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Woman preserves people’s memories

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Contact Pamela Pulice at (630) 670-8411 or by going to reelstories.tv.

Updated: August 25, 2013 6:10AM



“...Memories, pressed between the pages of my mind

Memories, sweetened thru the ages just like wine

Memories, memories, sweet memories”

— Bill Strange-Scott Davis

Pamela “Mimi” Pulice was born in the western suburbs of Chicago. Today, she lives on scenic Pine Lake in LaPorte.

Pulice, 65, is a video memoir producer; her company is called Reel Stories Productions.

***

“Villa Park was kind of a blue-collar town,” Pulice began. “More so than some of the other western suburbs. We lived next to Elmhurst, which was definitely wealthier. On the other side was Lombard, where I lived most of my adult life. It was a step up from Villa Park. Not to say anything against Villa Park — Villa Park was a great town.

“Villa Park was my dad’s hometown, too. My maiden name is Enzweiler. Dad grew up in one of the first homes built in that area on Addison Avenue. There used to be a big field down there. I found out later there used to be a cave in the middle of the street.”

High school?

“Willowbrook. It was brand-new back then. But it wasn’t big enough because of all us baby boomers. We had to have classes in trailers.”

So, you’ve lived in either the western burbs or LaPorte your entire life?

“No, from the ages of 2 to 7, I lived in Australia. Dad joined the Air Force; the Army Air Corps it was known as back then. He was stationed in the Pacific and was on a ship going for some R & R in Australia.

“He said all he knew about Australia was they had kangaroos, Aborigines and boomerangs. When those soldiers arrived they found out that there were all these English speaking women that were mad about the Yanks. My mother was one of them.”

Your mom’s an Aussie.

“Mom’s an Aussie. They got married in Australia. Mom was a war bride who eventually came to America on a ship sent by the United States government. They sent ships all over the world to pick up the soldiers’ brides.

“Here’s a photograph of my parents in a famous German restaurant the night they were reunited in Chicago.”

Very nostalgic photo. You must have memories of Australia.

“Oh, yeah. We lived near Melbourne. Actually, I’m a citizen now. My sister and I have dual citizenship; they changed the rules a couple years ago. Now, the children of the women of Australia can apply for citizenship. It used to be just a paternal thing.”

Let’s switch gears. Tell me about the lady you interviewed and filmed a few years ago.

“Like my mother, Peggy Przyblinski is a war bride. She has lived most of her adult life in Michigan City. Before I even moved to LaPorte, I found out about Peggy through my sister who lives in LaPorte.

“Today, Peggy lives in a nursing home in New Carlyle. We showed her video there for her 94th birthday party. I captured her expression while she watched it — priceless. She’s starting to lose her memory and had forgotten that I interviewed her. All of a sudden her life story comes up on the screen and she was blown away.”

How long was the memoir?

“It was 17 minutes. It mostly covered the time when she was a war bride and how she met her husband during World War II.”

Where did they meet?

“In North Africa. Peggy was an English girl who was entertaining the troops as a dancer. It’s such a fascinating story and she was such a lively interview. Her kids were thrilled with it. The people from the World War II era have some great stories. Life was different back then.”

You and I kind of do the same thing for a living, but you do it visually. There are so many “ordinary” people out there who have done extraordinary things. Mimi, we’ll never run out of work. Tell me more.

“I belong to the Association of Personal Historians. I do any type of video: memoirs, life stories, family heritage... . Anybody who want to do a personal history video. I add photographs and music.

“Usually the people who hire me are the children of the parents. They want to preserve the stories that they grew up with. The thing is, if you don’t get those stories down, once that person’s gone the stories are gone, too. You can’t get them back.”

Sad but true.

“That’s what happened to my father. He used to tell me all these stories about World War II and I used to love to hear them. Now, they’re gone; I don’t have them anywhere. No video, no books — nothing.”

Have you interviewed your mother?

“I’ve tried, but she fights me on it. I’ve done little pieces. The best interview I got with my mom was one day when I was just foolin’ around with my camera. She was in her bed doing her crossword puzzle. I asked her if I could set my camera next to her while I adjusted some new settings or something.”

You fibbed to the dear, sweet woman who gave birth to you.

“Yes. We started having a conversation and the next thing you know she’s telling me how the crosswords take her back to her childhood. Then she told me about the first day she came to America. She told me she was sitting out on the front porch and saw fireflies for the first time. They don’t have fireflies in Australia. She said it was like magic.

***

Sweet memories.



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