My Passion

I have had a passion for story telling since I was a child. My favorite past time was to tell stories with Mary Jane my imaginary friend. I would tell my mother "I'm making on to believe".My love of story telling led me to major in acting at Boston University School of Fine and Applied Arts. Later I would have a thirty year career on radio and TV as a news anchor and host and producer of my own interview teachiprograms..I enjoyed helping students tell stories. I taught writing classes for five colleges. (Some of these overlapped). Now I have my own business Carole Nelson Video Biographies. My company tells people's stories which includes an interview, video of the person in his or her every day life. We add old film, video, pictures and music. Each is a mini documentary of a person's life something for generations to treasure
You will find a blog here telling parts of my own story, those of my grandmother and mother as well as snippets of the lives of people whose life stories we have told. If you are interested you may e-mail me at I would be happy to arrange a time when you could see portions of video life stories we have created and discuss what we could do for you. Each story is individual and contains what you want to tell. Meanwhile enjoy the blog.I continue "making on to believe".

Sunday, July 26, 2015

It has been a struggle with many moments of doubts. How do you start a business when you are in your 70's and although you have a passion you have no money? Finally, I can say that it is happening. I worked with two different videographers over a period of years when I found the videographer who shared my vision. We did videos that I am proud of, people's life stories on video with photos, old films and videos, music and special effects. All of this in addition to an interview that is from a half hour to an hour. Plus I found someone to design a web site who shared my vision. Intrigued? Check it out.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

My new business Carole Nelson Video Stories is off to a great start. I am so grateful to have found a great videographer Todd Dunlap and a web page designer to help me. They share my vision of capturing people's life stories on video. The stories vary from a half hour to an hour. Some are dramatic; others are not. They all have a story to tell. We do the interview, and then work with visuals, editing, music to create what is your life to live on for future generations. It says this is who I am to some; to others this is who I was, my footprint on the earth. The web site will allow easy access when it is done. For now these are the links on YouTube. One should lead into the other, four parts.
ary Lambert’s Video Biography Part #1 ~ 

Gary Lambert’s Video Biography Part #2 ~

Gary Lambert’s Video Biography Part #3 ~

Gary Lambert’s Video Biography Part #4 ~

Monday, June 8, 2015

Tell Me a Story! Tell Me a Story and Then I'll Go to Bed

When I was a child my love of storytelling took so many forms. I loved to read Grimm’s’ Fairy Tales to my grandmother as I sat at her feet and she took a fine comb to my hair looking for dandruff. I loved comic books and later I devoured the magazines like Photoplay with the stories of the lives of the actresses and actors. My love of acting took me further than I ever thought I would go but not as far as that long held dream of starring in a play on Broadway. I longed to crawl into the lives of other people, to be them as least for awhile. On some level I knew I wasn’t movie star material but I had heard the sound of applause; that was the affirmation I needed.
 But as a child I didn’t foresee one day acting in a play in the Richard Rogers Theater in Boston, of looking up in the balcony which was so steep it seemed right over my head. I would never have dreamed of 30 years in the media as a news anchor, TV and radio talk show host, always telling stories. I loved interviewing on radio because there was more time than on TV. I sought out and found people I wanted to interview Deepak Chopra before anyone was familiar with his work, Elmore Leonard with his fascinating crime stories, even my teen age idol  Eddie Fisher.  I saw the handsome young man on his own show sponsored by Coke not the old man who sat in the studio delighting in making me squirm as he told me about  his sex life with each of his three wives. Stories don’t always end the way you think they will end.
 But it is the stories from my family. I asked so many questions and I have a good memory so I have been able to fill in the blanks in at least some of my family history. What a shock to find the similarities among the lives of my great grandmother, my grandmother, my mother’s and my own.  Each of us faced daunting challenges, heartbreak, betrayal and the need to somehow summon strength we didn’t know we had. What a gift I owe them and how grateful I am for their stories. I asked the questions about their lives.  They told me some of the answers; other  answers I found from relatives, of putting together the pieces of the puzzle.  In the weeks before my mother died while she was in the nursing home she hated, before I had her moved to Hospice  she told me of some of her childhood memories…of the aqua gown she wore to the prom and how it swirled around her as she danced the Lindy and the Turkey Trot. She told me of the excitement of being the one in her family allowed to turn on the lights for the first time when electricity came to the small Vermont village where she lived.
Of course, there are many questions that are unanswered. Somewhere I believe there is a half brother I have never met, part of a secret life my father led during the years I was growing up. I started to pursue the story. Decades after “the other woman” and my father had died I picked up the phone and called the dead woman’s brother. I was the one who had seen her. I knew her name. “Tell me about my father and Irene”, I said. “Carole, let it go” he said. “They are gone now. There is no reason.” I had called given my name and simply asked the question. It was as though I had asked the question in 1950. It was not just my story. The man I think  my dad fathered doesn’t know that we share a father. He thinks he was adopted by a family member. I hang up the phone when I reach him. It is my father’s voice on the other end of the line. I see now the clues that I didn’t see when I was growing up. I feel my mother’s pain and how she wrestled away the power in the family from my father. He allowed her to do that.
 Some questions I tried to ask were left on the table.  I was a mother of two sons at that time.“Tell me about the problems you and my mother had in your relationship “I said. He averted my eyes. “Oh you talk to your mother about that”, he said. Was the relationship ongoing with the other woman? I will never know.
 If I come across as an interviewer when I meet people (which I have been accused of) it I want to climb into that person’s head. Now come the stories of the people I interview for my new venture Carole Nelson Biographies. They hold me enthralled. No one has a boring life. I want that person to leave a footprint, to say:” I was here. This was and is my life, its challenges, its joys; this is what I want people to know about me when I am gone.”  I want to help them to do that. My passion of “making on to believe” has continued all these decade since I first listened to and told stories to my imaginary friend Mary Jane. The stories have only become richer. This picture is of my mother and her parents. I could swear my grandmother is crying.

