How One Grandfather’s Stories Can Offer Perspective

Throughout this pandemic, videographer Aria Swarr has been making phone calls to her grandfather who has been isolating alone at his home. Their conversations involved diving into momentos and treasures from his past. Along the way, she’s learning that his generation has something to offer all of us right now.

Video Transcript

(A living room)

Grotto stays in it together.

(A guitar case lies on the floor along with old stamps and schedule diaries as a voice is heard over the phone)

Paul Swarr: Hello? Hello?

Aria Swarr: Since the quarantine, I’ve been calling my grandfather. He’s in complete isolation due to the pandemic.

(A picture of Aria’s grandfather is shown)

Aria’s grandfather, Paul Swarr

Paul: I cannot go away anywhere and I cannot have guests come in. That’s very strange indeed.

(We see a series of old black and white pictures, old stamps, and Paul’s handwriting in pencil in his schedule diaries.)

Aria: I’ve been asking him about his stamp collection, his quartet recordings, and his schedule diaries — the first start in his childhood, when he chronicled the deaths of nine generations of cats. Some die from hay bales, others from cows, and others from what he calls the Terrible May Epidemic of 1943. Then after World War II, in ’47, he traveled with a relief boat, taking cattle to devastated Greece. He survived a hurricane on the way home. This was the first of many service trips abroad.

Paul: For us, the getting involved in meeting world need was something that, right following the war, was on a lot of people’s hearts, I think. It almost reminds me of what’s happening in our today’s world, where the whole world is impacted by this present physical problem.

Aria: My grandfather goes on to say that today’s season of loneliness is perhaps the most challenging time in his 92 years of life, despite living through many great crises. I hope this season of challenge will inspire my generation, and the next, to serve like he has, like the greatest generation.

(A baby lies on the floor)

Grandfather Swarr’s great grandson

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