Discovering Stored Treasures

Discovering Genealogy, One Ancestor at a Time.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 22: Fearless Females: Stored Treasures Hits the Big Screen!

March 22 Prompt— If a famous director wanted to make a movie about one of your female ancestors who would it be? What actress would you cast in the role and why?

I have written about this question before in my post: The Next Big Thing. From the "Aha moment" I had three and a half years ago as I realized my great-grandmother's journal was much more than a journal—it was a book waiting to be written—I also envisioned the screenplay. It would make a wonderful period piece describing the life of a young woman and her immigration story. I can even imagine what the Movie Billboard might look like!

The nice thing about converting the book to a movie is that I could add family stories that I've collected since the publishing of the book such as Ruth's story Runaway Newlyweds from yesterday's post or the story about Sara Esther, my uncle Larry remembered Minnie telling him.

Picture a cold snowy day in Belarus around 1905. Minnie and her younger sister, Sarah Esther, are seated next to their father, Moshe Aaron on their rickety horse drawn carriage. The carriage is returning from a trip to the central post office in Neiman, overloaded with mail for the towns folk. In addition they are bringing burlap sacks full of food and other supplies to trade in town. Sara Esther, bundled up in her down feather coat, is snuggling next to Minnie, trying to stay warm. As they approach the river and bridge leading to their home town, Belitsa, the three-year-old Sara Esther can barely contain her excitement. The horses continue to dredge through the falling snow and climb the old bridge. Sara Esther leans over to get a better look at the following river below and before anyone can contain her, she falls off the wagon and into the river. Moshe Aaron brings the carriage to a halt. Nine-year-old Minnie jumps off the carriage with her father and they run to the river bank. Townsfolk who happen to be nearby come running to join them. The skinny toddler, who doesn't know how to swim,  sank into the freezing waters. Surprisingly to all, she quickly emerges between the icy chunk. Miraculously, her down coat functioned as a floatation device. There is a lot of commotion. Someone pulls Sara Esther out of the frozen waters, and hands over the shaking toddler to a tearful Moshe Aaron. Her drenched blond curls begin to freeze quickly and cling to her father's long beard. She looks up at her father with her big beautiful blue eyes and Minnie joins them from behind in a big hug of relief.

I admit this is a mushy scene and I've embellished much of the story. I've taken some tips from yesterday's talk on #RootsTech by +Kim Weitkamp from story@home, to create an exciting story from what I knew. All Larry remembered was that Sarah Esther fell off the wagon and into the water and the down coat she was wearing saved her life. I don't know that Minnie was there or that Moshe Aaron was driving his wagon. I didn't add the story to the Memoir, because I couldn't document any of the details. The Memoir, was first hand stories told by Minnie or her daughter Ethel. Yet, a Movie would allow for some poetic license to related family stories and embellish them a bit.

Casting this film might be complicated. The story spans Minnie's life from the time she was a very young girl to when she was an elderly woman. On the Next Big Thing post, I chose three actresses to play Minnie. I chose them because they "stand out to me for their beauty, softness and kindness on screen. I think Jennifer Connelly would make a great young Minnie, Amy Irving from Crossing Delancey could play the middle aged Minnie, and Tova Feldush who played Golda Meir could play the narrator and older Minnie."

A side note about #RootsTech: If like me, you are not fortunate enough to be in Utah, I highly recommend watching the live streaming. The focus has been very much about the importance of adding stories to your family tree. I feel very high tech as watching the conference from the comforts of my couch. This year I figured out how watch the lectures on TV. On my iphone, I go to I then play the live stream and project it through appleTV onto my television. This leaves my laptop free for blogging, taking notes and tweeting! I highly recommend you try it! It's amazing to be able to be part of the conference and hear such inspiring talks by renown experts and all for free!

I've enjoyed having the conference reinforce much of what I have been doing in this blog, telling family stories! Lets hope a famous director reads my blog and decides to make a movie about my favorite Fearless Female!

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