Do you want to know how to make your family cry? Show them a video of their beloved grandparents who have passed-on. At least, that is how I did it.
Back in 1997, I proposed an idea to my maternal grandparents (Papa and Grandma to us kids). I asked them if they would like to make a cooking video with me the following day. Being the wonderful people that they were, they showed-up the next day – Papa with his video camera and Grandma dressed-to-be-seen with a bag of groceries.
We spent the day in my mom’s kitchen videotaping Grandma making ‘Pasties’, a meat and potatoes pastry that is a family favorite. I chose this recipe because it would be most widely appreciated by brothers and cousins.
After a few months wrestling with my editing system (computers and video didn’t get on well back in 1997) I finished a version of the video. I gave copies on VHS to family members for Christmas and moved on to other things.
Well, Papa died about 5 years ago and Grandma followed him about a year later. My kids (3 and 5 years old at the moment) never had a chance to meet or know two of the most important people in my life – but now they can see them in action.
In February 2012 I found a copy of that video and loaded it up onto YouTube to share with the world. Through the joys of social media, I shared it with my family who posted up comments about crying while watching and shared the links with their friends. Other more distant family members have seen it as well and the result has been a wonderful time of reminiscing and sharing the family story.
One week after posting on YouTube, the video has been watched 433 times (nearly doubled since yesterday) That means a whole lot of folks who never met my grandparents are getting to know them through this video – and learning to make pasties like a Yooper (the name for people that live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan – aka the U.P. Grandma and Papa came from the Ironwood/Hurley area on the border of Michigan and Wisconsin.)
Back when we were making the video, I knew that it would be a valued family keepsake. But, I never could have guessed that ways it would touch people years later. It is not a random photo discovered in a shoebox. It is a conscious effort by my grandparents (with a little help from me and my parents) to pass on a piece of family history.
I wrote an article about how to make a recipe video to preserve a your family history. I also included the pastie video as an example of the finished product when you follow the process I outlined. You can learn about how we made this video and watch it here:
This site (www.ReelHistories.com) was set up to help people become family historians using video. It’s a work in progress, but the projects area has some excellent info about ways to capture meaningful stories for future generations.
Up next, I’ll be making a recipe video with my daughters and (finally) editing the life story interviews and another recipe video I recorded with Grandma and Papa.