1/31/2009 This page is still undergoing changes but it's my intent to use it to present family videos. From the beginning (you'll find the detailed story on the Site History page), I've used this website to share family pictures both current and old. Every month since January 2002 there have been dozens of still photos which I've tried to show as unique and interesting. While we still have boxes of older pictures it's getting harder to find the unique ones. If you have older pictures you'd like to share I'd be particularly interested in them. Videos offer another view into our family life (and if you have old videos I'd like to get a copy of them too). The sources of the video material will vary, based on the time period when they were shot. Here's an overview of those sources:
Before camcorders, Super 8mm movie cameras were the choice. Those over 30 may remember these devices with the powerful spotlight needed to capture any indoor action. The spotlight alone prohibited any candid shots. Rolls of 50' movie film had to be developed and could then be feed into a projector to display 3 minutes of movie onto a screen or wall. The only sound you'd hear would be from the very loud fan and gear mechanisms on the projector. In 1969, I was in the Army in Korea while Nancy was back home when we got our first Super 8 equipment. She had the camera to capture moments such as Jon's birth in May 1969, and I had the projector in Korea. We used the movie camera into the 1980's. Eventually some of those small movie reels got spliced together onto larger reels and then copied onto VHS tapes. The quality is often poor from the deteriorating condition of the film and the copy process. I think the choppiness associated with film camera movies is also due to the fact that cameras of the day did not have image stabilization found in camcorders now and movie taking techniques were poor, especially since there was no immediate feedback on the pictures taken. Common in those movies seem to be moving from one person or scene to the next way too fast.
The introduction of camcorders offered lots of advantages over Super 8. We got ours, a heavy VHS camcorder, in 1986. There was sound, no annoying spotlight (although low light still caused problems) , improved picture quality (indoor incandescent light did cast a yellow glow), hours of recording capacity, and the convenience of instant viewing on a TV. Equipment improved with lighter, better quality digital camcorders however ours remained vintage 1986. The ease of use however, meant that so much could be recorded that few had the time or inclination to view them. We continued to use our camcorder until the late 1990's but then concentrated strictly on still photographs.
A year ago Nancy gave me a pocket camcorder, good for low resolution, more candid video capture moments. It's hardly gotten any use but now with more focus on creating family videos for this website, you'll see it more often.
So, using these sources of video, I plan to showcase movies here each month.
Home movies can have a narrow interest given their length and subject matter (imagine hours of watching opening presents-- a common scene). However I've edited these to keep them short, generally no more than a few minutes each. I've also chosen them to provide a glimpse of family life you may have never seen, to bring back a family moment, or just because they're of interest to me. I hope that you can find them entertaining as well and share my feeling that this is a worthy way of documenting our family history.
The raw videos are many hours long, often still on VHS, not well dated, and are a patchwork of family gatherings and routine day to day life. Editing them into a movie clip is going to take some time plus I'm new to movie making so over time I expect the quality to improve. I hope to add some new content each month so please be sure to visit.
Tip & Tricks
If you don't see the movie preview screen on this page they're likely blocked, your browser doesn't have the right plug-in to play them, or your Internet connection is very slow. Businesses often will block this video site. Sorry, you'll have to watch them at home or library. Let me know if you have problems seeing or viewing the movies.
Sound is part of the movie (a soundtrack is added to the old Super 8mm) so headphones are appropriate if watching in a public place.
Are you on a slow internet connection, i.e. dial-up? Be patient. As you may already know, a slower connection simply means slower delivery of services but once it's delivered it will play well. You only need a little (or a lot) more time and patience than with a faster connection. For best results, you may want to start the video player and then click on the PAUSE button immediately. Then, wait until the red progress bar has reached the end of the video before playing it. Allowing the entire video to load to your computer lets you watch it without interruption. Remember, the shorter the video, the shorter the amount of time it takes to buffer.
