Saturday, October 1, 2011

2004 - the prampa project

at the very beginning of 2004, i had a job at a marketing firm in orem, utah. it wasn't the most exciting job in the world. i wrote and edited content articles for their website on a number of subjects - most of which i knew nothing about. as i wrote numberless mind numbing articles, i had plenty of time to think. and one day, i got this distinct feeling to interview my granpda smith. i brushed the feeling away and continued to write, but it kept coming back. 

interview grandpa. 
interview grandpa. 
like now, please. 

i finally gave in and called him up. "grandpa," i said, "i'd really like to interview you." and you want to know what he did? he laughed. he thought it was so silly that anyone would want to interview him! but he eventually agreed and on may 4, 2004, i rode the bus to sandy, utah and walked to his apartment where his wife patsy and he were waiting for me. we got all settled, i placed my sister's camcorder on the glass table by the couch and pressed record and we started chatting. 
{may 4, 2004}

i had lots of questions for him to answer, but i mostly just wanted him to talk. about his life. his childhood, meeting my grandma, dentistry, his children, his hobbies, the navy, his darling new wife patsy, whatever. some subjects really got him going and we had to kind of find our way back on track. others he was very confused about and kept mixing up details and names and information. sometimes he just stopped talking {like when we neared the time in his life when my grandma passed away}. so, i'd have to redirect, ask a new question and keep him going.

i was there for a few hours and then transcribed the entire session. a short eight months later, my grandpa died. 

it's up to me now to put together his life history. i don't mind having this assignment, but i feel like i have to do it perfectly. and i have to have all the information. because if i get it all published for my family and then we find a neat story or a journal {yah right} or an amazing picture, then i would be devastated that it was left out! i know this seems ridiculous, but it's the reason the history is still not complete, six and a half years later. 

to my credit, my mom did find an entire box of slides a couple years ago and there are some amazing images. to her credit, she has already transferred those images from slides to digital format and given me a copy of them all. we're pretty sure there aren't any more artifacts or boxes of pictures that we haven't already found, so i should really get things moving. 

it's been an incredible experience to learn more about his life and to listen to his words. to read his writing. to laugh at his jokes. to see life through his eyes. 

he was fascinated by nature and all things science. he could probably stare at the night sky for hours. he was ambidextrous {because his parents didn't want him to be left handed, so they made him learn to do things with his right}, which really helped him as a dentist. he up and moved his entire family from logan, utah to ventura, ca because he thought the weather wouldn't be so harsh to my grandma's deteriorating health. he hated communists. he served in the navy in wwii. he loved to golf and got his only hole in one when he was playing alone. he pursued photography in his spare time and even had his own dark room in his home. when he was very young, his entire family was in a car/train accident {they were in the car}. his older brother and his mom died from complications. his dad owned a chick hatchery for years. when i knew him, he had a black firebird...with flames on the side. 

i really miss having my grandpa around, but feel like reading his stories and having had such personal experiences with him helps keep him close. i'm honored to be able to attempt to record it all and hope i can do it justice. 
 {1983, months after my grandma passed away}
 {1983 with scott}
 {1997 celebrating our october birthdays!}
 {1999 quietly chatting during scott's wedding reception}

also in 2004:
 {dyeing eggs at easter}
 {with my p.r. capstone class group at our final presentation. i spent a looooooot of time with these guys! brian, thomas, me, amyann and tanner}
 {with mom, ryan and richard}
 {larry!! my first car!! he's so shiny and new here.}
{prom summer 2004. ryan's high school dj equipment and mirror ball sure came in handy.}


Laura said...

I'm a little creeped out ... I know we've never met in person because we're friends through Ryan, but I laugh that you don't like cake either! It's all about the ice cream. Mike once gave me an "ice cream cake" - it was a half gallon of ice cream with candles put in it. I also love peppermint ice cream too! And yes, my grandpa was a dentist too. Weird. Yet cool.

By the way, I LOVE that pictures of the fall leaves changing! Beautiful!

ed and kelli said...

oh prampa. love him. also, i LOVE that you and ryan keep track of who's turn it is for which spaghetti noodle batch. i liked that little white board in the cave:)

brittani c. said...

What a unique and special opportunity you had interviewing your grandpa. It sounds like you have a call in life preserving family history...including the story of how you and Ryan met. He doesn't strike me as a stalker kind of person. In that case, persistence paid off! I would have loved hearing his side of the story. :)

Karen Hauley said...

More prampa pictures to come . . . i found a few large boxes of hard copy prints that I need to scan.