From the estate archive of Carl J. Henniger
I'm working on a video documentary about my mom. I needed a new project, something I could really sink my teeth into. Something that felt meaningful and powerful and would take a long time. I love sewing and making charms, but they are fast projects, and knitting and needlework (which can take longer) didn't have any emotional heft for me.
I have have been making (ridiculous) movies since middle school (with a huge VHS camera) and then stopped in college. And then started again, and then stopped again after kids. I didn't really get back into it except little tutorials and things like that. I wanted to learn imove and final cut pro and this project seemed perfect for that. These programs make it all so easy, it's amazing. So, I am interviewing her, using a lot of old photos, asking about her family history, her personal work history (newspaper reporter and then editor), and questions about to her creative process as a quilter.
Here's the thing— a whole other movie could be made about her parents, my grandparents, Carl and Jean Henniger. Actually, they each could have their own movie. They were amazing people and I miss them terribly, we all do. I try to keep my mom (who I refer to on this blog as Grammie) talking about herself for this movie I am making, and she is doing a great job, but her amazing parents loom large in our lives still—their stories and experiences are incredible and I have to gently redirect her back to herself. It feels like they are still here sometimes.
Like this recent story on OPB about my grandfather, as additional material from the movie Jazz Town. He was obsessed with jazz and was a freelance stringer photographer for DownBeat magazine in the 1950s. Professional photography was never his day job but he was talented and passionate and took the most amazing photos of jazz musicians who played in Portland in the 1950s. He would have been so happy for the world to see these.