At a Halt
We had just finished our first segment, "On the Trail of the Hookerman". Our plan was a magazine format television show featuring the tales of small towns. The "Hometown Tales" logo was designed by our friend who was an art director at the agency Bryan and I both worked at, DVC. The logo was awesome. Everyone at the agency knew of our endeavor and couldn't wait to see it.
I looked over the footage we had shot. Ugh? I looked terrible. What was with the baggy t-shirt? My jacket was so big. What saggy-bottom jeans we had. Man I needed a haircut. We should've had a stylist or art director on the shoot. That made the post-production process a little discouraging. We were stalled. We were discouraged. We were stagnant. Would Hometown Tales ever see the light of day? Would it remain just an idea that we barely started? A few shot segment pieces and that's it? Months later it changed.
It was a beautiful morning. Absolutely perfect. Like most people, I was driving to work.
I was listening to Howard Stern in my car. The inappropriate banter of the show was interrupted by news about a plane hitting one of the twin towers. Like everyone, it was assumed to just be a freak accident of so small plane off course. Then the mood changed. The hole in the building was huge. It was from a big plane. And then another plane hit.
I was in shock as I pulled into the parking lot at work. I wanted to stay in my car and keep hearing but I also needed to get into work to confirm this madness with co-workers. Not many people were in yet (like most agencies were were a little lax in the morning). My friend Lourdes just arrived and she seemed to be the only other person sharing the "WTF is going on" mentality. Both of us were political junkies and always debated about the middle east the global issues so we both seemed to really understand what was really happening. We immediately questioned each other, "Do we really work today?" Next, everyone settled in and it was eerie throughout the office. So many of us had friends, relatives, spouses that worked in the city that we waited to hear from. Online video streaming wasn't really perfected then and I remember searching for a TV antenna with Minogue as if it were a military assignment.
Soon we all realized it was not a time to be working, it is time to leave the office and be with our families. I was single and for the most part unattached so I remember going to Bryan's house right down the road to watch the rest of the day's news coverage before heading to my parents house. In the short drive from the office to Minogue's, the second tower fell. Bryan told me as soon as I got to his house. I remember how pissed I was.
The next day Minogue told me how he drove into the city the previous night, went downtown and asked how he could help. He helped firefighters move around some supplies and donated items. That Saturday we both drove in together and just headed downtown to see if there was anything else we could do. They had volunteering covered so we ended up just witnessing the madness - Military trucks everywhere, National Guard everywhere, Military security, a smoldering sky, -It was a war zone. It was unreal. I still have the footage I shot with my camcorder. I will eventually edit a story out of it but it hasn't felt right yet.
9/11 Changed everything. It affected so many lives.
So what business does all this have with Hometown Tales. Truthfully, 9/11 birthed Hometown Tales. Before September 11th, we were stalled, going nowhere. But a few weeks after September 11th there was an awakening in me and I think in Bryan too. Our lives required us to do something more than just work, get paid, drink beer and watch TV. We needed to leave something, to affect something. There are people to help. There are lives to change. There are stories to tell. A legacy to leave. It was after September 11th that Hometown Tale was no longer just an idea or a hobby. It was a mission. I know it sounds pretentious. After 9/11, there was a passion inside of both of use that has fueled Hometown Tales. It gave us purpose. We then began creating several TV episodes that ran on cable (and still do) for years. We created one of the first podcasts and they are still downloaded all over the world today. We began telling stories. We began leaving something behind, something that mattered. Every tale we told, mattered. Every show we've recorded meant something. While we haven't recorded a podcast or created a video segment in what seems like forever, "Hometown Tales" is still alive and well.
The Mission to Tell Tales
I love America. America is not our government. Our government is far from perfect. People make up this country. Neighbors make up our towns. Our towns make up this nation. It is the people that are amazing. That's the America I love. The one filled with stories of the people. I like sharing those tales. And after 9/11, for me sharing them is not just babbling on a mic or typing on a blog. It is a call of duty. Pretentious? Silly? Over-thinking it? Perhaps. But if you've enjoyed Hometown Tales over the years, I think it's important for you to know, we created it because we believed in it and still do.
We'll never forget 9/11. It's difficult to imagine how much it affected so many things in this world including a dopey little americana podcast by 2 goofy irish-american guys. We’re not sure if anyone really knew how much that event affected our show. Every town has a tale. Every person has a story. Keeping telling and tell them with purpose.