Newsletter – May 2011

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May 2011 Newsletter for Seniors on Vancouver Island

Canada, being in large part a nation of immigrants, over the last 100 years has had so many people with incredible stories of survival, achievements, courage and tenacity as they faced two world wars, the depression, and the sheer size and environment of this country. When these qualities were mixed with compassion for others who were experiencing the same unbelievable challenges on a day to day basis they created the Canadian identity that we are so privileged to share today.

In 1974 I was fortunate to meet my wife’s great aunt Elsie at a family dinner that was held for us on our arrival in Victoria; she was in her 90’s. She was so sympathetic to us regarding our extended, and much delayed, flight to Vancouver that had left Trish and me exhausted having traveled with two small children. Later that afternoon I discovered that as a 4-year old she had walked across the prairies holding the hand of her older sister behind a covered wagon!!!! What other stories could she have told?

I went to a Celebration of Life yesterday. Now I am left with only memories where just a few days ago I had the comfort of a really good friend. I have a few photographs of him but not many. My mind is still set in the “Brownie” era when it comes photography, which is unfortunate because as the saying goes “We’ve come a long way baby” since those days when it comes to creating lasting images of important events and days. Not only with the technology but there are now companies out there that can help us dinosaurs to create these treasures in so many different formats and keep family stories alive for future generations.

One such company is I Treasure Video Productions and at my request they submitted the following outline of what they do and why.

Roy Summerhayes Seniors 101

Roy Summerhayes


I Treasure Video Productions

“I can feel my altitude dropping; 10,000 ft, 9,000 ft. I know there will be no way to survive a crash into the frozen depths of the North Sea. My heart is hammering as I try to recall the different ways we were taught to deal with accidents like these.— 8,000 ft, 7,000 ft. I realize that these are going to be the last minutes of my life.”

This is excerpted from a story my daughter Joyalea wrote as a grade 10 English assignment about her grandfather’s experiences flying Spitfires during the Second World War. The engine reignited or Joyalea wouldn’t be here to be enchanted by the personal histories that have shaped who we are as individuals and as a society.

Watching my dad and our daughter interact in the recording of these stories inspired my partner and me. As independent video producers, in the last 25 years we have experienced the video production process become more and more efficient and affordable. This has created an opportunity to produce high quality, low budget mini autobiographies and then to distribute them as full screen, high definition video on the Internet. We would be creating a people’s history and at the same time helping folks to reconnect with their stories, dig up old photos, home movies, period music, and old memories. It would also help reconnect them with family and friends and perhaps help create new friendships. My wife Julie went to work creating as an interactive website and as a secure place to display and store the videos. Encore! is the production armed tasked with helping to get the stories told and recorded.

Making a personal history video is a fun process. Break out the old photo albums. Put one of your favorite recordings on the stereo. Sit down have a coffee or tea and start reminiscing. Julie and I can zoom in on some of the photos, cut in old film and video clips, add your music, use graphics to help identify people and places, and edit it all together to provide continuity. We then compress the finished video and post it to the web where it can be emailed to friends, neighbours, and family.

These videos become a strand in the fabric of the social history of our communities, our country, and a treasured heirloom for family and friends to share.

Julie and Phil can be reached at

Tel. 250-752-4469

There are other Companies that provide this service on the Island.