Greg Cohoon (drmellow) wrote,
Greg Cohoon

Grandaddy Herman's 88th Birthday

On Wednesday, March 8, my Grandaddy Herman celebrated his 88th birthday. His Sunday School class threw a party for him, which became bigger and bigger as more people heard about it. By the time the party rolled around, over sixty people showed up to wish him well. I took Wednesday and Thursday off from work and yarbiedoll and I headed to Columbia, NC to join everyone. My parents brought ccohoon and my Great-uncle Elwood (Grandaddy Herman's brother) down from Maryland for the event. Grandaddy Herman's two other surviving siblings also came out for the party, as did family and friends from the community and all over. It really was a nice party. One of the members of Grandaddy's Sunday School owns the local restaurant, which happened to be closed Wednesday night, and volunteered to let us use her restaurant for the event once it became obvious that there were going to be more people showing up than would fit in the back of the church. We had the biggest steaks I've ever seen, baked potatoes, salad, and rolls. There were a couple of deserts, including a birthday cake with a big 88 on it.

Grandaddy Herman, Grandmother Doris, and Greg
My dad set up a slideshow on the computer, which he parked in the corner of the restaurant, that included all sorts of pictures from Grandaddy Herman's life. My favorite one is the one with him, Grandmother Doris, and me sitting on their back doorstep. OK, I'm standing, but they're sitting. According to the picture's title, I'm about three months old. It's the picture that I included in this post. The rest of the pictures in the slideshow were great, too, and Dad set it up to loop through them all over and over, for the whole party. They were a real hit -- especially some of the older pictures, with some of the older folks.

Coming back from the quick trip to Tyrrell County, I started thinking about the documentary I started making a few years ago. It's really just a couple of interviews with Grandaddy Herman, that I filmed. I started piecing them together to make a coherent story, but my old computer just wasn't up to the task -- the screen was too small to successfully edit, and the processor was too slow to render transitions at any worthwhile speed. I ended up just transferring all the footage from tape to my hard drive and essentially putting the project on the shelf.

Now that I have a faster computer with a decent monitor, I can get back to work on the project. I spent my free time over the past several days rearranging the video clips, adding titles to different sections, and creating transitions so that it's a lot less jumpy. This evening, I finally got it to a point where, while it's still pretty rough, it's a rough cut that I really wouldn't mind showing to other people. I distilled about 2 and half hours of interview footage into a 33 minute video of my grandfather just talking about his life -- growing up, working on the farm, his time in the CCC, marriage, raising kids, church, and more. It's pretty neat to watch. I'm going to get some pictures from my dad that I'll be able to use to help make the film more visually interesting, and provide more context for the people and events that Grandaddy Herman's talking about. When it's all done, it's going to be an awesome little video.

I've really enjoyed working on this, and once I get this project closer to being finished, I'm going to do the same thing for my mother's parents.
Tags: documentary, family

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