Sunday, September 20, 2009

Life stories yes... but even neighborhoods have a history.

Last week, I got to know a neighbor better. She happens to be the editor of my neighborhood newsletter, and when she heard about what I do, she suggested writing an article about it. I was pleased as punch, needless to say. So we talked some more. Then she asked if I would be interested in creating a short film about our neighborhood.

This took me by surprise. I love our neighborhood and it's charming and quaint but beyond that? I was about to explain to her that it was the stories people had to share that interested me most... when she went on to say that there was one man in particular who put in a lot of time and effort to make it what it is today.

"Ah, so it's a film about the gentleman and not so much the neighborhood?" I asked.

"He is the neighborhood."

This was intriguing. I was very interested to meet with this man and get him talking. But it was not meant to be as he had passed away a few years ago.

My neighbor continued, "There are a lot of people who live in this neighborhood who either knew him personally or knew of him - and I know they would welcome an opportunity to talk about how he touched their lives. Plus, we could speak with his family who still live in the same house."

This was starting to sound interesting... a lot like the Tribute Videos that I create when families wish to honor a loved one on special occasions like their Anniversary, Birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day or Father's Day and so on.

So I returned home and googled him. To my surprise, there was a lot about him. I also found out that the pretty patch of green by the creek near our house was started by him... this made it personal!

"Alright, I'll do it." I announced to the neighborhood committee at their next meeting.

Right then and there, a committee member turned to me with a gleam in his eye and started narrating anecdotes with the gentleman we would be honoring with the video. When he finished, another member started... and then a third person started without even waiting for the second to finish.

But hold on, I wanted to exclaim! I don't even have my camera yet... this meeting was just to crystalize the details.

But there was no stopping them.

"Oh you could call him at any hour of the day or night and he'd listen."
"He always did what he said he would."
"He kept an open-door policy..."
"He came to my grand-daughter's christening."
"We used to share drinks every weekend."

The stories that were pouring out were personal and the people sharing them were visibly happy to have an opportunity to finally share them... and acknowledge the man who hitherto had been valued only in their minds.

What a wonderful thing it will be for his family to see this video! And realize what a lasting influence he was and continues to be for people even today.

And what a fun way for people who had never heard of him before (like me!) to find out about him and his contribution to our neighborhood and lives.

The video is still a work in progress but the gentleman in question is already weaving his magic... getting the whole neighborhood to come together for this labor of love!


1 comment:

Judith Dudley said...

Aditi - I love your storeis...but especially this one! "He IS the neighborhood." WOW. That is powerful! If we could only all leave that kind of legacy.
Judith Dudley

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