View Menu

Posts tagged "grandparents"

5 Generations Together In One Cemetery, A Legacy Video

Posted by lovinglegacyvideo on July, 31, 2018

This video is from when I recently had the beautiful opportunity and experience of going with my father and son to visit the cemetery where my grandparents and great grandparents are buried. (His short story about the trip is below) The last time I had been there was in 1999 after my grandfather’s death which was long before I had a child of my own. We were in Boston visiting my father, and made the long drive to New Jersey, specifically to visit the cemetery as my dad is approaching 80 and his mobility is becoming far more limited. It was clear that if this was ever going to happen, it needed to be now when it was still possible. I made this short video to celebrate the trip. It’s amazing to me to know my son will be able to relive this moment decades from now. And as my father plans to be cremated when he dies, we know there will not be such a specific place to visit him.

5 Generations Together At The Cemetery – Loving Legacy Video from Loving Legacy Video on Vimeo.

Cemetery By Stan Davis (my dad)

Five generations,
those living and those not,
together in the cemetery.

The call came from my younger son, Len, in Seattle. “When I come to visit you next month in late June, lets go down to the New Jersey cemetery and visit grandma’s and grandpa’s graves; and also your grandparents’. I know it’s almost five hours each way but I’ll drive the whole trip. Maybe we’ll overnight down there.”

“Wow! Sounds like a great idea, I’ll get back to you.” My wife, Bobbi, agreed.

“We’ll take Zuli with us,” Len’s seven years old son. “That will make five generations in our family line. I want him to understand about that.”

Still, I felt the need to think of the trip somewhat differently. My parents died in 1999 and 2004, and I hadn’t visited their gravesites since their funerals. It’s an even longer time regarding my own Bubba and Zaydeh. My mother’s parents died in 1952 and 1956 and are buried in the same cemetery.

I hadn’t visited there because of the distance. I loved them all very much and we had very good relationships. If they were interred near where I live, I would probably visit them quarterly. But 15 and 19 years was too long a time, any way you cut it. Also, I’m going on 79 and each year, because of my health, I’m even less likely to make the trip. “Now is the time and this is the perfect opportunity,” I thought.

So, a few days after Len and Zuli arrived in Boston, we drove down to the cemetery in Paramus, NJ, talking the entire way. The place advertised itself, according to its entry sign, as “Paramus, Only 10 minutes from Manhattan” off the George Washington Bridge. That may have been true when my parents bought in, but it was surely no longer the case. I always thought of Paramus in negative terms, industrialized and run down. It turned out to be a bedroom community with strip malls and plenty of traffic.

Our iPhone maps app got us there and fortunately I had kept the map with directions to the sites within the cemetery. The gates were opened and unattended, the sign said “closes at 5:30PM.” It was almost 4:00PM.
There were two minibuses in front of an office, all empty and locked. Once inside the grounds, the scene changed to both country quiet and cityscape packed, filled with tombstones standing tightly for as far as the eyes could see.

We headed for Block 10, Section 3, Plot 54, Graves 1 & 2. Something seemed off kilter. Because my grandparents were buried in a plot for two, future members could not be buried with them. To remedy this short sight, I guess, my father bought a plot for eight 1/10th mile away, with a simple granite tombstone that said only “Davis”. My parents occupied the first two spots, covered with foot high bush and each indicated with small flat stone markers. The other six spots remained empty, just grass:
These other six spots may never be used. This gave the site a skewed feeling that threw off my perception of a settled resting place. But I quickly pushed it out of my mind and greeted my parents.

I don’t believe in an afterlife, so I thought it a bit weird to be saying “Hi Mom, Hi Dad” to their presences. The other strange happening was that I was happy. I was so glad to be with them again, or at least with what was left of them. I didn’t cry, I smiled, sometimes inwardly, and some with an outright grin. There I was with them, body and mind, their bodies and my mind I guess. I wasn’t going to let this only opportunity pass by. I was going to go with the flow.

Len and Zuli backed off to give me some private time, and I started telling them how my life has gone since they left. How I have a good marriage and had a successful career. What a wonderful job they did as my parents. How much I loved them and how they would be proud of me. How I probably wouldn’t be coming back to see them again but they should be happy and know I carry them with me in my heart. As I spoke silently, I smiled more and more, ebullient and joyful. What an unexpected treat.