The button the lower right corner of the preview windows below can be used to select better quality (if available). The button to the left of that is for full screen. Next to that is a Mute button. Note: If you click the words 'You Tube' you'll be taken to You Tube to see the movie. It's less confusing if you- don't do that.
The most recently added movies are at the top of the list. Occasionally I'll include other videos just because I find them interesting -- you might too.
8/31 Stephanie riding Junior at Smiles Stable, Darien WI Aug 27 (2
8/31/2020 Larry Ripp in his original work, Slim, Jim, and the Vi... (17
7/31/2020 Larry Ripp (Nancy's cousin) AKA The Baron of Bubble is a
hit with kids of all ages (1 minute)
1/30/2020 Emily performs Surprise Birthday Party at the Toe to Toe
Ballet School recital (1 minute)
12/1/2019 Ginny Sala will appear with her youth orchestra on Carnegie
Hall. This clip is of one of her first impromptu practice sessions. (1
2/28/2019 We stopped by to pay 7 week old PJ a visit. He's getting
to know our faces and voices. (1 minute)
11/24/2018 In the Spring 1997 Holy Apostles spring concert, one of the
5th grade songs was Wells Fargo Wagon from The Music Man. Zach has the
solo (movie version it was Ron Howard). 2 minutes
8/9/2018 Moshawquit 2018 and our family vacation. Lots of water fun,
water balloon fight, and games. Some things never change, except for the
Shark Song. 8 minutes
12/30/2017 Emily with her recorder and Charlie in his piano
recital for holiday greetings. 2 minutes
9/1/2017 Moshawquit 2017 and our family vacation. Lots of water fun,
water balloon fight, and games of spoons and Yahtzee. 9 minutes
1/31/2017 Emily's 2nd year in ballet and here she is chasing a butterfly
in a recital. 1 minute
12/31/2016 Stephanie (wearing a scarf towards the left of the
stage as you watch) and her December 2016 Christmas concert- Lakeland
School, Elkhorn WI. T'was the Drum Circcle Before Christmas clip 2 minutes
1/30/2015 Charlie and Abby piano recital in January 2015. 2 minutes
5/30/2014 This video of a Moshawquit Lake slideshow was prepared in 2003, as a way to share vacation pictures. 17+ minutes
2/25/2014 Christian and Sheila were married 33 years to the day after Nancy and I were married. This clip comes from the dance floor at their reception ceremony. 5+ minutes
12/31/2013 New Year's Eve 1972. Susie and Mickey (no children yet) came over to our house (Jon and baby Christian fast asleep) for a night of silliness and celebration. 3 minutes
7/22/2013 Max made his maiden trip on the Dare Devil Dive (think bungee cord), Six Flags Great America, Gurnee IL. And in a 2nd very short video (not so good quality either) Abby, Noah, and Charlie are off on their first plane ride and brief piloting experience as part of the Young Eagles, at the EAA Oshkosh WI.
6/29/2013 December 1987. My Father passed away in October 1987. My Mother brought his ashes back to Wisconsin and a memorial service was held. Afterwards a few of my relatives gathered at our Greendale home. 3 minutes
6/29/2013 June 2013. Abigail's 2nd piano recital and Noah's last. He's switching to an alto sax. 4+ minutes
12/31/2012 (Note: Rated PG-13) Christmas Eve 1988. After Santa has come and gone, the adults gather around the table to relax and tell stories. Nana gets her annual martini. The rest is history. 3 minutes
7/31/2012 Here you'll find a sampling of what made July 2012 such a busy month. 5+ minutes
6/28/2012 Abby performed in her very first piano recital while Noah is the seasoned veteran and winner of a Wisconsin Music Federation award. Almost 4 minutes.
5/30/2012 Virginia Mroz celebrated her 90th birthday on October 1, 2011. This 5 minute clip is from her party at Pat & Mike's.
