Preserving My Father’s Story
I grew up without my biological father, Dana Randolph Barker. He was killed in Vietnam on his first tour of duty when I was 7 weeks old.
This is my FOREVER story. I share it with you because we all have stories like these. And stories matter.
I have ONE photo… one… that has my dad AND I in it. It has traveled with me to every place that I have called home for over 30 years. And it’s a little rough around the edges… starting to fade. It’s precious to me. We are at the airport as my dad leaves, just days after my birth, for Vietnam. I have always been so worried that something would happen to that photo. There is just one. No negative or copy that I know of.
I also have a very special cassette tape that was given to me on my twelfth birthday by my Uncle Lonnie. He had found it as he was going through his things and it was a recording he had made of a phone conversation (he was testing a new “toy”) that was made the day I was born… Sunday, December 22, 1968. It was my father calling someone to tell them I had been born. At 12 years old, I heard my father’s voice for the first time. You can imagine how priceless this almost 50-year-old cassette tape is to me. His voice. Talking about ME.
Here’s the thing. As precious and as priceless as these items were, they were not safe. The photo was tattered. The cassette was deteriorating and had been “eaten” by a cassette player on more than one occasion. But my dad? HE MATTERS. His story matters. His face, arm around my mom, looking down at me. That matters. His voice. Rejoicing over my birth. It matters. And I had not been able to enjoy them for years, due to worries of damage, OR guarantee that they would be around for my children, so they could see and hear a piece of his story.
FOREVER.com changed all of that through their media conversion. I now have a digital copy of both the photo AND the recording. The photo is in my FOREVER Storage account, which I own, and is guaranteed to be safe for my lifetime PLUS 100 years. I can even pass my account down to my children when I am gone. My father’s story will live on. My children will hear his voice and see his face. He will not be forgotten. Because his story matters.
I want to say thank you. I am forever grateful.