One of Hubs' nephews found a huge box of Super 8 reels in the shed while visiting my in-laws at their cottage last fall. After receiving permission from the in-laws to take them home, he had them remastered and converted into DVDs for the family.
Last Sunday night, we were at our sister-in-law's birthday party and we watched the videos, which were absolutely priceless. We watched the 1970s footage first, most of it consisted of Hubs' infancy up until his first haircut at the barbershop in 1976 - thankfully he behaved himself and didn't cause a crying scene! So cute! The 1970s footage was like scenes out of The Wonder Years (remember that show?) Hubs' siblings would have been elementary school age to high school age then -- the kids were so creative! They put together a hilarious Star Wars skit complete with costumes, and they also put on a skit of the closing ceremonies from the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. There were many scenes of Ukrainian dancing footage as Hubs' sister and brother competed in Ukrainian dancing for years, as well as footage of all the cousins playing together while the grown-ups visited in the house.
Hubs' siblings remember how they used to play outside for hours and hours, sometimes with supervision, most times not. They would be called in for supper, then they would play outside again right after, usually up until bedtime.
Our sister-in-law now lives in the house that Hubs grew up in. When my in-laws retired to their cottage, she and my (now deceased) brother-in-law bought the house from them. My in-laws bought the house new in 1963, so it was fascinating to see how the house (and house decor!) evolved from then until now...oh yes, the living room had the orangey-red thick shag carpet and floral furniture in the 1970s, and the walls were covered in striped, velvet-y feeling wallpaper. My mother-in-law had beautiful flowers everywhere in the front yard and in the backyard. My in-laws had converted their garage into a big family room, as their family was huge and they were always entertaining people. It was interesting for me to see the house new with the garage!
Then we watched the 1960s footage, which was even more fascinating. My in-laws were newly married then and had four kids by 1961. (Three more children followed thereafter). The early 1960s reels were straight out of an episode of Mad Men: my mother-in-law was glammed up in every shot (she had major style!), everyone including the kids wore nice clothes, the men wore dress pants and dress shirts with skinny ties, everyone paid attention to how they dressed. On Easter Sunday, all the women wore hats. The kitchen was very retro with 1950s green painted walls and everyone piled around the dining room table; eating and drinking and smoking (sometimes right in the kids' faces!) Most of the older people in the videos are now deceased, but Hubs' older siblings remember the family members.
The colours in the videos are very bright. I was impressed by the quality. Of course with Super 8, there is no sound, but you can just imagine what everyone must have been saying if you know their personalities. There was one funny scene of Hubs' oldest sister C dragging little Hubs around on a sled around the backyard in winter, and he kept falling out....of course we all piped up in screechy voices "Get back on that damn sled!!" when C would help him get back on the sled. C sat there, nodding and laughing as that was probably what she would have said! (You could see it on her face in the footage...hehe)
And the smoking!! Mad Men has it completely accurate when they show the amount of smoking everyone did back then. In almost every single scene we watched, at least one person was smoking....most times when the kids were around. We laughed at one scene that seems absurd to us now -- my mother-in-law was sitting in the backyard one sunny afternoon, cradling my then baby sister-in-law L and smoking one cigarette after another, Betty Draper style...while all the kids played in the backyard.
There are a few more videos to watch, we didn't get through it all on Sunday night but I am looking forward to seeing the rest. So entertaining!