I was going through StoryCorps when I saw an old school picture of a married couple, beaming with their smiles that stretches from ear to ear. My first thought was: “Man, they look so happy!” So I was curious to know more about their story and decided to click on their page. And I was so happy I did.
Danny Perasa and his wife Annie had a love story I could only dream of. It was better than the books and movies we watch. It was real. He writes her love letters everyday and never ceases to remind Annie of how much she means to him. Annie shows her love to Danny with small intimate gestures, showing that its the little things that count. They were a perfect combination. As I listened to the beginning of the interview recording, my heart fluttered with joy. They were so freakin’ adorable, I couldn’t keep my composure. However, in 2006, Danny was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He returned to StoryCorps to record his final interview with his wife. I cannot even tell you how drastic my emotions shifted from joy to sadness. I can just hear it in their voices that they knew where all of this was leading. Yet, in spite of such hardship, Danny and Annie were strong. Their love was still blooming and the charisma remained. Then, in the third interview, Annie returned to update us on how she was doing after the loss of her beloved husband. I was so happy to hear she was doing well. Actually, she informed us that she’s been receiving so many letters from people who have heard of her and Danny’s story and provided comfort. I shed a couple of tears as I listened to their story and viewed some of their pictures. They flowed so well together and really helped me appreciate the couple even more. It was as if I personally knew them.
The beauty of Digital Storytelling is not just a retelling of people’s experiences through a webpage, it’s connecting those stories with others. As Annie mentioned, she was receiving letters from all over the world! I’ve viewed a lot of stories on StoryCorps before stumbling onto Danny and Annie’s story. All of which were just as inspiring. I really enjoyed seeing the people in these stories and hearing their voices instead of having to blindly read it like an article. It felt more personal, which created a greater sense of emotional impact. What makes a good Digital Story is the ability to keep true to the experience and those involved. It’s about not losing the heart and soul with too many graphics or technicality. The purpose of Digital Storytelling is to make people’s lives come alive to someone who is not actually there to witness it all. In the case of the Perasas, I really felt their personalities and story. I couldn’t stop listening to the recordings over and over again. Danny was so animated and I could really tell how much love he had. The couple gave me hope that a love like theirs was possible. Annie had also taught me to be strong and persevere through loss. I am so glad I came across their story and I will always go back to it.
“Being married is like having a colored television set, you never want to go back to black and white.”