3/31/2012 Elfred Schultz and Helen Bendyk were married on April 22, 1944. On April 21, 1969 friends and family came to celebrate that union. Here's 3 minutes from that day.
3/31/2012 Rebecca celebrated her First Holy Communion of May 6th, 1984. We didn't capture much of the event but this 2 minute clip shows you it was a glorious day.
10/31/2011 On October 27, 2011, during a visit with my Mother, I remembered that I had my new camera with me, so I decided to catch her in a candid film moment. I tried to ask her about some events growing up. She struggles with her memory and speaks slowing and softly. I think mental stimulation is good for her, and you can tell she'd just as soon take a nap. This is a short 2 minute extract of that conversation.
8/31/2011 May 28, 1988 we were celebrating Jon's 19th birthday. To make it a classic it was also the US debut of '3 Live Wombats', a visit from Greendale's finest, and finishing with singing and dancing in our basement. (12 minutes)
8/31/2011 August 2011 Compilation. State Fair and grandkids making a birthday cake for Christian (5 minutes)
11/30/2010 Helen Schultz 90th birthday (Nancy's Godmother)
8/31/2010 - Moshawquit Lake vacation compilation, 2010
6/1/2010 - Abby made her musical debut in this kindergarten production. Kindergarten musicals are some of the most heartwarming. Here is a 2 minute capsule.
4/30/2010 - My first cousin (once removed) Willard Eisold remembers WW2 views of Hiroshima & Nagasaki
4/1/2010 - A March 2010 Sampler. So much to cover including time at Hales Corners Care Center (rehab), baby Matthew James Catozzi, and a tooth fairy story.
12/31/2009 - A December 2009 compilation including Grandma Mroz in her Kimberly apartment, fun at Abigail's 6th birthday party, and Christmas Eve at Grandpa Joe's.
12/31/2009 - A Christmas classic is the legendary How Grown You've Got. There have been many imitations, but this is the original from 1987.
12/1/2009 - A little ski adventure in the Rocky Mountains. My skiing didn't make the cut, but you'll be surprised how well the others have done. In any case the scenery is gorgeous.
11/1/2009 - Almost 2 decades ago, Mike and Denise were married. That's as long as we've been in our home in New Berlin. Journey back to a few minutes in October 1991.
2009 - Nothing is more Americana than a rummage sale. Here's a short clip from a super rummage. Summer 1989 at the Konieczny household.
8/1/2009 - Usually each of the movies here have been heavily edited to keep them short (a few minutes) and hopefully interesting. In this movie however, virtually the only editing has been to split it into parts which fit into YouTube's maximum 10 minute per movie limit. Though long, it's still hopefully interesting to the many who were there. In it's entirety, it's a look back into a time of good family fun and innocence. The subject is the softball game at Grant Park for the 1993 1st annual (and only) Grabowski family reunion. (The water fight will have to wait for another movie).
6/29/2009 - July 20th, 1969 is an important date in history. Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. It was even broadcast on TV. Notice the TV outside at the family celebration of Marshall Schultz's 1st birthday.
6/29/2009 - In the summer of 1968, the newlyweds traveled from Fort Sill OK back to visit family in Milwaukee before heading off to Edgewood Arsenal MD. Plenty of time for backyard picnics and just relaxing. We were able to introduce our family addition, Peanuts, a 3 month old Pekingese.
6/29/2009 - Joe and Ceil married after WWII (check out the story on the Family Tree page). Jump ahead 50 years for the golden wedding celebration, July 2006.
5/31/2009 - From the time Zach was little, he loved to build things with blocks and Lego's. This 2+ minute clip shows the span of 10 years when he went from a shy 7th grader to and honors graduate civil engineer.
5/31/2009 - Landscaping our New Berlin home may not sound like an engaging movie. But this 5 minute clip captures the old days and the labor of family and friends to make it happen.
5/31/2009 - The Grabowski and Schultz families gathered for summertime picnics in 1970 and 1971. This 4+ minute choppy movie clip shows lots of familiar faces. Too many to name but you should recognize at least some of them.
