It appears that a simple function termed threading of film onto a projector eludes me. Baffles me even after some time and effort spent cleaning the very old equipment and online searching for helpful how-to instructions. Not surprising I suppose ~ this road block of sorts. After all, this is no ordinary antique projector. This is my adoptive parent’s projector and the 8mm and super 8mm film reels housed in their bright yellow Kodak cardboard boxes hold family history family secrets family surprises. This film plays silently with only the loud thrum of the machinery accompanying the grainy color images.
At least that is how I remember the viewings as a child and young adult when after much pleading, my mother would finally acquiesce, giving my father permission to haul out the projector and the film. As adopted daughters, my sister and I, yearned even more than the average kid to see again and again the evidence of our belonging, of our history. A history that only went back to when we arrived in America, bought by these White American parents. I was a Korean adoptee and so was my sister, arriving from different backgrounds and first families to form our very own little tribe of two in a land where no one looked like us ~ to a land where for all of our childhoods we were known as The Adopted Korean Girls.
Fast forward many years and here you will find me. Finally pushing through my myriad of fears, resistance and ambivalence to allow myself to figure out another piece of my foundation. Sounds heavy for such a simple task of figuring out an old projector and watching a few canisters of film. Simple or not, these actions have been many years in the making.
It seems that the gathering of our lives lived through memories, yearnings, wishes and dreams is a life long journey. A journey which offers experiences of joy, sadness, grief, longing, laughter, anger, tears, breath taking ah-ha’s, rage and acceptance. I figure that I am somewhere a little past mid-way of this journey of this life time and it is looking more possible than naught that there will be future viewings of these little films. Where those particular pieces of the puzzle will fit is not quite clear, yet. Thankfully there is a focusing mechanism on this antiquated projector.