The idea to do Biographies started in 1998. I had returned recently from a six year stint in Seattle as a full time professor at The Art Institute of Seattle and part time radio host for KVI. I came back to Orlando to do Biographies with Ed Bookbinder who had a very successful video business Visual Impact; it didn’t work out. We had good intentions, but the two biographies we did were anything but what we had envisioned. 
Our first client was one of the richest men in Orlando. He was old now and he wanted his life documented. We had no idea to what extent. I guess it goes back to the adage that money is power and this client had us in his power, at least briefly.  I will call him Bill (not his real name). Bill wanted every aspect of his present and past life documented. That meant pictures from his growing up years in north Florida through his early days as a businessman in Orlando and his present position as President and CEO of one of the biggest businesses in Orlando. That was just the beginning. He wanted me to interview him and Ed to shoot him at so many places we lost count. We shot him doing exercises in his bedroom, at his beach side home, at parties he hosted and business meetings where he presided. I had just come back from Seattle so I had the time; Ed’s video business Visual Impact was flourishing so at times this was a big inconvenience. Perhaps the topper was calling us the night before to tell us he wanted us to fly with him to Atlanta so we could shoot him in his doctor’s office and I could interview his doctor about the ground breaking treatment his was receiving. When we showed up in the examining room not only was there no room for the doctor to move he wasn’t pleased at the intrusion. All of that was lost on Bill; he knew what he wanted. Weeks turned into a month or two. It appeared we were producing Ben Hur. Finally, I did an interview with him in the studio. He seemed visibly rattled that day. Some of his answers made no sense. At one point he told me that we should all be vegetarians because unlike chickens we were not conivores. Right! What a shock to chickens worldwide. Think of all the steak dinners they had missed.
            When Bill received his video he was pleased. It had cost him a lot of money. We charged him for all the travel time and expenses.  Ed was able to edit the final copy down to about an hour and a half with a lot (on the cutting room floor, metaphorically). We hoped future ones would not be so complicated. We were wrong.

