The idea of a time capsule is not a new one. Made with the intention that they should be opened at a later date to help future generations understand the current time more accurately, or to recall a celebratory time in history: like a World’s Fair, or momentous birthday. A collection of moments, or trinkets, or letters of memory are often included: personal artifacts that shed light on a distilled moment in time.
Tom and Nicole Ladegaard are no strangers to the idea of personal artifact. In fact, they make it their business to gently tread through the stories of seemingly run-of-the-mill lives and dredge up the extraordinary details. The details that make the finding so sweet- and the telling worth the time.
Originally dedicated to practicing law, Tom found that one of the most critical tasks he performed on a daily basis was recording witness testimony in depositions. “I developed a knack for arriving prepared, asking probing questions, and following verbal and nonverbal cues of the interview subject.”
Being deeply empathetic led Tom to ask questions of his own grandfather - “I began with a couple (questions) and it just snowballed. What began as a simple project to share with the family became a video and a book about his life.” My own grandfather passed away a little over a year ago. We were close: he, a regular attendee of my soccer games from the time I could walk; I, visiting him during office hours at the college campus at which he taught. And yet, there were so many things I wish I had to carry with me now that he is gone. I stumbled upon Eternal Roots after his passing, and wished that I had found it sooner.
“We launched Eternal Roots after realizing that the value of these pieces was not just something I enjoyed- that a person’s oral history was hugely important to their family and by pairing it with photographs, we could create a memory capsule to cherish forever.” Offering a variety of package options, clients can choose from just the highlights, to a three-hour interview, complete with photos, a fully transcribed book divided into chapters, and memory stick flash drive, ready to upload on any device.
“Take comfort knowing your story will live on,” says Tom. “We’re just a vehicle to celebrate your individuality. The things I found out about my 96-year-old grandfather were some of the most valuable memories of my life - imagine what might surface under guided introspection and reflection, and reconnect your family with its past.”
It comes as little surprise that the project is starting to gain momentum. Tom has interviewed a lumber executive, a pet foods executive, a painter, an author, and anesthesiologist, and an attorney. Next up? A race car driver. “Each of these people now have a priceless artifact connecting them with their children and grandchildren.”
People are starting to pick up on the idea in smaller ways too - with tribute videos that can be shown at anniversaries, birthdays, or other celebrations. “When someone records their story, it provides a bridge between them and their offspring. They’ll learn details about their heritage they never knew, as I spend ⅓ of the interviews detailing my client’s ancestry, as far back as they can go.” Where else can a moment in time be explored over the span of five generations?
The second phase of the interviews cover the client’s own timeline and life story: a personal topography, if you will, charting the lay of a life and exhibiting it for those most cherished to discover. The third phase? Reflection. “We cover the client’s philosophies, spirituality, life lessons, successes or failures. Future generations may see glimpses of themselves in the storyteller, and grow from the experience.” I always knew that my grandfather and I shared a deep love for the outdoors, but how I would love to be able to listen as he told his favorite stories from the trail over and over now that he is gone. Sharing his vast experience in the wild: and living on, collected, in legacy.
The earliest example of a time capsule referenced is typically the Detroit Century Box. Brought to life from the imagination of then mayor, William C. Maybury, it was created on December 31, 1900 - scheduled to be opened a century later. With Eternal Roots, your handcrafted capsule from Tom’s detailed interviews and Nicole’s concept and graphic design assistance, you can relive those distilled moments every day if you like, for the next century and beyond.