Yesterday the Nebraska Project released our latest video: Nebraska’s Centenarians.
For the last year and a half, as our team traveled through Nebraska, we stopped in small towns from Pawnee City to Hay Springs to interview people who had met the 100 year mark.
When we began searching for folks who had survived a century, we didn’t know what we would find. We expected to find 5 or 10 people and hoped that half of them would be able to be interviewed. We ended up finding more people than we could get to - 21 are featured in this video - and nearly all of them were sharp, spry and funny.
We met Emma Colson who at 107 had a better memory than I do at 30. “Give me a year,” she told us, “and I’ll give you a memory.”
We met Thelma Augustin who lived on her farm until she was 97. She was 103 when we met her and the happiest person I have ever come across.
We met Lorraine Ocampo who still loved to dance at 101 years old, Harold Heins who tried to help us carry our heavy bags to and from the car, Dorothy Mason who kept coming up with new stories every time we started to pack our equipment, and Mildred Dibbern who vigorously rode her stationary bike everyday.
One of the things I love about my job is that I learn something new everyday. Sometimes I learn how to use a new software or a new camera. Sometimes I learn something about a place I'm visiting or the place I'm from. But my favorite days are the days I get to learn about a new person.
Everyone has a story to tell, no matter how simple or obscure their lives.
Sitting with this group of incredible people - who had seen and done so much - was humbling as they shared with us their collective memory of the last century.