Never Say Never

 The second request that Ed Bookbinder and I received to do a Biography was from a dear friend, a woman for whom I have great respect and who had been my mentor. The request seemed impossible to fulfill. She wanted a biography of her father-in-law. Unfortunately, he spoke no English. That meant she would have to translate the questions to him and then translate the answers to me. All the elements that I look for in an interview seemed to be missing. I want rapport with my subject which takes time to establish during a pre-interview. The person has to trust me, to believe that I will help him tell the story to capture the hi-lights of his life and to tell it in a way that will be compelling for relatives, friends and future generations to enjoy. This pre-interview time was not there although the woman told me some of the parts of his story he wanted told. Eye contact is important, but I would have eye contact with no communication between us, just the translator talking. Ed and I agreed to do it. Amazing! This experience taught me not to pre-judge where these interviews could take us. It is one thing to have guidelines, but with Biographies the story can work itself out in many different ways. One part of the interview was especially moving. His eyes filled with tears as his daughter-in-law translated for him of the horrible dilemma he faced at the beginning of World War II. He his wife and sons had come to the states from Hungary before the war broke out. The couple had left their daughters behind to follow them later. They never left. They were sent to a concentration camp. He spent years agonizing over whether or not he should have gone back, if he even could go back. There other parts of his story that were interesting, some riveting. So a biography could be created even with circumstances like these. Ed and I planned to continue with Biographies, but Ed’s business schedule made it impossible for him to find the time to shoot and edit. The interview itself and the shooting may seem to take a short time, but the time writing a script, pouring over the interview to edit it and then editing the video takes hours and hours. I took a job as a marketing director for a studio. Biographies was on the back burner, way back on the burner.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The last years of a life sentence

When I was growing up, even as a young adult, the person I turned to when I needed advice, solace, or just a warm embrace was my grandmother, Nana. From the time I was ten years, my family lived next to her and my grandfather Popo. In the years before I was a teen ager I remember her as the hostess for all the guests who stayed in her tourist home and the  motel they built next to it.. My grandmother was the reason many guests returned often; some became like relatives who visited once or twice a year. It was clear what drew people to her. She was friendly, always a smile or a belly laugh and always eager to talk. At night when guests sat on the wide front porch of the hundred year old house, my grandmother was eager to hear their stories. I was too. My parents were busy next door with a thriving motel business and restaurant. They were up at 5 and didn’t go to bed until the last guest was checked in, sometimes 11. So my grandmother’s front porch was the source of much of my knowledge of the world which existed beyond Rutland, Vermont. My grandmother would serve coffee and one of her Swedish pastries around nine o’clock. I think now it was a way to keep guests on the porch longer. This was her only life. By then, my grandfather was a heavy drinker. He had retired from his job as a mechanic at the Vermont Marble Company. There was little to occupy his time. Usually after he had a few drinks, he would come to the front porch but his presence was always an intrusion. He would rock back and forth on his heels and tell a few stories of his own, stories that had nothing to do with the ongoing conversation. If there was a good looking woman on the porch he wouldn’t leave. He would make lewd comments and launch into dirty jokes until my grandmother ordered him back into the house. He was an embarrassment to all the guests. He was more to my grandmother. He was the albatross around her neck; he had been for decades. At the most they had a tolerance for one another; at the least it was bitter arguments about his drinking. And there was more. This is the man who raped her when she was 21, got her pregnant and then had to marry her. She never forgave him.
Later when I was a young adult she was the one who consoled me over broken romances and held me when my fiancé jilted me a month before the wedding. She murmured consoling thoughts as she held me against her ever expanding body and breasts so flat they appeared not to be there. She had been misdiagnosed as suffering from arthritis so her doctor prescribed heavy doses of steroids. They gave her a pumpkin face and expanded her once trim figure. She had an aneurysm on her knee.
I never thought to have he tell me the story of her life. I have attempted to write her life; I am 300 pages into an historical romance. It is about her life but of course, it is fiction. There are so many unknowns, so many questions I never asked when I was caught up in the drama of my own life. I have tried to put myself back into the early twentieth century to try to imagine her life with a man she hated.  On the day of her fiftieth wedding anniversary, when all the guests had gone, she took her two sisters aside and begged them to take her to the courthouse so she could get a divorce. They refused telling her to enjoy the life she had. Of course, each of them had been happily married for decades. She could never turn to my mother because despite his drinking my mother still loved her father. After all, he had doted on her from the day she was born. If she had told me would I have taken her to the courthouse? Probably not. She was using a walker by then because of the intense pain in her knee, (the aneurysm that was never discovered). Where would she have gone? If she had stayed where would my grandfather had gone? The woman who had grabbed every opportunity that came her way to rise above the life sentence she had been handed was out of opportunities. She told me every night he would get drunk and come into the living room where she sat confined by her walker and he would talk on and on. He finally had someone, a captive audience to his ramblings. I was her bright spot she told me. She looked forward to my coming home first from college and later from out-of-town teaching jobs. She died in October 1961 when the aneurysm moved from her knee to her brain. My mother called me to tell me to come home. I came home that night on a Greyhound bus. My father picked me up at the bus station. “She’s gone”, he said. The pain was intense, more than the pain from the jilting six months before. I never said goodbye. She was buried in the light blue dress she had bought for my wedding. She had never worn it. After the pain subsided I had imaginary conversations with her. When I had a problem, was sad, or just missed her I would hear her say “Oh honeysuckle, it will be all right.” I do it less often now but there are still nights when I hear her whisper in my ear “It’s all going to be ok honeysu

