By Marilyn Tinnin
A One-of-a-Kind Living Legacy
I suppose every family evaluates their heirlooms a little differently. Some things are valuable because they are costly–jewels, fine art, antiques. Those are special, for sure. But then, there are items of a different kind, and it doesn’t take an estate appraisal to put them in the category of priceless, precious, and irreplaceable. My recent discovery of Living Legacy falls into the latter category.
Haven’t you ever sat around with a sibling or a cousin after losing an elderly loved one and reminisced over, “Remember when?” Have you laughed till you couldn’t laugh anymore about a few of the quirks and anecdotes that were simply part of the personality we loved? My sister and I have surely shared some tales about our parents, especially my dad’s homespun phrases that summed up many a situation in a way nobody else on earth could do and got the point across that he was in charge and we were not. He was what we would call “one of a kind.” I just wish my children and grandchildren had really known my parents and their dad’s parents. What a treasure they were.
The wonders of modern videography now open the door to new ways to keep the best memories of your loved ones fresh and close always. The collective and creative genius of Mississippians Michael Eggers and Cotton Yancey have recently brought professional expertise to the making of totally unique conversational videos capturing for posterity the essence of an individual. I know. I had to see it to believe it.
The “subject” (or me, in my “guinea pig” experience) is given a list of questions meant to evoke memories, stories, and almost any random thought that might make its way into the conversation. I had a few days to think about the questions before we filmed. The questions begin with light subjects like favorite colors, favorite movies, favorite books and gradually progress to more thoughtful questions about life lessons, relationships, and matters of faith. Almost every question prompted a story from the past—some I am sure my children have heard before but some, too, that likely meant a whole lot more to me than I was able to explain to them at the time. How much more they are going to appreciate some of those stories now that they have had the experience of loving their own babes the way I have loved them.
I have a wonderful treasure I discovered after my mother’s death in a collection of love letters my daddy had written to her over the years. They start during their courtship and continue through his time in the Army during World War II. The paper is yellowed and becoming brittle. What I love most about these letters is the way my father’s words reinforce the values I saw him live, and the memories I have of the way he adored my mother. How I wish I had a video with his face, his voice, and the slightly dry wit that so often came through. I would love for my children and grandchildren to appreciate certain traits about him that I sometimes see in them. Genes are amazing!
A video, however, made while the subject is still in good health and willing to share those stories and personal tidbits, just might carry weight and meaning for the next generation far beyond anything a 60-plus-year-old antique grandmother could imagine at the moment. In today’s world especially, where the pop culture is rewriting the very foundation of meaning, we Baby Boomers learned from our parents and grandparents, the impact might be huge.
There is nothing amateur in the work of Cotton Yancey and Michael Eggers. Their credentials are impeccable. Both have experience in professional film production and show business. Check out their website LivingLegacyfilm.com to read more about their background.
Can I just add that the whole experience was a delight? They make it easy. They make it fun. They make it memorable, and I am thinking the finished product will one day remind my children of the things that were important to me—and it is my number one prayer—that those things will become the strong foundation of their lives, too.
Do it for them.