A few months ago I came up with an idea. It was born out of a desperation to hold on to the memories of my last remaining grandparent. My grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimers last year and with each passing day, it’s grip becomes more apparent. He struggles to recall the names of his youngest great grandchildren and repeats stories he’s just told you moments before. After watching one grandpa lose his battle with this disease a couple of years ago, I know what is coming. First, it starts out as forgetfulness and then piece by piece, people are forgotten and long term memories fade into oblivion. I decided that I wanted to capture the stories of those I love on film, starting with him. I wanted to preserve his story in his voice and his words.
Yesterday, we packed up all my equipment and headed over to my grandpa’s house. We’ve spent very little time there since my grandmother passed away. Mainly because the thought of being there without her voice wafting in from the kitchen is almost unbearable. She had a bad habit of attempting to talk to everyone a room away, thinking that we would actually hear her. Annoying then but miss it like crazy now. As we stepped into the house, millions of memories flooded into my mind. The familiar smell of coffee and their brand of laundry detergent was all around us, reminding us of how much of our childhood’s happened there.
We set up my equipment in his living room. The only place that felt right to interview him was in his well worn recliner. That chair is a place where we were rocked to sleep as a children and his favorite place to sit and watch his four grandkids play. We had a casual conversation on camera about his life. We talked about what his first job was, his children and grandchildren, and reminisced about some of his childhood adventures with his siblings. Our favorite story will always be about how he met my grandmother. She was the popcorn girl at the Humble, TX movie theater and he worked on oil rigs. When he would get time off, he would come into town to see a “picture show” and flirt with the popcorn girl. He was very shy so he has always told me that he had to eat A LOT of popcorn before he finally worked up the courage to ask her out. They got married in 1950 (just two weeks after my grandmother’s 16th birthday) on the movie theater stage between two showings. The original Father of the Bride movie was playing that day.
Some of his stories we’ve have heard my whole lives and others were completely new to us. It broke our hearts to watch him struggle to access the memories of things we’ve heard him talk about for years, but eventually we were able to help him recall the stories for the film. When we finished the interview, we spent some time filming the decor and elements of the house that were part of my childhood recollections. The end product will be a mini movie about my grandfather’s life and a custom designed photo album including his life stories and history.
When we lost our grandmother six years ago, we never saw it coming. It was absolutely devastating to know that all our moments with her were over. If we could have just one day back with her we would have done exactly what we did yesterday. We would want one more day to capture her voice and her spirit on camera forever.
Our hope that our new project inspires those around us to preserve and hold on to their most precious moments in life. We are currently booking Legacy Interviews and photo sessions for 2015. Send an email for inquiries or give us a call at the studio.
Written by Melinda