Priceless Gifts Through TimeBanking

What does a TimeBanker give an 88 year-old dad (who has more than everything he wants) for Father’s Day?

Dad doesn’t get around very well anymore so these days I puzzle over what small gesture would give him a little happiness in his closely circumscribed life. I got an inspiration last February when I was visiting him at his home in Arizona.

Dad had become fascinated with his ancestry decades ago and had started researching and collecting family memorabilia.  He went so far as to travel to ancestral homes in and around New England, visiting the local historical societies.  The office in his house is now the repository for these memorabilia.  As a way to honor Dad, I made it my project to go through the boxes and files and see how I could perpetuate the stories a little further, so that the tales didn’t go to the grave with this generation.

Perhaps our most celebrated ancestor was one Thomas Harry Hinton. He was a musician, composer, conductor and music professor in upstate New York during the nineteenth century.  There are many stories about Professor Hinton, and the family archives had photographs and even some of his original musical manuscripts (with the emphasis on “manu” — hand written with pen and ink!)

Professor Hinton began a musical genetic thread in our family that has been passed down from generation to generation.  My daughter is now the proud possessor of her great grandfather’s (THH’s grandson’s) refurbished violin!

What does all this have to do with TimeBank? To say it in a nutshell, TimeBank enabled my father to hear his great grandfather’s music played for the first time!

I took some of Professor Hinton’s original music back to Cville with me in the hopes of finding someone who could play the music for me. I would then record it and send it to my dad.  After scanning the Cville TimeBank member list, I spotted Philip Clark, a professional musician and violin teacher.

Philip was delighted to take on this unusual project.  He began by selecting one of the songs called “Sunrise”, and uploading it into his computer. That allowed us to hear  what it sounded like for the first time!  Philip then got inspired to take it a step further and asked if I’d like it arranged for string trio.  I said, “Sure!” We soon strategized that my violinist daughter Julie could be one of the performers, and her friend Mark Dennison could play the cello part. And to record the performance, I contacted TimeBank goddess, Kathy Kildea.

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The ensemble met the Saturday before Father’s Day in the Woolen Mills Chapel (a great local resource!) and “Sunrise” was brought to life.  The moment was so joyful, I had to keep myself from dancing in the aisles (for fear that Kathy would capture it on the video…).  Kathy put the footage into a lovely little video presentation and I was able to email it to my dad in time for Father’s Day.  He was deeply moved and totally delighted.  And the bonus is that I was able to upload it to our family’s Facebook page to share with all the other branches of our family tree!

TimeBank has proven over and over to be an incredible resource for our community.  Not only do things get done that would otherwise languish on our neglected “to do” lists, but the joy of accomplishment gets shared around and friendships blossom and grow.  And this project is a great example of something that I could not have afforded to finance were I relying on for-hire helpers.

My deep gratitude goes out to Cville TimeBank members Philip Clark and Kathy Kildea for this priceless (literally!)  gift to my family!

-Lise Stoessel

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