Amy Choate-Nielsen: If a picture is worth a thousand words, a recording is infinitely valuable


Amy Choate-Nielsen has a poor memory, but videos and recordings help her to remember moments of her life.

I forget a lot of things.

When I reach into my bank of memories, a lot of times it feels like searching through a dark and dusty room that’s mostly vacant, with a few experiences scattered around the corners. I have a few highlights from over the years, and some permanent reminders, such as the scar on the inside of my bottom lip that came from falling off a short wall when I was a toddler.

Those permanent reminders are very helpful. I know I had chicken pox because of the little circle on my right wrist, and I remember scraping the top of my foot on the bottom of a pool in San Diego because of the scar that was left behind.

There are other reminders, too, that are a little less permanent but equally effective. I have a very clear memory of a hot, sultry night in my elementary school gym in Oklahoma from more than 30 years ago because of a video my parents made. They borrowed a friend’s camera, which, back then, was so big it sat like a box on your shoulder with a viewfinder that lined up with your eye. My father ran the camera while my mother played the piano and accompanied my elementary school’s production of “Cinderella.”

I remember sitting on those metal seats, feeling the energy in the air and waiting for the…

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