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Summerland Grandmother Embarking On Solo, 5,000-Mile Road Trip to Record Family History

Marcia Orland of Summerland has mapped out a 5,000-mile journey to record and preserve family memories. The trip will take 37 days, from Aug. 2 to Sept. 6.
Marcia Orland of Summerland has mapped out a 5,000-mile journey to record and preserve family memories. The trip will take 37 days, from Aug. 2 to Sept. 6. (Map courtesy of Marcia Orland)

Marcia Orland, grandmother of nine and resident of Summerland (a village adjoining Santa Barbara) soon will embark on a 5,000-mile journey to record and preserve family memories. Her only companion will be her video camera.

“When I turned 76 in February,” Orland said, “I decided it was time to capture what my remaining family members remember about our growing up together in the small town of Warsaw in western New York. If I don’t do it now, the stories will be lost forever. It will be a joyful reunion as I haven’t seen many of them in over 50 years.”

Tucson, Ariz.; Pasadena, Texas; Lee’s Summit, Mo.; Fairport, N.Y.; Richmond, Va.; and Dothan, Ala,, are just a few of many stops Orland will make on her journey to record the memories of her aging relatives and document her own personal history. She will regularly post clips of her travels on Facebook so people can keep track of her (#FindMarcia).

This ambitious road trip will take 37 days, from Aug. 2 to Sept. 6.

At public libraries in several of her stop-over towns, Orland will hold "show and tell" events, where community members will be invited to bring their treasured mementos and tell the stories behind them.

“It’s a fun way to get the conversation started,” Orland said. “People usually need a nudge to get the ball rolling, and I want to encourage and inspire them by taking my passion on the road.”

Orland has been engaged as guest speaker at the Upstate New York Chapter meeting of the Association of Personal Historians, which will take place Aug. 26 in Rochester, N.Y.

Orland founded Afterglow Media in 2004. Since then she has produced dozens of family histories, both in video and print form. On her return she will create a documentary short subject based on her “Sentimental Journey” road trip adventures. It will be available for film festivals and broadcast purposes.

— Marcia Orland is the founder of Afterglow Media.

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