East Texas family preserving memories on Tell a Story Day

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Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 8:02 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - April 27 is National Tell a Story Day, and some people are considering how to preserve the life stories of elder family members, and an East Texas family shared how they participated.

One day while driving to work, Jason Barber of Nacogdoches had a thought that led to him hiring StoryKeeping, based in San Antonio, to preserve his grandfather’s life story a few months ago.

“Twenty years from now, will I remember what my grandfather’s voice sounded like?” Barber thought. “The thought just kind of occurred to me and I was like, man that really kind of makes me a little sad; the thought that I might not remember what his voice sounded like.”

After another family member approached him about recording the life stories of his wife’s grandmother, it confirmed it was time to make it happen.

“I need to do this, no matter what the cost, it needs to be done. it’s really important for future generations to be able to have these memories - not even me as much as my children as well.”

Personal historians capture people’s legacies and help them pass that down to future generations through books, audio recordings and videos.

“I think the best way to do that is through film, because there is nothing that replaces being able to look into the eyes of the storyteller because the eyes are the windows to the soul - you know what they’re thinking, you know what they’re feeling, and so that’s my main goal, is to create something where the family feels like they’re sitting in that living room with the storyteller.”

Barber’s grandfather was reluctant to get in front of the camera, but after watching the final film, everything changed.

“But when he saw the actual production and he saw the quality of it, and saw how Clinton had made it into more or less a movie, basically, and we watched all of it with the family, and I think he was in tears.”

Barber says he believes everyone has a story worth telling, and encourages others to do it because they won’t regret it.

“It’s a selfless thing to do something like that, because it’s not valuable to you, it’s valuable to generations down the road that want to hear your voice, and want to see you, see your mannerisms, and understand your values and how you think about things, and your life experiences.”

After stories are recorded, they are stored on flash drives and the cloud for easy access by the entire family.

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