Today was the day seven years ago my grandmother passed away. When exactly she was born (sometime in 1905) is a matter of fuzzy record, as she herself told, as her birth into a family of 7 siblings raised by her father in Newark, New Jersey was certified more 50 years later through research into the census records, so it was celebrated on October 15.

“Granny” as I kiddingly called her, was always special to me- she had lots of spirit, drove fast in her red Rambler (“I don’t want anyone behind me complaining about being stuck behind an old lady”), took me to see Johnny Unitas and the Colts play in Memorial Stadium, and was always keen to go jump the big waves at Ocean City, MD.

I had also kidded her about she had to stick around til she was at least 100- she did not make it, but got very close. I always loved hearing her stories about growing up in the early 1900s, her father the chess champion, learning to drive in a Model T, etc.

Granny's Tape
Granny’s Tape flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

During a 1994 visit back east, at a stop at my sister Harriet’s house, I decided to capture some of the stories on this vintage micro-cassette, which I’ve been hanging onto, although the recorder/player stopped working. So this year, I invested a whopping $19 to buy a new micro-cassette player so I could digitize the tapes, which I have as about 35 minutes of digital audio.

When I visited my Mom in April, I managed to scan a lot of old photos, and combined with ones my sister provided (and a few representational ones snagged from the net), I have been planning to turn it into a digital story.

Woah, Neo, this is going to take more time than I thought. I’ve gotten through 2 of 13 tracks, and even with trimming, it was a few hours to come up with this 6 minute segment doing some really basic editing in the old iMovie.

And once this is done, Mom, you are next- I have an hour of your recordings and a pile of photos!

But this one’s for you, Granny, Happy Birthday.

Featured Image:

2009/365/26: Granny (1986)
2009/365/26: Granny (1986) flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. Very cool, Alan! We just brought back two bins of old photos from Doug’s brother’s house that we hope to scan in and get information about. There’s so much stuff in there, including old newspapers, receipts that are over 100 years old and even old ration coupons from WWII. I’ve lamented Doug’s pack rat ways, but sometimes it pays off.

  2. OK Can I talk to you about what you used and how you are doing it? I have a variety of old magnetic media with stories on them. And we won’t even go into the oral history records the Historical Society has that are slowly disintegrating.

    My focus has been on scanning at archive resolution things like the glass plate negative collection from the early 1900’s of our area and town and trying to preserve the old scrapbooks form the Women’s clubs on each mesa…..

    1. @Oogie – for the audio I used a minijack out from the microcassette recorder into my Edirol R-09 a portable digital recorder. There’s a fair bit of noise in the original from the tape mechanism (I hope people don’t think it is grandma clacking her dentures!) and someone yacking in the background. From the EDIROL files (WAV), I edited in Audacity– I used chapter markers, and the audacity feature to create separate files from chapters. These were AIF files I plopped into iTunes (so I could make audio CDs for my family) and I imported the AIFFs into iMovie for the editing.

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