By and large we are not technically savvy people, so I was skeptical when Jimmy announced we were going to retrieve lost information from off of the hard drives of our old computers.
Towers, monitors, keyboards and wires all previously utilized had been unceremoniously shoved to the garage. Among them was an old Dell that without warning went on the fritz before things like “external storage devices” were known to us. Periodically I would pass the shelf where it came to rest as if it were an electronic headstone from 2002 and think: damn you, you crashed right after we purchased our first digital camera.
“How are we going to retrieve items off of the hard drives?” I asked with my fingers punctuating the we.
“Easy. I watched a tutorial on YouTube.”
I nodded while the bubble over my head read: things like doubt are best left unsaid, zip it.
Fast forward to this past Saturday.
In his office hunched over one of the banished computers together we popped the lid. This particular computer thankfully crashed after I had backed it up but there were still files that were MIA—one in particular was a video of our daughter giving a speech at her sixth grade promotion. Without difficulty Jimmy released the drive from the jaws of medal. He then showed me the SATA/IDE to USB Adapter and explained how to hook it up.
Yet again I popped an unexpressed bubble fighting its way to my lips: When did you join Geek Squad?
The whirring sound confirmed it was coming back to life. Minutes later appearing on the screen of our laptop were the contents of my old computer it was as if I had never been booted from it.
“Oh how I hope the video is still here!”
Sure enough, a few clicks of the mouse and there on the screen was twelve-year-old Chandler taking the podium.
Tears pierced our eyes. Holding our breath as we no doubt did back then, we watched as she courageously shared her elementary school experience with the packed auditorium of people.
Greedily as if we hungered for the child she once was, we backed it up and watched again.
With relief I dragged the video file over to the working computer promising to save it to a CD.
While I picked through the rest of the documents Jimmy sat on the floor and literally broke into the aforementioned old Dell.
“YES! I got it!” he announced with unmasked pride.
I looked over my shoulder, what was left of the computer surrounded him like tape from a crime scene.
“Oh my.” I said, while the hovering bubble thought, Seriously? What will the techie at Frye’s think if we have to bring this to them out of desperation…
We wondered aloud over what we may find if it worked.
Once again we plugged an old drive into the laptop; much to our surprise the whirring sound confirmed that even a dinosaur computer may be resurrected.
“How on earth did you learn to do this?” I blurted.
“I told you, YouTube.”
“Didn’t the guy at Frey’s say for them to swipe the info it would have cost us $120.00 per computer?”
“What did these…wires…cost?” I asked while my hand hovered above the magical device.
“Genius. Pure and utter genius.”
A few more clicks of the mouse and there before us were moments right out of 2001-2002. We ooed and ahhed over photographs long since forgotten, a trip down memory lane and to a time that now feels to have been simpler juxtaposed to today.
Our children’s lives speed past us.
Through still life photographs and moving pictures when I look closely I can see the innocence that long ago unfurled itself to the world; trusting and not yet encumbered with the countless experiences life would bring.
As the years march forward, you can see it, the at times painful life lessons rob them of some of that joy and it makes me momentarily ache for them.
I am reminded yet again that the notion that one can protect their children is exactly and only that, a notion. And that is life; we experience the all of it by stepping into it, not away, and with that, more time than not, comes the awe.