Really – reel to reel

Bill and Paula Duff with Bill and June Malloff in Nassau.

The box was larger than a bread basket, but smaller than a television (the old ones!),  and it was very well bound with packing tape.

The label screamed at me. “Bill and Paula Duff”.  Egad.  This was a real treasure trove!  Here, in this box, were Mom and Dad’s memories.

When Jamie and I were investigating the things Mom stored in the pantry of their condo, we discovered two boxes of reel-to-reel film.  Of course, Mom had also preserved the projector, splicer, and old camera and these sat well organized right beside the movies.  We took the old movies out to examine what was there.  “New Lowell, Duffs, and Malloff Clan”, read the labels from one box of movies.  This was the series that was to be developed first.

Costco prints old reel-to-reel to DVD at a very good price and so… off they went.. and yesterday …. here they were.

Finally, the box was freed from tape and I carefully open the flap.  There it was – ONE DVD.  On the outside were images (59 in total) of every “scene” that was contained on the DVD.  There was also a label warning that some of the film had been over-exposed, some under-exposed, and some with dust, hair… and whatnot.  How would the movies look afterall?  I didn’t really care – I just knew I was holding fast to history.  And it was to be a history that revealed a world through the eyes of Mom and Dad.  What had they seen?   What had they deemed to be important enough to film?  Who were their friends?  How had they lived?  All these questions would be answered – presently.

I slid the DVD into the player, with the help of my 9 year old I might add, and suddenly there they were – Mom and Dad in 59 scenes.  “Which scene would you like to choose?”,  opted the play menu.  I chose “Play from the beginning”.

Fantastic. Costco had added music – their music – the music of the 40s and 50s.

Fantastic.  Mom and Dad were dancing.  It was a party.  Mom and Dad were serving turkey dinner to guests.  Mom was showing off her beautiful new gown to the camera.  Dad was shoveling snow.  Don Duff was mowing his lawn.  Lou Duff was pushing her daughter Nancy on the swing.  The animals in the zoo were racing around.  The flamingos in Nassau were nibbling at their lunch.  The lighthouses in PEI appeared far below from the plane where Dad had obviously flown over.  The Hepplestons and Duffs were together – eating – laughing.  There was a lot of laughter.  It seemed everyone was laughing.  I think I saw Grandma and Grandpa Malloff – but I couldn’t be sure as I had never met them.  And there was the house that Dad built for Mom and Dad in New Lowell.


It was rich.

I was watching history that no one else at that moment had access to.

I must figure out how to copy this history to embed it into this blog.

I must figure out how to copy the DVD to offer these special images to my cousins.

It is funny how video can transcend time.  I am so blessed to have known my parents as adults.  I am so curious now to know about my parents as a young couple.  I am so blessed to have just a little insight into the young Bill and Paula through reel-to-reel.

Categories: Duff History, Family and Friends, Life After Dad, New Lowell | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Post navigation

18 thoughts on “Really – reel to reel

  1. I know how you feel. When I started on the journey of my father’s letters never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get to know who he was as a young soldier. I have learned a lot about Dad and I still have a couple of years to go. I know somewhere we have films like yours and a bunch of slides. They must be in New Jersey.

    • I’m so glad to be able to share this feeling with you, Nancy. It is so odd – and wonderful. From your posts it certainly seems that you have more insight on their relationship than they probably did themselves. Wonderful!

  2. A small glimpse of their lives together…beyond beautiful…

    • I agree – how fortunate. I wish that everyone could experience this same feeling. It would make a difference for sure… Thank-you, RoSy.

  3. A treasure chest and inside is better than gold.

  4. Alice

    What a treasure! Wonderful to play for reunions and holidays. (Off topic a bit, but when I saw the image for your blog…Consider taking some of your favorite photos to create stationary or greeting cards.)

    • Fantastic idea – ohh – I really need to be a little more tech savvy – or wait for my son to help. (grin) Thanks, Alice.

      • Alice

        A print shop will do it for you, and the costs are quite reasonable–especially for black and white photos.

  5. It’s always special to find memories of the previous generations. That they can be brought upto date is even better.

    • Yes. Amen. It’s like opening a window – you don’t always know what you are seeing – but the scenery can be very cool.

  6. Chatter Master

    I’m excited by this and they aren’t even my parents! 🙂 The “free” way to put your videos on your blog is to put your videos on Youtube and link your videos in your blog. I hope we get to see them!

    • Aha! Thanks – I’m excited about that! How cool – and nerve-wracking to think I’m entering the world of Youtube now. Egad. I am growing up. I’ll keep you “posted”. (grin)

  7. Wow, how cool is that? My parents are both gone now too. I can only imagine what it would be like to find such a treasure! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Glad to know Costco did a good job. We have some reels of film from the 50’s. Seeing people move is so interesting – more fun than just pictures – and you can sometimes see little mannerisms that relatives have in common.

    • Totally! I highly recommend Costco. Glad you have the opportunity to capture memories too! Thanks for commenting. TTFN

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: