A Living Legacy For Generations

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - December 27, 2006
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Michael Taleff can preserve your life story
Michael Taleff can preserve your life story

Would you want future generations to know who you were, what you were like, and the things you believed in?

Michael Taleff’s company, A Living Legacy, preserves your life story on DVD so that generations to come will know all about you.

To promote his business, customers can view a sample DVD of his 86 year-old mother-in-law, Freda. One of the heartfelt moments in the video includes a shot of Freda holding a golden locket she got from her husband in 1941 containing a photo of both of them.

Taleff’s wife, Audrey, a nurse practitioner at Waianae Comprehensive Health Center, cried tears of joy when the video showed her mom waving goodbye from the back porch.

“This video captures her voice, mannerisms, frowns and a few secrets,” says Taleff, a Pennsylvania native who moved to Hawaii five years ago. “This is a connection from one generation to the next.”

Taleff’s grown children Joe and Stephanie can now have a living history of Grandma that will be so much more full than any photograph or written work.

The reason Taleff started the company in 2005 is because he realized that there were only two people left who remembered the voice of his late-paternal grandpa, Elo Taleff, who died in 1960.

“Grandpa gave me quarters,” Taleff recalls. “He smoked cigars, and he gave me his cigar boxes to put my marbles in. Once we die, no one will remember him. He’ll be gone, and it struck home. That’s kind of a waste.”

The Moiliili resident also wishes he could have captured on tape his late father’s stories about getting chocolate from French soldiers.

Taleff acknowledges the staff from the Small Business Administration that helped him get a much-needed loan to buy software, computers, video and editing equipment to start his business.

With 30 years of counselling experience and 15 years of teaching experience in universities, he utilizes his skills to sense people’s feelings, understand their thoughts and nuances to deal with the challenge of making people relax and forget about being on camera.

He suggests that these videos are ideal for retirements, milestone birthdays, military members and everyone.

“Why not do a documentary about the ordinary person?” asks Taleff.

“They have so much to say.” For more information on A Living Legacy, call 220-6700.

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