Following tradition, I placed a small stone on their granite slab, signifying that they had been visited, and Len and Zuli did the same. Zuli had three stuffed animals in his arms and he arranged them on the headstone, extending the row. He also tried to climb atop the headstone, and rather than thinking it was improper to do so, I knew my parents would have gotten a big kick out of it. I was hardly aware that Len, a professional videographer, filmed the scene.

Then we went on to my grandparents’ gravesites, Block 10, Section D, Line 4, Graves 29 & 30, in an abutting, filled-up cemetery with crowded granite slabs packed together like an army of soldiers marching as far as the eyes can see. We repeated the same things here, then Len and I started talking about them, how they came to America and what their lives had been like. There was no one in sight, everything was still, and we got lost in memories….

Until, that is, we realized it was just past 6:00PM and the cemetery was closed. We found our way to the gate we had entered by and, sure enough, the large padlock was hanging there. We were locked in!

We began laughing. “I don’t think we want to spend the night here,” “No, certainly not.” “This must happen all the time, let’s call the local police and ask them what to do.” They knew how to contact the groundskeeper who came within a few minutes and let us out. As we thanked him he said, “Sure,” and with a knowing smile, “Drive safely.” We went to the hotel a few miles away and planned the rest of our trip.

In 1950, my parents built a summer cottage on an acre they purchased in northern Westchester. The Town of Mohegan from the 1920s through the 1950s was a hot bed of radicals, socialists, and communists. On Forest Lane, our road, lived the president of the oxymoronic American Anarchist Party. On the corner was Zabar’s summer home, the founder of the still-famous Zabar’s Delicatessen in Manhattan. A few minutes away from us in Mohegan was Ben Gitlow, who received dubious semi-fame as a turncoat witness in the infamous McCarthy anti-communist hearings then taking place in Washington DC. It was a real hodgepodge in a tumultuous time. About two miles further west and on the Hudson River was Peekskill NY, then the northern home of the Ku Klux Klan.

What more logical person to invite to sing in Peekskill than Paul Robeson, the world-renowned opera singer. Robeson, a black man, had sung the lead role of the Moor, in Othello at the Met. An ardent Communist, he also sang in Moscow. This triggered the infamous Robeson riots, whose fires lit up the nighttime sky that we saw from our cottage.

Mohegan, a 59 minutes ride by train to Manhattan, was mainly a semi-rural summer community back then. When my father retired, they winterized the place and added a living room that I dubbed the ‘New York City room’ because they filled it with furniture from their 4-room apartment and then rarely used it. By the time my parents sold their Mohegan home in the late 1990s, and moved into senior living a mile from my home in Brookline MA, it was a year-round place. We decided to take the short detour and visit the old homestead. Len knew it well from many visits there.

I looked it up on Google maps and video, so I knew a different house was there now. We drove up, parked, and I rang the doorbell. A man around 60 opened the door. “Hello. Can I help you?” “I grew up in this house. I used to live here.” “Are you a Davis?” “Yes. You must have bought it from my parents.” “Indeed we did.” That was all that was needed, the spark that started an hour and a half visit.

Al and his wife Lisa took Len, Zuli and me on a detailed tour. We talked about the grounds. How they had to cut down many of the trees that were big, old and dangerous because they were too close to the house. My father and I planted one of those as a sapling our first summer there. How they cleared bush and expanded the backyard. How he was a carpenter and contractor, so he did all the building additions himself. He added a second floor, a garage, a screened porch, and reshuffled many of the interior walls. Nevertheless, the old place was still knowable to Len and me. The best part of it was that those who bought it from my folks still lived there, and they hadn’t torn down the old place but instead built on it. Our modest home, the site of my wedding to Bobbi on the very day of my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, still stood. Len had been about eight back then; now he is forty-five.

¬The house visit, as an end to the cemetery trip, pumped us up even more. It was icing on the cake of memory.

Continue reading

Sessions in Boston and NYC in September and October

Posted by lovinglegacyvideo on July, 29, 2018

Loving Legacy Video - At Work

Loving Legacy Video will be doing interviews in Boston during the week of September 13th-20th and in NYC the week of October 14th-21st. We are currently scheduling interviews during those dates. Please share the service with friends, colleagues and family members who may be interested. The interviews are typically done in client homes and are conducted over the course of 1 day.

