My techie mom learned how to use a record-recording machine when she was a teenager. In addition to recording herself singing alone in her bedroom, she recorded family parties. It was during World War II and her family was suffering terrible loses, including her brother. And yet there was all this hilarity. In 2005, we sat my mom down at the dining room table and asked her about living through the war. I thought the recording was terrible because my mom has no sense of tragedy. She kept laughing.
I dug out the recording a year or so later, when I was studying sound design and looking for a project. Suddenly, her words had me bawling. As usual, I had underestimated my ma’s insights about life.
I combined her words with clips from her recordings for my project. When I listened today, it brought back tears again. These were the people who made me — people whose laughs are more powerful than sorrow.