What Our Clients Say About Personal History Productions LLC
My book is truly spectacular. What I enjoy most are the memories that come back to me in living color, page by page, when I read and reread it.
Life goes by so fast, and 80 years has seemed to pass in a flash. The book helps me remember everything I did in my life and the people I was close to along the way—while I was in school and in college, while I was starting the company, and as I was raising my family. Every page brings back a memory. That’s what I like about it.
—Joe Garbarino, author of La Voglia: Recollections of a Recycling Trailblazer
It was a delight to work with Andi Reese Brady and Susan Milstein on my father’s book. I don’t think we can ever thank them enough for capturing my father’s story and his magnificent work ethic for future generations. We have the feeling that our appreciation will grow as the book is distributed to family and friends. We are ever grateful that this opportunity came our way—and would suggest that others quickly take up the opportunity themselves.
—Patty Garbarino, daughter of Joe Garbarino
Writing my book was a labor of love, and now that it’s done, I can’t say enough about how pleased I am with the final product. I keep it out on my coffee table and pick it up about three times a day to thumb through it. Working with Susan on the manuscript and with Andi on the cover and interior pages of the book went great—like clockwork! And now I have a history of my life to share with my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and friends, and I have the real satisfaction of having accomplished something I never even thought about until a year ago. If someone else were considering a project like this, I’d say Go for it!
—Bill Hewes, author of Navigating a Lifetime
I thoroughly enjoyed working on my book with Susan and Andi. The time that Susan spent interviewing me about my life gave me a chance to reminisce about the good times in my past and to reflect on how I handled the challenges in my life. Susan is a sensitive, perceptive listener. I felt she really was able to understand me. Andi helped me decide which photos to include, and she did a wonderful job designing my book. They both put a lot of time and effort into the project, and it shows in the final product. I’m extremely pleased with the book they created for me.
— Bob Gimlin, author of Our Great, Ongoing Journey
I absolutely love the book that Susan and Andi produced for my father. They were so skillful in capturing his voice and helping him recount stories about the experiences and relationships that most influenced him. In his book, my father tells some stories about our family that I’d never before heard. And now his stories can be passed on to future generations of our family. I am so glad that I initiated the project.
— Kim Clement, daughter of Bob Anderson, author of Journey from San Leandro to Berkeley and Points in Between
My father never wanted to share his personal story. Born in Germany in 1924, he survived concentration camps and deportation while his sisters and father and hundreds of his family members were exterminated and murdered at the hands of the Nazis. Over the years, my father told my brother and me little snippets from his time in the concentration camps, his deportation, and what he learned about the extermination of his sisters and father and many others. But he refused to tell his story in its entirety because he was reluctant to speak about this horrific and miserable period of his life.
However, after my mother passed away, I realized a part of our family history passed silently because she, too, had been a Holocaust survivor and her story had never been documented. I was determined that would not happen with my father’s life and journey.
When I asked my father to meet with Susan Milstein of Personal History Productions to share his life’s story, he once again refused. Finally, I arranged a meeting between Susan and my father so they could merely meet one another. This brief meeting went on for hours and days! Many interviews later, Susan had captured my father’s story of pre-war Germany, his time in the camps, escape from the camps, arrival to America, and locating and marrying my mother, who had escaped the Nazis just four months before the war broke out. If it weren’t for Susan’s compassion and interview style, this book would have never materialized. People who have read “The Bornstein Identity” tell me they can’t put it down.
My father started showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease shortly after completing his interviews with Susan. Had we delayed this project, we would have completely lost the opportunity to record his remarkable life’s journey and share it with the grandchildren and the generations that will follow them.
My words can never do justice to how grateful I am for the superb and timeless book Susan and Andi created for our family. If you, or someone dear, would like their life’s story preserved in a book keepsake, you would be in excellent and caring hands with Personal History Productions.
