gone? What will be left of the life and relationships you created?

“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.” – John Lennon

My family loves me, and they want to see our life in photos as much as I do. I want to celebrate this beautiful existence we have built. This is why I take photos constantly, and why I hire photographers I believe in to create these photos that generations of our family will hold onto forever. Because a portrait is more than just a photograph. These photos are more meaningful than anything our family will ever own or vacation we will take or gifts we will buy. These photos, these tangible memories, are the only possible thing we could invest in that will go up in value the way they do.

We’re making sure we preserve these memories for our kids. What’s more important today, in this moment, than photographing your family and friends and existing in photos with them? Preserve kinship through photographs every chance you get.

______

Why Do We Restore Old Photographs?

Photographs are a great way of recording what happens, they can capture a place, events in a place, or people’s lives. Photographs are something that people have used now for over 100 years to record, so they’re really useful when looking at how life has changed. People are more likely to look at the picture than they are to read and they can be so much more descriptive of a place or an event compared to just words.

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Consider which photographs you want to keep, carefully

You don’t need 20 photos showing the same thing, so just keep the best ones unless they’re part of a series chronicling a time or event. The popularity of digital cameras means that there are a lot more photographs being taken. These days, almost everyone has a camera on their mobile phone, so just about any event is being photographed and documented by several people. In the past, it was difficult finding photographs of events but now there’s almost too much being produced and you’re swamped with information.

One problem with photographs when they’ve been used in displays or albums, is they’re often put onto paper or cardboard, which degrades at a different rate to the photograph. They’re also subject to different threats, they absorb moisture differently and are prone to insect damage. If photographs are damaged you don’t necessarily have to write them off. You can send off a hard copy to be restored professionally by Life’s Sweet if it’s a photograph that’s really important to you. We can clean the image digitally and preserve it for you indefinitely.

 

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Insect damage on the cardboard backing of an old photograph