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Storytelling beginning

The first ten years of my life were chaotic. My parents separated after years of late night quarreling and my mother's frequent sobbing. They were very different. She had been an only child doted on by her parents leading a very sheltered life in a small Vermont town. My dad was handsome, a drinker and a player. He was turn heads handsome. When my mother met him he had a  gaggle of girlfriends. He was smitten with the shy pretty hazel eyed girl with dimples and curly hair. My dad worked for his father who ran a very successful dry cleaning business, a pick and up and delivery business that covered most of southern Vermont. He drove a truck "Brown and Sons We Keep the Spots", He kept late hours and my mother discovered soon after marrying him that part of the late hours included partying. Once my sister and I were born it was her job to bring us up. If we had been boys he would have taken on much of that role. He came home after a few months. I overheard my mother tell a friend she wasn't sure if he had wanted to or if his father had "shamed" him into coming back/ the quarreling continued. I hid. I didn't like the quarreling and watching my sad mother. I crawled into a closet in my room and tried to make myself invisible. I wet the bed; my father yanked me out sleep and spanked me. I walked in my sleep, sometimes  one of them  found me outside.
 I love stories. That was my salvation. When my mother didn't know what I was doing in my room she would holler up the stairs " Carole,what are you doing up there?" My answer was simple. When I was little I told her " I am upstairs with Mary Ann 'making on to believe". I loved going to the movies with my Aunt Margaret. She would take me to the Paramount Theater or the Grand Theatre: I would wiggle down into the seat and let myself be up there on the screen.
 I was a lousy student in elementary school but in junior high I blossomed. Teachers discovered I was a good writer. I read Nancy Drew, the Bobsey Twins, and Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales. I would walk up the street to my grandmother's. I would sit on the floor at her feet. While she went through my hair with a fine comb looking for dandruff I read Grimm's Fairy Tales out loud. My favorite book, however, was Boxcar Kids. I spun many fantasies about living in a box car with a few friends, orange crates as tables, sleeping on the floor. Every night someone closed the big door and we were inside safe. Later I would transfer my love of storytelling to acting, majoring in it in college. I had a twenty five year career in TV and radio seeking out people's stories or as much of their stories as I could cram into interviews. I wrote columns for The Orlando Sentinel and later Senior Scene magazine.
In 1985 I wrote a book. It has been one of my biggest regrets. The book that was published was not the book I had intended to write. The publisher left out entire chapters and added chapters. Some parts she added without my knowledge. I took a lot of deserved knocks for that one. I think the first life stories I became interested in were those in my family. I believe that we learn from going back to events in our own lives to see what if anything we have learned. Has it been a journey with a destination? Then I discovered my grandmother's story which shocked me. It prompted me to  begin to write an historical novel about a young woman raped on her 21st birthday and forced to marry her rapist. They were married over fifty years. I had to tell that story. Then there was my mother's story. She was so different in personality I doubted that we were alike in any way. I was wrong. In fact, I have gone back and researched and wrote my great grand mother's, grandmother's and mother's journeys. I can see so many traits that came down through the years. So now I am telling other people's stories using video, pictures, old films, music. Someone told me that when I meet a person I seem to launch into an interview. I suppose that person is correct. I love people's stories. It is not a bad passion to have.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Channel 6 – sheriff
It is fair to say that WDBO was where my love of radio news and talk radio began. In 2008, the end of my media career when the plug was pulled, it was conducting radio interviews that I missed.. I became known for being a news anchor (the first to anchor an evening newscast in Orlando and one of the first in the state)  but I enjoyed my tenure in radio more than that in TV. Part of it is that when I left WDBO to go to Channel 9 I was hired as an anchor not a reporter. Even reporters in TV who work to become anchors miss being out on the street in the thick of things being where the action is. I take that back. Maybe there are TV reporters who never felt that way, seeing reporting as simply a stepping stone to the more glamorous job of TV anchor.

