Wednesday, June 3, 2015

"Dad, What's a Hobby Shop?"

Driving home the other day, I passed a hobby shop that had closed after 45 years in the community. It had gotten run down and less and less kids were frequenting it due to newer time distractions. (See Nintendo DS, Wii and a myriad of other electronic devices). Mentioning it to my 13-yr. old son, he asked me what a hobby shop was. For a moment, I was surprised. How could he not know? Didn't every kid? Another icon of society was fading into the past and another generation of kids would never know first-hand about it.

I reminisced about my Saturday mornings as a teenager when I would hurriedly count my change in order to see if I had enough to buy the newest Aurora plastic model monster kit. I would check the levels of my Testor's enamel paint and check if I had enough glue on hand, and then would promptly head out on my bike as soon as the store opened. The front windows were filled with Tinker Toys, telescopes, erector sets and train tracks, kites and Radio Flyer wagons. Part toy store, part DIY shop, I spent countless hours planning future purchases with the store's owner. After choosing the Phantom of the Opera kit and buying extra day-glo green paint for the face and hands and black for the cape, I bundled my new project and rushed back to the privacy of my parents' basement work/play area. Spreading newspaper over the table, I would gingerly open the package and begin carefully separating the plastic parts as directed by the instructions. Step by step, the model would come to life. The smell of the glue was enough to give me vertigo, but I pressed on. Usually it took a day to build and another to paint, which fit perfectly with my idea of why there were 2 days in "weekends". By Sunday night, I had completed the fantastic pose and detailed it to my liking. Pride and artistic expression were my companions as I showed my parents what had consumed my time for the past two days.

After sharing that recollection with my son, the fondness of that memory stayed with me for the rest of the day and many more memories showed up from that time period, too.

I remembered my neighbors' house where I built a few other models; how the phantom model had a terrified person in a dungeon at the base; how much pride I had in keeping my brushes neat and cleaned. I felt 13 again and enjoyed a sense of camaraderie with every other "child", now full grown, who recalls those same sentiments. Collectively, all of us "model builders" share a memory of times spent fully engrossed in a place private enough to work where time held no meaning, supplied by a store that was now going the way of the 5 & dime. The models themselves may be long gone, but the remembrance of that time period was indelible.

All of us have common "time period" memories. Feelings give stories meaning and relevance. What we keep to ourselves, dies with us. What we share with others remains. Someday my grandson may ask his father (my son) if he's ever heard of a "hobby shop". My son can proudly recall hearing about them from his father, and in doing so, recount my memories, stories, connections and feelings - keeping them from being forgotten.

Take the time to ask and really listen. There's a history and her-story waiting to be saved.

Let TimeStories save them for you, forever.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Father's Day is June 21st...What is the best gift to give?
A recent study pointed out that older people have much more information in their brains than younger ones, so retrieving it naturally takes longer. And the quality of the information in the older brain is more nuanced. But all of that lifelong data will go away one day if not saved.
While younger people were faster in tests of cognitive performance, older people showed “greater sensitivity to fine-grained differences,” the study found. Self-examination can be a therapeutic tool in realizing "wisdom" acquired in one's lifetime.
Based on an analysis of their research, they determined that wisdom consists of three key components: cognition, reflection and compassion.
True personal wisdom involves five elements - they are self-insight; the ability to demonstrate personal growth; self-awareness in terms of your historical era and your family history; understanding that priorities and values, including your own, are not absolute; and an awareness of life’s ambiguities.
There’s a point in life when a fundamental shift occurs, and people start thinking about how much time they have left rather than how long they have lived. Often, the subtleties and revelations of one's life, as well as the stories of hardships and successes go with them to their final resting places. Family members forget to ask about past experiences, or forget the answers over time.
Researchers recommend services like guided autobiography, or life review, as a way of strengthening wisdom. In creating a biography, people share their life stories with the help of a trained professional, and this wisdom creates a lasting legacy to share with family members alive today and yet to come.
Reflecting on the meaning and structure of their lives can help people thrive after the balance shifts and there is much less time left than has gone before. It should be a rite-of-passage that everyone chronicles their experiences, preferences, beliefs and realizations as a gift to themselves and beloved family members, but it often requires someone to request it first, and where does one begin?
At TimeStories, we chronicle life stories. We know the topics to discuss and how to get behind an answer to the hidden story - especially as we are not close family and can uncover deeper truths that many may not feel comfortable sharing directly with loved ones.
The cathartic benefits to the storyteller are manifold; a library of information is saved and families grow closer to their roots as they grow more familiar with their origins.
Call us or email to find out how easy it is to save your history and the story of a lifetime - your heritage.
TimeStories. The gift of a lifetime.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Personal History Awareness Month - May 2015

Society and culture have changed dramatically over the past few generations, mostly due to limited inter-generational contact. Many people only hear snippets of their heritage during family reunions or at holiday time. Children rarely hold interest in knowing the depths of ancestor's lives until they themselves are much older, and therein lies the difficulty. How to capture these stories before the holders of the stories are gone?

Photos are great, but tell no tale on their own. The stories behind the photos need to be saved, or else one ends up with a box of faces / places and no facts. That's why the genealogical business exists today. To help those without a continuous stream of family history to uncover what can be gleaned from scattered archival records. So, what can be done?

The future of our own history starts now - it's up to each one of us to save it. In making our motion-biographies at TimeStories, we typically sit with the eldest member of a family and guide them through recalling their family lineage, their own upbringing, their marriage, kids, work, favorites, fears, loves, beliefs and values. All they need is a good night's rest and a willingness to remember. No other preparation aside from exhuming those photos from the backs of closets and myriad photo albums. In a few hours, our one-on-one filmed sessions capture all the facets of a life and its reminiscences. Back in our studio we scan those family photos, (and can add home movies and relevant archival imagery from the internet) and edit it all together creating a motion biography to be enjoyed now and for descendants to come. 

Some clients come to us with tales of parents long gone or tales shared amongst the family, looking for a way to put them in one place for all time - what we call a DocuMemory. For others, we take valued images and weave them into elegant printed photo story albums with narrative captions that can be given to relatives and children to know the stories behind these photos. The stories saved now are the heirlooms of the future.

3 Generations

We are proud of our ability to provide "time-capsules" of lives lived. But this business turned out to be more than just a way to preserve heritage. After delivering over 45 feature-length filmed biography movies and dozens of photo storybooks we discovered numerous additional benefits experienced by our clients. The process of being asked to summarize one's experiences, feelings and beliefs, of reviewing photos and revealing the tales within, and then to see them presented back in a concise manner is a tremendous validation of one's life. 

Even the simplest of life stories, told with earnestness and edited for conciseness, conveys a sense of accomplishment and personal value. Just surviving the rigors of daily life, having witnessed and participated in the changing times of fashion, music, art, politics, trends and technology over the years provides a retrospection that may be overlooked otherwise. This knowledge can also be an immense aid for younger family members struggling to determine their way forward in conjunction with their familial and cultural lineage and their place in the world.

So, take the time to reach into the future by make a present of the past. Allow us to help you help your descendants know from whence they came! We love what we do...