VHS Camcorder Tape

Relationship: Im/migrant

My object is a true relic of a forgotten time: a vhs tape with a home movie from the 1980s on it. I no longer even have a VCR in which to watch this tape, but no matter how many times I clean out my closets, I never get rid of it.

My whole family lives out in California.  I moved across the country from them 10 years ago.  On a visit home I found this old tape in a box in the attic.  I popped it into a vcr.   Suddenly there was the outside of the old house we moved out of when I was 8.  In the driveway, on a beautiful CA summer day, my oldest brother was washing my mom's red Subaru Station Wagon (he was excited to earn $5 for his labor).  Stairway to Heaven was playing on my brother's huge 1980s boombox as he sprayed my other brother, the wild one, who was climbing the Magnolia tree in our front yard (a year later he would fall out of that tree, breaking his arm).  The camera pans to me, who true to form, is sitting on the grass reading a book and eating the last of my In n Out burger, long after the rest of my family has finished their lunch.

I took the tape back with me to NYC.  Many times a year I would watch it when I missed my family/longed for simpler times.  I haven't been able to watch it for years now but having seen it so much I can play the scenes out in my mind.  One day I'll get it converted to a format that is watchable, but in the meantime just having possession of this object makes me feel less disconnected from my family, my CA roots, and my childhood.  

Place(s): California
Year: 2007

– Ryan Lockwood

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant