Sometimes the best memories are the ones you didn’t even know you had…or thought you’d never see again!
I remember visiting my mom a few years back when she gave me a couple of shoeboxes filled with a bunch of black & white photos, some negatives, and a couple of reels of film. They were of her and her brother and sister when they were kids but they were mostly of her parents and grandparents. They were timeless!
She was concerned that by the time her grandchildren were old enough to appreciate the photos & film of their distant relatives they’d be too faded and degraded to enjoy.
She wanted to do something with them but like most people, she just kept putting it off because she didn’t know where to start. She actually put everything in plastic Ziploc baggies hoping that would help preserve them.
Unfortunately, my mom passed away unexpectedly a few months after that visit. It wasn’t until a couple of months ago that I was able to bring myself to start going through everything.
That’s when I found a photo album at the bottom of a box buried under some old hand-knitted blankets and embroidered doilies. I guess my mom must’ve forgotten about it because she never showed me the pictures inside – old photos of my dad and mom before my sister, brother and I were born. He passed away when I was 4 and I barely remember him.
I cried and cried and cried as I flipped through the album. At that moment, I wanted to share them with my dad’s sisters who were still alive, my brother and sister and my own kids. But with everyone miles apart, it just wasn’t possible.
That’s when I realized I had to do what my mom had hoped to for all those years but ran out of time to see through. I had to find a way to preserve them.
I knew that I could digitize them but I didn’t know who I could trust with all these precious, once-in-a-lifetime memories. Not to mention where do I start? How do I sort and organize them? If I ship them to a company, where do they go? How do I know they’ll get there safely?
I quickly realized why my mom never got around to doing anything with them – I was already overwhelmed just thinking about it!
But I knew it had to be done!
While doing some comparison shopping and research to answer my questions, one company instantly stood out from the rest. It was a company located in Scottsdale, Arizona called iMemories. They were very affordable and considering everything they do, I’m honestly surprised they don’t charge more for their services.
For example, a few of the things that caught my attention right away were: I wouldn’t need to organize or label anything ahead of time; they would digitally enhance faded and degraded photos & film for FREE; and what gave me the most confidence about them being the right company to go with was that they were the first and original company to start converting photos, film & VHS tapes into digital and DVD format – AND since they came into operation in 2006, they’ve digitized over 15 million memories for over 500,000 families and they’ve NEVER lost or damaged one. That is impressive!
Once I decided iMemories was the company I could trust, I decided to also have them digitize some photos & VHS tapes of mine along with the stuff my mom gave me.
The hardest part of the whole process was my own fear of letting all those memories out of my site – especially my mom’s! But iMemories made it so easy to track my memories that I never lost sleep wondering where they were or if I’d ever see them again.
Here’s how it works:
Since getting all those incredible memories digitized, I can’t tell you how much enjoyment I’ve gotten out of them. During my research, I read something pretty powerful. Someone said, “If your family photos & film are buried in boxes and those memories are never remembered or shared, do those memories really exist?” And it’s kinda true.
It used to be I only flipped through my photo albums whenever I cleaned my closet or garage. I’d take a quick minute to reminisce and then that was it. Pack them back up and forget about them for another year or two.
Now, I can easily watch 16mm film from the 1920s of my grandparents right from my phone and tablet – and now, I can’t put my phone down!
Have you ever lost a photo you swear you have no idea what happened to it? Well, I didn’t think there was anything that could top the feeling of finding the photos of my mom and dad. But I was wrong!
One of the VHS tapes I sent in was labeled ‘88 Holidays but it had been lightly scribbled over. It turned out being something my husband and I thought we had lost. It was of our oldest daughter taking her first steps AND of her first birthday party.
For so many years we thought it must’ve gotten misplaced and lost during one of our many moves or something. We felt like we had let our daughter down. But somehow it had just gotten mislabeled and after all those years there it was.
The feeling that my husband and I had when we saw that long lost video streaming on my phone was of pure jubilation. We both were a mess.
And the thing is, I almost didn’t send it in. We haven’t had a VHS player in years and since I couldn’t play it to see what was on it, I didn’t want to pay to have it digitized if it turned out to be nothing. Needless to say, it wasn’t nothing…it was EVERYTHING…and I couldn’t be more grateful I sent it in! What a discovery!
As soon as everything was digitized, I immediately shared the pictures of my dad with his sisters, my mom’s brother and sister, my brother and sister, and my kids, and I did it with the click of a button. And considering we all live hundreds of miles apart, it’s been an incredible bonding experience for all of us.
I’m even using the iMemories app to create a family legacy DVD to give as a Christmas gift to everyone this year.
I wish my mom was still alive to enjoy what she inspired me to finish. She’d never have to worry about any of our family’s memories fading away – both literally and figuratively. They’ll always be preserved now for her grandchildren to enjoy and her grandchildren’s grandchildren to enjoy!
And I can’t thank iMemories enough for taking what was once an impossible task and making it easier than I could have ever imagined. As well as creating a finished product that is so much better than I could have hoped for and easier to enjoy and share with my family than I could have ever dreamed possible.
If you want to do what was once impossible – instantly share decades-old photos & film with friends and family anywhere in the world so you can laugh and cry together – then iMemories is a MUST!
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