July, 2, 2016

Bringing Life to Two War Diaries

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“My parents met on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, in a hospital in Paris. The whole city was celebrating the end of the First World War!

My father had been in the trenches on the French front lines for two years, serving as a 1st lieutenant in the 2nd Division of the Army.  After being seriously wounded, he spent two month recovering. He met my mom in the hospital hallway, just as he was being discharged.

Mother was a YMCA girl, the USO of the time. She and a friend were bringing flowers given to them by a flower vender on the street: ‘Viva Les Americans!’.  They ran into each other a day later, at which point he asked her to the Folies Bergère, and obviously it went on from there.

It turned out that both of them were keeping a diary. They describe meeting each other, their continuing courtship in Paris, through the army’s occupation in Germany, and then after the War, life in New York City.  They were married in 1922.

These diaries have brought their story vividly alive for me; their personalities coming through in an unbelievable way, always reinforcing my feelings of my great fortune of having such wonderful parents.”

– Phoebe Ballard Ford

On this Independence Day, we are honored to share Phoebe’s story of her parents and their incredible war time diaries. StoryKeep has collaborated with Phoebe to build an archive, produce a feature-length tribute film, and produce an accompanying book.

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June, 19, 2016

Honoring Incredible Fathers Through Documentary Films

moesuttonsmoking

“My dad was incredible. He was very distinguished, but he also cared a lot. He would remember little details about people’s lives and always make sure to follow up on asking them how things were going. My mom was fun and colorful, and my dad was more reserved. People really respected my dad. I miss him everyday.”

– Lesley Kassin

On this Father’s Day, we are honored to share Lesley’s memories of her dad. StoryKeep is collaborating with Lesley to produce a feature-length tribute film to honor both of her parents.

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May, 8, 2016

Your College Years: One Man’s Important Saga

College is where many people meet their spouses, choose a career, and make friends for life. So it’s no surprise that StoryKeep records a lot of school and college stories.

Since it’s graduation season, we thought we’d share a very special one from Albert Lasher. Al’s story is about the demise of The Vanguard, a student newspaper at Brooklyn College in the early 1950s. It’s a tale of friendship and standing up for one’s beliefs.

This four-minute clip is an audio excerpt of the 90-minute film we produced for Al’s family, which included stories from throughout Al’s life.

As you listen, think about the school stories in your family. What were your parents formative moments? When did they take a stand for what was right? Now’s the time to capture those stories.

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May, 8, 2016

Recording Your Mom’s Surprising Backstory

Nina Fabri

“I grew up in Geneva, and when I was 19, I was part of a group of guys who all raced very fast cars…a Lotus, a Maserati…even one had a Ferrari, which I never drove, unfortunately. We would do mountain races. They’d close down the roads on a Sunday. It was very, very dangerous. If you missed a curve…just imagine! We thought we were immortal. Thank God my parents never knew.”
– Nina Fabri

Mother’s Day, we hope Nina’s memory of her wild “racing days” reminds you of just how wonderful the women in your life are. This story is just one of many that we documented for Nina’s three children and two grandchildren.

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March, 31, 2016

How one man inspired me to produce life story films

One of the best things about my job is meeting amazing people from families just like yours.

Documenting and sharing their stories with their families is my life’s calling, something I realized five years ago when I was recording Lou Zandoli’s life story.

After a few interview sessions, I started to really get into the deep, emotional nitty-gritty, and I knew that I was meant to do this work! If you’re curious, you can watch a short clip of Lou’s story.

Think about your loved ones. Whose stories do you want to preserve for future generations?

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March, 15, 2016

Documenting Family Recipes in Film: Aunt Mazella’s Pound Cake

No one made pound cake like Umi’s Aunt Mazella.

“Her cake made everyone happy,” Umi says. “It won so many prizes, and whenever anybody got together together to have a chance to eat her cake, it was the talk of the conversation.”

Umi’s story about the pound cake, which StoryKeep recorded a few years ago, tells us so much about what Aunt Mazella was like: generous, meticulous, and warm-hearted.

Check out this five-minute version of the story (above), and look for the recipe!

StoryKeep helps preserve family legacies by capturing and organizing all sorts of stories, including tales from the kitchen.

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March, 7, 2016

What Are Heirloom Portraits and How Can I Create Them?

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Let me introduce you to Rachel LaCour Niesen, the founder of Save Family Photos. Rachel is a photographer, and like me, is perpetually inspired by other people’s family photos. Her site offers buckets of fabulous resources for people looking to record their stories. One of her recent resources is a guest blog post that my colleague Veronica Olson and I wrote entitled, “What are Heirloom Portraits and How Can You Create Them for Your Family?”

Here’s the how-to-guide we shared on Save Family Photos.

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February, 26, 2016

How (and Why) We Frame Life Stories

It’s February – time for our second video about the joy and excitement of capturing family stories.

In this 90-second clip, StoryKeep founder Jamie Yuenger talks about the difference between a collection of family heirlooms and a StoryKeep project. Hint: It’s about the frame!

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February, 12, 2016

Rusi and Gover’s Engagement Story

The story of how Rusi proposed to Gover on a balcony in Bombay over 60 years ago is the stuff of family legend. StoryKeep was able to capture the story in gorgeous detail for future generations of the Sanjana family to enjoy. Check out the lovely 4-minute version above.

Rusi and Gover’s love story was at the heart of the Sanjanas’ StoryKeep project, which was commissioned by their children and included a multimedia documentary and a 168-page book.

“We wanted, not just for our own family, but for all our relatives and friends, to be able to capture that loving spirit of both of them and hold it for posterity,” their daughter, Aroza, told us recently.

We interviewed Rusi and Gover three times and turned the footage into 18 short stories, including one about their courtship and marriage. The proposal story, in which Rusi uses a racy joke to pop the question to his unsuspecting fiancée-to-be, is a special highlight.

The book we produced for the Sanjanas included stories and photographs from over 100 years of family history, going from Rusi and Gover’s ancestors all the way to the present. Aroza said she learned so much about her parents’ families, childhood, and life experiences.

“Now that we have [the project] completed, we have this feeling of completion, that we’ve captured so much for posterity,” Aroza said. “We can watch this on our TVs, computers, and iPhones whenever we need a little boost.”

Chances are you’ve got some amazing stories in your family (maybe even a few love stories!).

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January, 29, 2016

Kelly and Ivy’s Story

StoryKeep - 18

Allison McSorley Photography

Many families we work with want to capture somebody later in life. Kelly, on the other hand, wanted StoryKeep to help capture a moment in her daughter’s life and her reflections on being “Ivy’s mom.”

So for one year, StoryKeep gave Kelly ideas for recording the little moments in Ivy’s life – bathtime, reading together, playing with friends – as she grew from a bouncy toddler into a little girl. (We loaned Kelly a professional audio recorder for this.) Listening back over the recordings, Kelly was amazed by how much Ivy’s voice changed in just half a year.

A single mother by choice, Kelly also wanted to make sure that Ivy would always be able to listen to her mom’s voice. If Ivy ever wondered, “What was my birth story?” or “What was it like when I was little?” she would have these recordings. With this in mind, we periodically recorded Kelly’s thoughts and stories about motherhood.

This is a 5-minute snippet (approved by Kelly, of course) of the two 45-minute audio pieces we produced together. As you listen to it, consider the precious people in your life. Now’s the time to capture their fleeting moments and memories. Your StoryKeep project would make the ultimate graduation, birthday, or Mother’s Day gift.

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