—Dan Bornstein, son of Walter Bornstein, author of The Bornstein Identity
Telling my story to Susan was like talking to a close friend. She helped me open my mind to memories I hadn’t thought about for years. Andi brought the story alive with her artistic placement of my photos and her design of the book. They started the project with nothing but the memories in my head and created, in a short period of time, a real work of art.
— Bill Fisher, author of Living Again
I see the value in hiring someone who has training in interviewing, writing, and editing. A project like this is hard to do yourself. When it’s somebody in your family, you are too close to them to think about asking certain questions. When you get somebody who is skilled in interviewing and writing and editing and who is more objective, you end up with a product that is different than you could have ever anticipated. What we have is a beautiful family history that will be passed down for generations.
— Bill Fisher’s daughter, Darien Duke
Kathy Van Riper:
I decided to record my personal history because I wanted to share the story of my life in depth and from my perspective. In my book, I talk about my passions and tell stories about my childhood and about my experiences with life and marriage and motherhood . . . stories for my children to read and learn from. It’s my legacy to them and a gift I hope they will cherish forever. I had a wonderful experience working with Andi and Susan. They are very professional, very easy to communicate with, and offer great advice! I cannot imagine taking on this project on my own. And the end result . . . awesome!!
— Kathy Van Riper, author of A Race Worth Running
I gave copies of my book to my children and grandchildren on Christmas Eve. That very night, my 21-year-old granddaughter stayed up late reading it. She called me first thing the next morning to tell me how much she enjoyed it. She said she was crying so hard when she read the story of how I met her grandpa that she barely could wait for morning to talk to me about it.
— Sophie Filippetti, author of Sophie’s Journey
Initially, I gave my mother a certificate to record her personal history as a gift to celebrate her 88th birthday. As it turned out, her book also has been a gift for me and the rest of our family. My mother enjoyed reminiscing about times that frankly were more pleasurable than the stage of life she’s in now. For me and the rest of the family, it was illuminating and eye-opening to see where she came from and to read about the experiences she had growing up. I was really pleased with how it all worked out, and my mother is very proud of her book. She’s showed it around to relatives and friends, and she’s gotten some really nice notes back from people who read it and were moved by it.
— Andy Fleming, son of Betty Fleming, author of From Scotland to Sonoma
My experience working with Personal History Productions was wonderful. Susan asked all the right questions and knew just how to get my story. Andi put the story and photos together in a beautiful way. Both Susan and Andi are easy to work with and very thorough. They really know their stuff. I’m extremely satisfied with my book. I wouldn’t change a thing.
— Joseph Mengali, author of Angel on My Shoulder
My mother and I wanted to record my grandmother’s personal history because we realized that there was so much about her life that we didn’t know. My grandfather died before we had a chance to record his story, and as a result, there is so much about his life that we will never know.
As a kid, and even as an adult, you usually don’t ask your parents and grandparents lots of questions about their lives. You may hear them tell their stories once in a while, but you rarely ask questions.
After reading my grandmother’s book, I understand her in a way that I never did before. And my grandmother has been so excited about the entire process. It’s given her a chance to reflect on her past and to pass on her opinions and wisdom.
We’ve all been really happy with the work Susan and Andi have done. When we got the first draft of my grandmother’s book, I was wondering if they were going to change the way she speaks. But they didn’t. When I read it, I could hear my grandmother’s voice. I can even hear her accent!
— Juliana Lossi, granddaughter of Gemma Simonetti, author of I Miei Ricordi (I Remember…)
I am so grateful to Susan and Andi for helping me fulfill my dream of writing a book about my life. People always used to tell me, “Martha, you should write a book.” I knew my story would inspire others to pursue their dreams, and I wanted to write it, but I couldn’t do it on my own.
I am extremely proud of the book that Susan and Andi helped me write and self-publish. People all over the world have read my story, and many have written to me to tell me how much my story moved and motivated them. I have been asked to speak at churches, schools, and other organizations. My book was mentioned in the local newspaper, and I have been requested to give radio interviews. Without Susan and Andi’s help, I never would have been able to accomplish my goal. They helped me so much, and I thank them.