There’s lots of information, details, samples, and pricing throughout the pages of our website. Book now as the dates will fill up quickly. Best way to do so is by contacting us or calling 206-679-8381 to start the process. We look forward to working with you.

View samples of the work

Understand the process

Why Do A Loving Legacy Video? from Loving Legacy Video on Vimeo.

Continue reading

AgeWise King County Article Features Insights from Loving Legacy Video

Posted by lovinglegacyvideo on July, 27, 2018

Vintage Family Black and White Photos from Agewise

Recently, I was contacted by AgeWise King County to contribute my thoughts to their article about ‘Leaving One’s Legacy’ based on my work interviewing elders. There are so many common themes that come up in Loving Legacy videos around a desire for people’s future generations to know those who came before them, to want people to know you in ways that you may not have previously shared, and to take the time to do this while one can.

“Another strategy for communicating your personal story is video. Len Davis, an award-winning commercial and personal videographer, films and facilitates autobiographical interviews with elders. People who seek his expertise fall into two categories—30- to 60-year-olds who notice their aging parents changing and losing some of their faculties and recognize that the window of opportunity for them to access the stories and information about their parents’ lives is closing; and 60- to 90-year-olds who want to capture their lived experience and share it with grandkids or future generations. They want to be able to reflect on their own lives as well as those of generations past.

“People are motivated to preserve their cultural history and their sense of identity,” says Davis. “They want to share where their family is from, the food they ate, the heirlooms that were passed down to them. Some people want to talk about their professional and civic accomplishments, or their lives in the military.” The video experience allows them to explore who they are and what they want others to know. Davis comments, “The videos have sometimes changed the relationship between adults and their elderly parents. This particular media and the recorded stories helped the ad

ult children understand their parents differently, with more knowledge and compassion.”

Clips from the videos have been used in memorial services and other life celebrations. People also can watch the video and enter a different relationship with their parents or with themselves. Davis says, “People don’t want to live with regret about what they didn’t share.”

AgeWise is a great local resource for elders who are active, connected and making a difference in King County.

Leaving Your Legacy

Continue reading

Do You Love Me? It’s Nice To Know

Posted by lovinglegacyvideo on May, 4, 2017

‘You’re upset, you’re worn out, go inside, go lie down. Maybe you’ve got indigestion!”

I was recently hired to film a very special 50th wedding anniversary celebration in Edmonds. Together with the photos and videos that the husband had edited to project for the crowd during the reception, was this great clip from Fiddler On The Roof in which the husband grills the wife about whether or not she loves him. The crowd loved it and it was a gentle ode to the challenges of marriage, and how they’d managed to stay strong together after all these years. The family sat together, parents and grandparents with the grandchildren at the head table laughing. The family was also of European descent and there were a number of people in the crowd with accents who’d immigrated to Seattle. It seemed to me like a clip that would be great to share at any similar wedding anniversary party or celebration.

To learn more about our lifecycle event video coverage, visit our page here

Continue reading

Adult Children Making Powerful Legacy Videos with and About Their Aging Parents with Dementia

Posted by lovinglegacyvideo on April, 5, 2017

The 2 videos below are different kinds of legacy or end of life videos. In these beautiful and sad videos, 2 adult children explore their parent’s aging process. More specifically they share their parent’s increasing dementia and memory loss.

In the video above, an old father can’t remember his family members, his life from day to day or other recent events but when his son takes him driving and plays the songs he sang throughout his career as a musician, the words are all there and he comes alive joyfully singing and returning to his old self. The son has begun using the videos he records to raise money to record an album with his dad singing and all proceeds going toward supporting The Alzheimers Society. So far he’s raised $163,000.

From his website:
I’m fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Society because of the advice they’ve given us in the last few years. Without them we would have had very little idea or support about how to deal with even the basics of Dad’s condition.
The more Alzheimer’s kicked in, the more Dad became violent – both physically and verbally – it was incredibly difficult to manage. And terrifying at times.

Alzheimer’s Society provide a telephone helpline to sufferers and their families. I cannot begin to describe how a stranger’s voice at the end of the phoneline helped when things got really bad.

Dad was a singer throughout his life – he was a Butlin’s Redcoat and then travelled around singing in clubs around the country. He worked in a factory when he got married and did the occasional bit of singing on side. His nickname is The Songaminute Man – simply because of how many songs he knows.

