[EDITORIAL NOTE: While I'm in Maine this week, several elderbloggers are taking up the slack for me. Today, Steve Sherlock of Steve’s 2 Cents (and other blogs) is here with a charming story that has become family lore. Please welcome him to Time Goes By and visit his blog(s) too.]
One Mother's Day many years ago when the kids were old enough to do fun stuff, like go shopping for Mother's Day, they skipped out of the house with me.
She likes chocolate, we need to get her this.
Browsing in the Hallmark store for the right card. Crouching down to read the contents to them. They picked the big ones. The colorful ones. And then the One.
This was cool. It had a little button where we could record our own message.
Hey, that's like we just did on the answering machine!
Bright kids, these of ours. We had just moved from New Jersey to Massachusetts and got a new answering machine to record our message. The kids took turns to record the message. It took practice but it was fun recording. Easy enough to delete and start over.
Oh but let's keep that one with the giggles, they'll know it us!
After many tries, we did successfully get one with their voices: "You have reached the Sherlock Family. We can't take your call right now. Please leave a message." Of course, they added their beeps before the machine did its thing. That was okay.
So this was going to be easy. Just push the button and record our Mother's Day message. Push this other button to re-record. They had the concept down. But we only had ten seconds. Yes, just ten. This was not like the answering machine where time was endless, where we could talk and talk... 10 seconds. How long is that for a six-year old and a four-year old? Endless but not long enough.
We need to play some music! She'll like that.
Okay, now how much are we going to put into this message, kids. So we talked about what we would say. We tried it out. Didn't even get past the giggles before the first try ran out of time. We started laughing so hard, it almost didn't matter. We tried again. Got a couple of words in that time.
But I didn't get to say my part!
That's okay, we need to practice some more. We did finally get the message down and eventually agree on the music to add at the end. Yes, the music had to be there.
Fortunately the tape deck was pretty good to handle the cassette tape. (Remember them?) We picked out the section of one of our favorite tapes we wanted to use. It was from Mary Chapin Carpenter's Come On Come On album and the song we wanted to use a piece of was “Passionate Kisses”. We queued it up and had it ready to go.
If I say, and then Carolyn says, you get to say the kissy part.
It went something like that. The recording came out very nicely. All tidied up finally to fit in exactly ten seconds including Mary singing her couple of words: "passionate kisses". She sang them so much better than I could sing them. I was into the doing part, but that is another posting.
The day came. The card was a big hit. Dolores played it over several times. Helped by each of the girls of course. They were so proud of what they had done and well, they should be.
We had to take the card with us to grandma's house to show her and all the family. It was played several times there as well. Cool technology. The little microchip amazed the whole family with 10 seconds of history.
That's all it is now. History. A story for retelling at other family gatherings. A story captured here for a different kind of digital memory. You see, later that day at grandma's, one of the cousins wanted to see how it worked and found the record button. Just like that: the voices, the recording, all gone. Purely unintentional. But gone, none the less.
The girls are grown up now. Allison, a sophomore in college. Carolyn, a senior in high school. Young ladies about to make their mark in the world a lasting one. But in many ways, they already have. Like the recording once upon a time for Mother's Day that is living in memory.