— Martha Lovejoy , author of My Mother’s Daughter: From a Mud Hut in Zimbabwe to Business Success in America
We are very pleased we decided to record my mother’s personal history. Susan and Andi were helpful in all ways! This was a long process, interrupted by illness. We appreciated Susan and Andi’s patience. My advice to anyone considering recording a parent’s life story is this: take the plunge! My mother’s book is a keepsake for all of us. As ailments and illnesses continue, we are even more thankful we ventured into the process.
— Linda Bornstein, daughter of Ruth Turner, author of Memories of an Optimist
When you read the book Susan and Andi did for my grandmother, you hear Grandma’s voice. That’s what I appreciate most. Grandma really enjoyed the process of being interviewed about her life. She always looked forward to Susan’s visits to the nursing home to interview her. The whole process lifted her spirits and energy level. Reminiscing about her past gave Grandma a goal to work toward, and she looked forward to seeing the end product.
I gave my grandmother a copy of her book for Christmas last year. By then she no longer could turn the pages herself, so every night after work I’d stop by the nursing home on my way home for dinner and read four or five pages from her book to her. We’d look at the photos together. It always brought a smile to her face, and it got us talking about her life. I’d read her stories about her brothers as young boys, and she’d start laughing. You could see in her eyes how pleasurable it was for her to go back in time and remember her younger days. Grandma passed away in March 2009 at age 94. I’m so glad that I had arranged for Susan and Andi to record her life story and that I was able to share it with her in those last few weeks of her life. And now we have her book to remind us of her. Both my daughters (ages 10 and 13) have read Grandma’s book, and they loved it. Some day I hope they’ll share it with their children.
— Greg Apostle, grandson of Shirley Wright, author of My Life
My experience with Personal History Productions is somewhat different from their typical client. Our foundation has used PHP to produce several newsletters and other materials over the past few years. Our experience with Andi and Susan has been exceptional. The projects are always well planned, with thorough timelines and expectations distributed to all at the beginning of the process. Timelines have always been met, writing is crisp and clear, coordination with graphic artists and printers handled flawlessly, and the cost has always remained most acceptable. Andi and Susan have always responded promptly to our every need and request. Best of all, the public comments about our publications have been glowing.
Their heirloom books are exceptional, but keep them in mind for other types of projects. You won’t be sorry.
—Dan Jenkins, Director, Sonoma County Library Foundation
My parents never talk about themselves, and my siblings and I knew almost nothing about their early lives and backgrounds. The older we got, we really wanted to know more about their history. I would mention to my
parents often, “Why don’t you write something down. Why don’t you start putting something together.” It just never happened. I think they needed some prompting, which Susan and Andi gave them, to really get their stories down. I’m so glad and extremely grateful that we were able to get their stories down while they were still healthy and sharp and able to remember so much.
One of my parents’ best friends recently passed away, with no warning. Re-reading my parents’ book, I just kept thinking, “This could have happened to them and we would have missed our chance to get this history from our parents.” Thankfully we initiated the project when we did. I feel it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for my family.
— Swati Singh, daughter of Raghu and Sheela Singh, authors of A Long Way Home: Our Journey
Many thanks once again for capturing my father’s personal history and life both on CD and transcription. It is something the family and I have wanted to do for quite some time now, but either logistics or time prevented us from doing so. But now it is done! And his rich history from China to Argentina to the United States can be passed down. Thank you for providing such a wonderful service and doing what you do. It truly is priceless and heart-warming for those of us out there looking to capture the important moment in life and ancestry of our loved ones.
— Victoria Kochergin, daughter of Anatole Alexandrovich Advienko
When one of my sons encouraged me to take on this project, I thought it would be a real chore. Instead, the whole process turned out to be a delightful experience. I had a great old time going through boxes of photos. It was so satisfying bringing into the present old memories. The whole project was made easy by Susan’s perceptive questions and Andi’s aesthetic decisions. I feel good that my personal history will now be passed down to my sons and their children.
—Jane Headley, author of Jane’s Journey: Game, Set, Match!