Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gone but not forgotten

This has been another momentous year in heritage and legacy preservation for Heirloom Biography. We have completed 6 new biographies, 3 tributes, 2 kidographies and 1 corporate heritage. Working with families who "get" the value of story chronicling - who are generous and kind in archiving their loved ones' life story, makes our work so rewarding.

We have just about completed our rebranding under our new name "TimeStories". Look for the launch in early 2011 as We wanted to make it clear that "every age has a story to tell", not just seniors!

Several families we have worked with over the years have since lost the elder person whose story we saved. We have attended a few wakes and funerals, yet none were consumed with loss. There was a joy for the person and their life, perhaps because they knew time couldn't be stopped, but also, perhaps, because they knew they could always remember them by watching the biography we made. A few families played sections of the bios at the receptions afterwards making it seem less harsh and just a little strange. Strange that the mortal body had moved on but the spirit and idiosyncrasies remained all around. Laughing at the comments of their dearly departed reminded me of the New Orleans custom of Jazz Funerals and "second lining". Some even played the deceased's favorite music, and dancing was not uncommon.

I pass on another link to a touching video that speaks to this phenomena of remembering the awkward and (too?) personal as well as the presentable parts of a person. We are composite wholes of many traits, characteristics and habits that define us as who we really are. One cannot separate the weird or unpleasant from the charming. This video touches on just those "imperfections".

As Shakespeare said, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts..."

Make the effort to save what took years to develop - a unique, irreplaceable personality - with all the good and bad rolled into one. They ultimately define where you came from and, more importantly, why you came here.


Monday, February 22, 2010

The wisdom of older ages

The end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 has taught us many things at Heirloom Biography about the values of heritage preservation and who holds them.

We have always assumed that the children of aging parents were the ones who were most desirous of a clear heritage knowledge - that the aging elders already knew their own story and were less motivated to try and save it. We were surprised, then, when a few seniors approached us to create remembrance videos & books to give as gifts to their families.

One client wanted us to take her
photo album that she started
at age 9, and "fix" it for her child & grandkids. It was well beyond repair, so we disassembled it, scanned all the photos, color-restored them
and created a printed album similar to the original from which multiple copies could be made.

The book was printed on a large format paper and bound into a 60 page book that came out stunning. Although the client doesn't understand how "we made the photos appear in one book while the originals are still in her old album", she has commented that this was the best investment she has made "all during her senior years". Two more copies have been made for her daughter & grandkids. We are now making another book showcasing her mother's handmade stitched samplers that will be donated to the local historical society after her passing. This client is 90 years old and sees well into the future of her heritage!

In another example, we were approached by a man turning 100 who told us that he "had made it" (to 100) and wanted to celebrate his story with his great- great grandkids who visited him but knew nothing of his life. We proceeded to interview him and made a 20 minute video to show at his retirement home birthday party attended by 5 generations of family.

Folks are still emailing us about how amazed they are that "gramps" had so much of a story and his secrets to a long life.

All we did was ask!

So, we here are constantly and wonderfully surprised by who cherishes their history and for what reasons. Never underestimate any age, for every age has a story to tell.