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  • Trevor Jackson

What was it like to live in Pearl Harbor as it was attacked? LegacyReel’s First Senior Legacy Video

LegacyReel | San Diego, CA and beyond | (619) 629-7885 | info@legacyreel.com
Maria and her 4 children, a few years after Pearl Harbor
Maria and her 4 children, a few years after Pearl Harbor

When LegacyReel first started, I had no idea if the concept of creating legacy video biographies for seniors would be viable.

As with starting any business, I needed a proof of concept. Luckily, I had already created a short video memoir of my own grandfather, which I could use to show potential clients my services.

Even with a business degree in entrepreneurship, I didn’t know exactly how to market our services. So I tried everything to see what stuck. I cold-called, reached out to friends, and posted on social media.

Finally, I received a direct message from Nextdoor.

A young woman reached out to me, asking me about LegacyReel’s services. She shared that her grandmother, a 100-year old centenarian, was turning 101 the following month, and wanted to give her a birthday gift. After all, what do you gift someone who has already seen it all?

Her grandmother, Maria, had been born during the Spanish Flu of 1919, survived the Great Depression, lived in Pearl Harbor when it was bombed, and eventually started many of the first strip clubs in San Diego!

At first, I was fairly skeptical. I thought, “There’s no way all this could happen to one person.”

But, only a few days later, I was in her grandmother’s home that she had lived in since the 1950s, and she told me her life story. It was all true.

Maria shared, "By the age of 22 I had all 4 of my children. And I was in Pearl Harbor when they bombed it. We lived right outside of Pearl Harbor Gate. We girls were all out in the backyard, looking at the planes. We thought they were ours, we didn’t know they were Japanese planes. I was bathing the baby when the plans came over. She was 3 months old…I was in shock."

After leaving Hawaii later that month, she would go on to meet her new husband in San Diego. Not only did they run various bars and strip clubs together, they became so successful that they retired in their 40s, and she hadn’t worked in 60 years!

Brown Bear, Maria's bar with Chinese Food, Go-Go Girls, and Strippers
Brown Bear, Maria's bar with Chinese Food, Go-Go Girls, and Strippers
She eventually gave up everything to be a missionary for her church, and traveled the world.

We filmed her over two sessions, and her video was played at her 101st birthday in July, 2020, to an admittedly smaller party than her 100th, but she blamed the turnout on the second global pandemic she was living through.

She passed away the next year, after having lived a very full life. Her video biography remains, and her 18 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, and 24 great-great grandchildren still watch it every year.

You can watch Maria’s video biography yourself here. We’ve come a long way since our first video, but we are forever grateful to she and her granddaughter for letting us into their lives.

If you are looking for the perfect birthday, Christmas, or anniversary gift for someone in their 70s, 80s, 90s, or even 100s, reach out to LegacyReel. We offer senior video biographies, legacy videos, video memoirs, life interviews, and more!

Call or text us at (619) 629-7885, or email info@legacyreel.com

Serving San Diego County, Orange County, California, and beyond!



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