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At the Font

Sifting through photo albums and other memorabilia from my mother’s estate has been more of a slog than a joy, if I’m honest. There’s just so many to process, often of people that I don’t even know. I feel guilty just tossing the photos of these strangers, so I’ve tried to relocate as many as possible to friends and family who might have memories associated with them.

In one closet, we found videotapes my mother had commissioned to preserve her old home movies from the 50s and 60s. What on earth was I going to do with a towering stack of tapes when I didn’t even own a VCR?

My husband mentioned our dilemma to a coworker, who then offered to convert all of them digitally for us. He couldn’t begin to know how this generous gift of time and energy would impact me.

Last night, my husband brought home the digital version of the tapes and we spent hours watching these images that I had never seen before: My mother’s 8th grade graduation. A family dinner from the 1950s using the same china that will grace my table this Thanksgiving. My parents leaving for their honeymoon. Many Christmas mornings spanning from the 1950s through the 1970s.

One of the movies took my breath away. It was a close-up of my baptism in April 1970, just days after my family officially adopted me.

It was surreal to see the very beginning of my walk in faith, all these years later. I had no idea the footage even existed. My father was extending me over the font and the joy on his face was beyond any that I recall seeing while he was alive. He laughed as he wiped the water out of my eyes, and then held me close to his chest. It was such an intimate moment to witness.

I have a few photographs of my own children after they had been baptized, but the images of those events are largely preserved in my memory. To see my own baptism on film, though, left me grateful that someone had chosen to capture it. My parents are both deceased, so there’s no one left to share with me their memories of that day. To see my father bringing me to The Father was an unexpected blessing I will cherish the rest of my days.

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Nicole Murphy

Nicole Murphy lives in Northwest Arkansas with her husband, son, and daughter. She’s the only non-musician in her house, no matter how hard she tries.

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