Giving Your Family the
Gift of Connection
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Bill and Luan Zoellner of Park Ridge, Illinois, have a whirlwind love story. The couple met at a Chicago bar in 1969, where Bill was attending a bachelor party. When an obnoxious guy in the group started hitting on Luan, Bill intervened. Three months later, he asked Luan to marry him.
The Zoellners relived those early months of their courtship recently while making a video about their love story for their children and grandchildren.
Preserving those memories has never been more important to the couple, who will celebrate 50 years of marriage in June. With Bill now fighting a terminal illness, the couple didn’t want to wait for their golden anniversary to reflect on their lives together.
Sharing stories from your life with your loved ones is one of the most precious gifts you can give them. Hearing your stories can help your children and grandchildren know you better and may lead them to discover new things about themselves—from quirky inherited traits to events that shaped who they are today.
Today’s technology makes it easy to capture your stories and preserve them in your own voice. You can record your narrative on a handheld voice recorder or on your smartphone’s video camera. If you have computer skills, you can use audio or video apps to edit your tales before sharing with family or friends.
Not a technology whiz? A younger member of your family may be able to help you get started. You can also hire a video biographer to weave together clips of you telling your life story with family photos, memorabilia and music.
Bringing the Past to Life
Video storytelling is powerful because it allows loved ones to hear your voice, see your expressions and feel the emotional impact of your stories, says Susan Saunders, owner of Family Line Video, which produces video biographies in the Chicago area.
“They can hear you laugh or see you smile as you recount certain events,” Saunders says. “Younger generations today are used to looking at screens, so they like having those visual references.”
Saunders was inspired to start her business after interviewing older adults for a graduate school project and seeing how the experience touched them and their family members who received the audio transcripts.
“I wanted to put the family in the interviewer’s chair, so they could feel like their parent or grandparent was talking directly to them,” she says.
Many of the video biographies she does are for adults in their 70s who want to pass down family stories and history to the next generation.
The Zoellners turned to Saunders for help making a video as a Christmas gift for their four children and three grandchildren. They had started writing their recollections for their kids—all of whom live in different states—but realized they really wanted to give them something more visual.
“I would love to hear my parents’ voices again, so I thought it would be something they would appreciate having one day,” Luan says.
Saunders interviewed the couple separately and together, asking questions that sparked stories neither one had thought about for years, from what it was like growing up in the 1950s to early memories of their parents.
“My dad was 6’5″, and I’d forgotten how much fun it was to ride on his shoulders,” Luan says. “It was nice to look back on moments like that.”
The couple also enjoyed digging up photos for Saunders to use to illustrate stories in the video. The Zoellners’ kids loved seeing pictures of their parents’ first cars and hearing how Luan bought her 1964 Ford Mustang on a whim.
“They knew I had a cute British racing green car, but they had never heard me talk about not knowing how to drive a stick shift when I bought it,” Luan says.
She and Bill also reminisced about the joy they felt when their children were born and the lessons they taught the kids about giving back.
“I hope the video will show them how much we loved and cared for them while they were growing up and how much we enjoyed our lives together as a family,” Luan says.
To read the complete article, click here: Video Memoirs–Copyright 2019 H2U
Capture your life stories for your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to know.
Here at Family Line Video we produce Legacy Videos, modern-day memoirs that weave a filmed interview together with family photos, documents, maps and other memorabilia. The result is a beautiful “moving portrait” capturing your loved one as they recount their life story and memories – a gift your family will treasure for generations to come.
To learn more about Legacy Videos, visit FamilyLineVideo.com.
Family Line Video, LLC
Legacy Video Production
Capturing Life Stories and Family History
for Future Generations
~ The Gift of a Lifetime ~
Video Biographies ~ Family History Videos ~ Video Memoirs
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