My family recently had our old 8mm home movies digitized, so I have been spending the weekend traveling down memory lane. Among the hours of films were many I had seen, some I had forgotten, and many I never knew existed, such as the hard-to-see movies of my wedding. The interior shots were primarily a blur of back except when someone kindly lit up the scene with a flash of a camera. Most of the exterior films were the opposite—so bright that most of the movie was as white as the driven snow.
It was therefore with great apprehension that I played the video of the homecoming of my father’s mother—Baba as she was known to all of her grandchildren. I am happy to report that the film of Baba’s arrival at the airport that January day in 1957 was extraordinarily clear considering the age of the film.
After a quick view of an airplane, the focus was on her smiling face, which was heavily worn by her very painful and heartbreaking life. She was greeted by my father and, well, I just won’t provide any names lest I spoil the story for anyone who has not yet read it!
Knowing what I learned while researching and writing this story, I can’t imagine the relief and joy she must have felt after having been gone from America for so long (26 years) interspersed by the sadness regarding the loved ones she left behind. Thus the tears, smiles, and laughter all wound into 39 brief seconds.