Years ago, the romantic movie, Love Story, was all the rage. Sniffling teenage girls could quote verbatim the line that Jenny (Ali MacGraw) first delivered to Ollie (Ryan O’Neal). “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” What bologna!
So what is love? Since it’s Valentine’s Day today, it’s a timely question.
There is no easy answer. It involves so many facets of behavior. And despite being married for 37 years, we are hardly experts in the field. But with that longevity, perhaps there’s some insight.
Top of the list would be the role that good communication plays. It comes in many forms: listening, speaking (and knowing when not to speak), the quick hug,and the amused look. It’s all part of the package.
In his article “Why is Listening So Important“, Dr. Don Friedman (Board Certified M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine) addresses the key role that listening plays in a loving relationship. Listening, he argues, is the singlemost important element of a relationship because of the importance that it puts on paying attention to the other person. Dr. Friedman continues to outline the barriers to good listening and the real benefits of active listening. If listening is open, supportive, and selfless, it offers a sense of belonging and a place where others can find identity and grow. Perhaps, Friedman wonders, that’s why God gave us two ears and one mouth–to listen rather than talk.
At Saving Memories Forever, we couldn’t agree more. Listening is an act of love.
But communication also calls for delivering a message. Delivery can take many forms as well, including the actual voice, body language, and deed. We recently came across a recording that combines all three in an audio story called “Danny and Annie“.
This story was recorded by StoryCorps, a large and public oral history project which has visited over 1,700 cities and towns across America and collected and archived more than 50,000 interviews. Each conversation is recorded and preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Millions listen to their weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition. This particular story reflects a new turn at Story Corps: it combines voice and animation.
The “Danny and Annie” recording recounts the 27-year romance between Danny Perasa, an OTB clerk, and his wife, Annie, a nurse. The two reminisce about how they met and how they stayed in love. They have a sweetness about them that makes everyday items–like notes left around the house–seem exciting. As the Perasas launch into their story, there’s an infectious enthusiasm that draws in listeners. Even though strangers to us, Danny and Annie personify the eloquence that can be found in the voices of everyday people when we take the time to listen.
Saving Memories Forever offers you an opportunity to do just that. Even better: you can capture and listen to the stories of your own relatives. Others apparently agree. Our service just won the Developer’s Challenge at RootsTech 2014. Or you can click here to read our previous RootsTech blog. Sponsored by FamilySearch, Ancestry.com, Find My Past and My Heritage, RootsTech is the premiere technology conference for family historians and genealogists.
Back to the movie. Sixty year olds in your family are likely to remember the tearjerker movie, Love Story. They are also wise enough to know that the trick to romance lies more in the listening and everyday small actions of kindness than Hollywood fanfare. Ask them how they might define love. Record some of their love stories. Treat yourself to reading both Dr. Friedman’s article and listening to the video. It’s our Valentine’s Day present to you.
Jane and Harvey are Co-Owners of Saving Memories Forever