In the last few years his memory has deteriorated a lot – often not recognising me as his son. Its a horrible illness.However, now when we’ve got him singing again he’s back in the room. It’s these moments that we treasure.

The plan is to share as much of Dad’s singing as we can and hopefully it will help raise money to fund the work of the Alzheimer’s Society – more specifically to go towards paying for a person at the end of the phoneline to help other people like us.

The other video doesn’t have the same feel good thread, but is a very authentic and painful window into how it feels to see his aging mother lose her memory and even the awareness of who her son is to her.

A Son Documents His Mother's Increasing Dementia in Video Series from Loving Legacy Video on Vimeo.

To learn more about the projects visit:

Continue reading

Silver Kite – A Seattle Intergenerational Community Arts Program

Posted by lovinglegacyvideo on February, 20, 2017

I enjoyed the opportunity to spend this morning with the folks at Silver Kite, a Seattle intergenerational community arts program. They’re doing great things using art as a vehicle for connecting across generations and cultures, promoting social change and bringing people together. They also offer professional development workshops for older adult service providers and educators in arts leadership, and intergenerational programming. A mutual friend had introduced me to the founder/director Jen Kulik who shared with me her personal story around the birth of Silver Kite and what’s at the heart of their work. One of the coolest projects they have is something called the Spark Box, which is a subscription based art box with materials and activities that prompt the creation of artworks with personal storytelling exercises. I think it’s a beautiful idea and was happy to see examples of what the boxes contain. It’s amazing to me that Silver Kite offers classes in graphic memoir, visual and digital storytelling, dementia friendly poetry and storytelling and so much more. Intergenerational theater programs are also one core piece of their work, both leading exercises and performances with youth and elders acting together. And they bring the exercises and games to the community, to libraries, assisted living communities and nursing homes around the Seattle area. Very impressive work. To learn more, visit their class listings page at

Studies have shown participation in the arts is beneficial to older adults’ self-esteem, socialization, communication skills, and emotional health.

Continue reading

Making Videos With and About Grandparents

Posted by lovinglegacyvideo on February, 4, 2017

‘Directed by Tweetie’ is a very sweet Scottish documentary film made by a 23 year old with his ageing grandparents. It’s a beautiful family portrait in which very little actually happens. It’s all just him interacting with his grandparents, putting the microphone on them, talking about why he’s filming them, visiting parts of their home and garden, etc. The grandparents very innocently cooperate, answering his casual questions, watching him assembling and adjusting his equipment, and along the way engaging about how they see themselves, including reacting to watching the footage that’s been shot. It’s simple and sweet.

Directed by Tweedie from Duncan Cowles on Vimeo.

Continue reading

How To Talk To Old People Video

Posted by lovinglegacyvideo on January, 22, 2017

This is a sweet video passed along by a friend. The video’s title ‘How to Talk to Old People’ is what first caught my eye but then I stuck around to learn some insights. It’s a goofy interview with a 100 year old grandmother in Bellevue WA. Her grandson is interviewing her about the kinds of questions she loves to be asked. She also talks about the most common questions she’s asked by people who marvel at her age. It’s beautiful to see her so vibrant and clear at a full 100 years of age.


Continue reading

I Wish You Enough – Final Conversation Between Elderly Father and Adult Daughter

Posted by Leonard on December, 15, 2016

This is a beautiful animation of a final conversation between an elderly father and his adult daughter. I believe it was produced by the health and wellness website CureJoy. It was meaningful to me in considering these challenging conversations we have with our ageing or dying parents. How to say goodbye in the last few times we see each other. How to have difficult conversations about painful subjects. How to get past previous conflicts and patterns in the way we communicate with each other. I liked the simplicity of the animation in tackling these situations. It was upbeat and feel good, but spoke to these situations in general. In the work of Loving Legacy Video, it’s amazing to know that the videos we produce intentionally ask deeper questions about the things people want others to know about their life, about regrets they’ve had or situations they wish they’d handled differently or made other choices about the path they took. Or about the type of parent or grandparent they tried to be.

'I Wish You Enough' Animation from Loving Legacy Video on Vimeo.

Continue reading

© 2024 Loving Legacy Video
Connect With Us: loving legacy video on vimeo loving legacy video on facebook loving legacy video on LinkedIn

web development by amplifiedmultimedia