by Drew Martin
Thomas Wolfe's (one of my favorite writers) title You Can Never Go Home Again is a perplexing phrase, and one that sideswiped me earlier today when I finally was able to hook up my old Panasonic video camera to our flatscreen and look at a couple tapes from the early part of the millennium, when our first two (of three) kids were toddlers. The initial feelings of magic and joy from the audio/visual time travel were met later with a general feeling of depression that was generated from the overwhelming flood of emotions and contrasts: we were younger, had less sleep, looked happy then too, had less money, less clutter, etc. It was after our rickety house was freshly painted but before we renovated it, and it was before 9/11. And yes, the grass in the backyard footage was greener (and there was much more of it). It is great having footage from the past but there is also something so haunting about it. I used to love when my father would set up the 8mm projector in our house and we would watch our old home movies on a white wall (with the nail, of the frame that was removed for the makeshift screen, still protruding). The sound was the clattering of the film feed, and there was a smell of the hot projector bulb. Seeing home movies as a kid fueled my childhood and made me feel complete.