5/31/2009 - Dick Enberg gave the commencement address at the 2009 Marquette University graduation. I didn't film it but found the link. There are lots of personal stories and of his close friend, Al McGuire. I think you'll find it entertaining.
4/30/2009 - One of the Easter traditions is the Easter egg hunt. However what are the chances of that occurring on a warm sunny day? Another rarity would be the Milwaukee Brewers attempt to open the baseball season with 12 consecutive wins! Those events converged April 19th, 1987.
4/30/2009 - I was overseas in 1969 when Jon was born so Nancy and Jon moved in with the Grabowski family. While Jon was the center of attention for most, 7 year old Michael's excitement was over his bank book. A financial planner is born.
4/30/2009 - Music runs in the Wagner's blood. This clip, taken on the day of Deanna's confirmation in May 1989, feature both Deanna and Scott on the piano in their Kimberly home.
3/31/2009 - Grandpa Joe Grabowski turned 86 on March 15th. He still throws a nice party.
3/31/2009 - April 2009 is a milestone month for 2 of my favorite girls. This month, Pat Wagner (nee Mroz) and Susie Murawski (nee Grabowski) are eligible for Sr. Citizen discount cards at Culvers. This movie clip goes back 10 years when a surprise 50th birthday party was held for Susie. There was plenty of dancing at that party, but those clips will have to wait for another month.
3/31/2009 - All about hair. I believe that this is Jon's first haircut in 1970. The stylish hairdresser is my blonde wife.
3/31/2009 - Music, instrumentation, singing, or dancing, seems to be a common element of many of these movies. In this clip from May 1990, a young Jon and a much younger brother Zach, team up for an jam session. Almost 20 years later Jon surprised Zach with his own acoustic guitar. I'll have to get them together now to film them in a duet.
2/28/2009 - Michael Wagner was back from Vietnam making plans for Iceland with his newlywed bride, Patricia Mroz. We all look a bit younger back on March 8th, 1969. Some of us (Nancy) even looked a little pregnant.
2/28/2009 - When the children & grandchildren get together it's usually the opportunity for a little monkey business. This occasion was Jimmy's 7th birthday. Maybe Zach got them all wound up.
2/28/2009 - Winter in Wisconsin can be long with limited forms of entertainment. That wasn't true in the Grabowski household during the winter of 1990/91 when Nancy, Rebecca, Zach, and I moved in between homes. For this night in early 1991, the engaged couple of Michael Grabowski and Denise Krauske joined the fun. Come along for an old fashioned game of spoons and a little magic show.
1/31/2009 - Jessica Grabowski celebrated her 9th birthday on New Year's Day 2009. Once Jessica and Sarah got the iPod going, they were joined on stage by other generations.
1/31/2009 - This movie clip is a 1993 version of a dance party. The event was the 25th wedding anniversary celebration for Nancy and I held at our home. Many people were socializing upstairs but the real action was on the dance floor downstairs.
1/31/2009 - Jon loves to cook, probably a result of his passion and capacity to eat. This clip from around 1974 documents an early lesson in developing a fundamental cooking skill.
1/31/2009 - We often tell stories of Zach learning how to walk at an early age. Following are a few clips from that time at our Greendale home starting with him in motion, 4 days before his 8th month birthday.
1/31/2009 Board games were the "inside" game of choice when I was growing up. Then video games emerged when our children were growing up. The only dedicated game console we've ever owned was a Mattel Intellivision (it didn't survive the game wars). However back in the 1980's we did have a Commodore 64 computer which we used for games --Frogger was my favorite. Following is a collection of game playing including some 1980's clips and a little Wii.
1/31/2009 - After a 6 month courtship, and 4 month engagement Nancy and I married, just in advance of Army active duty which would send us traveling. We didn't own a movie camera yet-- thanks to the Wagner's for this footage.