Friday, April 30, 2010

Chicken Soup Isn't Always A Cure

Last week was a busy one for me. I conducted interviews in Kansas City, Louisville and Washington D.C. On my flight back to San Diego, I started feeling a cold coming on and upon my return home I made a large kettle of chicken soup in hopes of warding it off. I was very motivated because I was supposed to fly back to D.C. yesterday to attend a full honors military funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. This was for a client I had interviewed 18 months ago. He had been a p.o.w. in a German prisoner of war camp during WWII. I was so honored when he shared his experiences with me during the interview--especially since he told me when I was setting up the camera that he was not going to talk about the war.
When his widow emailed me to tell me of his death and invited me to attend the interment ceremony, I knew I would attend even though my schedule showed that I would be in D.C. the week prior. What I didn't count on was getting sick and in spite of the soup and laying low for several days I am still too ill to travel. As I write this, the ceremony is taking place at this same point in time and though I'm not there in person hearing the bugle play and the echo of the rifle volleys, I salute this gentle and courageous man. The other day, his wife told me they would be playing his interview at the reception held after the interment. It's rather nice to think that I contributed in a small way to the celebration of his life.

--Bridget Poizner

Monday, April 19, 2010

Video Biographies: Four generations of women. One family.

Enthusiasm is contagious. Which is why by the time I concluded my most recent video biography interview with the most amazing 80-something-year-old woman, I felt motivated to seize the day. Have adventures. Wear crazy wigs that flew off when I threw my head back, laughing at a casino in Vegas(!?). With the ultimate goal of turning into a fiesty old woman when my time comes... because really, they're the best kind!

This particular video took a year in the making. Or more accurately, the gift certificate for the package had been acquired a year ago, but it took until last week to convince 'grandma' that she deserved to be in front of the camera, regaling everyone with the crazy stories she had accumulated over a lifetime.

Hearing about the tricks and ambushes involved in rallying grandma to the venue for the interview made me picture a woman who was quiet, kept to herself, and didn't speak much. I couldn't have been more wrong. The minute I stepped through their front door, I could hear her laugh from three rooms away! When I met her, she graciously offered me her hand but by the time I left, she enveloped me in a motherly hug goodbye. Her voice was loud and got your attention. And she was telling me her stories even before the camera was set up. In fact, she even asked me for mine.

Just like I had formed an image of her in my head, she said she had one of me... a 50-year-old, jolly woman of significantly different proportions than those that I displayed... but I think she decided to like me anyway. Because when the interview did begin, she was perfect. Charismatic. Articulate. Candid. And oh so forthcoming. And honest. It takes courage to revisit parts of our lives, and say it how it is - and she was up to that challenge. In fact, when the interview ended and her lovely daughter entered the room, she was surprised by some of the things that came up. And perhaps, more surprised that her mother had called things the way they were.

Present on the day of the interview were four generations of women from the same family. Grandma and her daughter. Grandma's grand-daughter. And great-granddaughter. The oldest being 80+. The youngest 6. And it was obvious to anyone who knew them (even if only for one afternoon), that there existed between them a wonderful bond of love, respect, spontaneity, enthusiasm, and innocent wonder... ingredients perhaps for a good life?