It’s not enough to have a good idea in this life.
This has really been brought home to me lately because a good idea that I had — turned out to be something that people say is quite good — but it was a pretty quiet affair when I had it by myself.
I always knew it was a good idea to string together all the small snippets that people had told me about the Civil War in our community into one story.
Patricia Sewell, president of the genealogy society, also thought it was a good idea and said we’d make it a society project.
Now, I have to tell you . . . when we went to the individual people who had been talking to me about the Civil War, some were a little skeptical when I asked them to speak at the generalogy society’s annual meeting.
“You want to do what?” they said. “I don’t think I have enough about the Civil War to make a speech.”
“You’re just going to make a little speech,” I said. “Just tell that one little story. There’ll be other speakers.”
So they all came to the Presbyterian Church service building and the evening turned out greater than any of us expected.
“It was an eye-opening moment for me,” Bill McLaren said. But then things got complicated.
Brad Reed said we needed to put the whole thing on video.
Everybody agreed that was a good idea. But the problem was, I didn’t exactly know how to turn the still pictures in my head and in my Power Point along with all the speakers on our program into a video. And Maggie Koetting would have to drive back from Indiana to narrate the whole thing.
We needed to have four things going on at the same time, live speakers, an old movie, a videographer filming the event live and a Power Point presentation illustrating what the speakers were talking about.
To some modern techies that might sound simple. But to our small society — that is just now getting a computer and studying how to index all our collection — it seemed insurmountable.
I telephoned school Superintendent Randy George and asked him if he knew anyone who could help with technology. The next thing I knew Cheryl Schlemper, district technology director, was knocking on my door.
“Show me what you have,” she said, “and tell me what you want to do.”
One of our small stories was an old VCR recording of the late Ed Phelan. The rest was the Power Point that I had strung together to flash on the screen while Maggie Koetting, our narrator, spoke.
George and Tom Sauvage, PHS principal, said we could use the high school auditorium to restage our presentation in front of a live audience.
We hired Matt Wilson, Step Productions, who wanted to stand with two cameras in the audience about 12 rows up and video the speakers while we did our pictue show.
Cheryl took our written text, converted our VCR to audio, threaded that with our pictures into the high school auditorium sound and video system and volunteered to run through the program while Maggie and our featured speakers talked us through the series of Civil War facts and anectdotes.
The evening turned out to make us all look pretty smart. It was better than a good idea, it was pure hometown ecstacy, but we never could have pulled it off without Cheryl Schlemper.
I used to have a boss who said to me, “Don’t tell me how hard you worked, Pauline, tell me what you got done.”
Every time I look at the disk containing our Civil War video, I feel humbled. While it did take a village to tell the story, just as I knew it could, it took the hands on skills of a technology guru to get it on tape.
It was our idea, but it’s Cheryl Schlemper’s baby.