Mesa Grandmother Discovers New Media for Sharing Family History
Dana Tramba, a retired military wife and grandmother living in Mesa, knows the importance of stories. An avid family historian, Dana creates digital books of her family’s stories and teaches memoir writing. “Everybody has a story to tell,” Dana said. “Everybody’s special in their own way and everybody’s done special things in their lives, even though they probably don’t like to talk about it or think they’ve done anything special.”
But, nearing 70, Dana knows she may not be here to share all the stories she has collected with her children and grandchildren. That’s why, when Dana learned about a project at her local library that would record the stories of older adults, she jumped at the opportunity.
The project was called Ageless Wonders and was supported by the Arizona State Library with funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Developed by the Mesa Public Library and Mesa Arts Center, it took the memories of older adults in the community and used them to create a multimedia performance about aging and memory. To participate, Dana and her husband, Norm, were interviewed in their home about numerous aspects of their life and past—going to school in a one-room school house, Norm’s experience as a test pilot for Cessna, and their personal recollections of the day JFK was assassinated. These videos interviews were edited, set to music and combined with the stories of other participants to create an interpretive artistic piece that was performed at the library and at the Mesa Arts Center.
Now that the project is complete, Dana and Norm have permanent copies of their video interviews and the performances. And Dana’s grandkids have a whole new type of story to look forward to—not just one where they can read her words, but where they can see her face and hear her voice. “What’s beautiful now is…the kids and grandkids that we’ll never meet will be able to meet us and hear our stories,” Dana said. “We’ll be able to pass [this] on for generations.”
That’s how you save your life,” Dana continued, “keeping your story alive.”