              Once I became somewhat accustomed to the pace of radio reporting, learning how to multli-task, to write stories, to report stories, to investigate  stories I was hooked. However, every night after anchoring or reporting during the six o’clock news as I drove up I-4 to Sanford I was still high on adrenalin; a few hours later I would be in bed only an hour or so after the boys .

The stories were fascinating. One of them that I did not discover but which soon after it became public was lead story of many newscast, s the story of the Orange County Sheriff’s department’s black box. The box was not designed to be ominous. It was to house money needed for deputies to cover investigations. But then something changed. Who changed it  and for what purpose became such a big story that eventually “heads rolled”. There were charges of embezzlement, then money used not for investigations but to buy cocaine. There was a list that seemed to lay at the heart of the story, a list of prominent Central Florida businessmen drawn up apparently for blackmail. It was an ugly story and when it was uncovered it shook Sheriff Mel Coleman to his core. It became a black mark on the department. Many thought the story never was investigated as thoroughly as it should have been. I remember at one point showing up at headquarters and asking to speak to the Sheriff, an appointment made in advance. Once the story came to light reporters from radio, TV and print were on it “Like white on rice”. The person I first spoke to was as intimidating as any person I have ever met. Lee Mccherrin was the chief deputy. He met me at the door; he was polite but not friendly. In fact, it would not be an overstatement to say he was as cold as ice. Lee was a towering figure of six feet plus with icy blue eyes and blonde hair, His questions were curt and demanded immediate reply. He was the Aryan stereotype of  law enforcement. I knew he was an upholder of the law, but had I been casting a movie about the Gestopo he would have been at the top of the list. Eventually he went to prison although I am not sure on what charges.. You can imagine my surprise then when he called me at home during the time I was anchoring and interviewing for Channel Six. He would be open to an interview now that he had been released from prison. Was I interested. Of course, I was. The one stipulation was that the interview not take place at the station. He came to my house one spring afternoon. Leigh McCherin was a changed man.He wore casual clothes’ he kept addressing me as “mam”. He was so soft spoken that at times I had to ask him to speak louder. I do not remember all the details of the interview. It was an interview of repentance. By this time in my career, I had learned that when someone agreed to an interview that person usually had “something to sell”. It could be a book, an album, a movie, support for a cause or his candidacy. I wondered what if any hidden agenda Lee Mccherin had. Apparently none. The interview aired but that was the last I saw of Leigh

Mceacherin. If he wanted the interview to accomplish something other than for viewers to see a changed persona I have no idea what it was.   

By Elaine Bennett of The Sentinel Staff, October 4, 1985

Leigh O. McEachern, a former Orange County chief deputy, was sentenced to 60 days in jail Thursday after he pleaded guilty in Seminole County Court to a worthless check charge.McEachern, 48, of 1255 Snow Hill Road, Chuluota, also was sentenced to concurrent one-year terms of probation after pleading no contest to two charges of obtaining property with a worthless check.A third check charge was dropped.McEachern was convicted in 1980 of stealing up to $200,000 from the Orange County Sheriff's Office investigative fund during the six years he served as chief deputy to Sheriff Mel Colman.

By Sara Roen of The Sentinel Staff, August 1, 1985

Former Orange County chief deputy Leigh O. McEachern, paroled two years ago from prison, has been ordered to appear in court next week on a worthless- check charge.He is scheduled to appear Monday in Seminole County Court.Meanwhile, probation officials in Seminole County have recommended that the state parole board charge McEachern with violating his parole, which is scheduled to end Aug. 9.If that happens, he could be ordered to complete his 10-year prison sentence, said Ed Bedell, a parole supervisor.

By Sara Roen of The Sentinel Staff, August 10, 1985

Former Orange County Chief Deputy Leigh O. McEachern, who was released two years ago from prison, was charged with violating his parole Friday, the day it was to end.McEachern, 48, 1255 Snow Hill Road, Chuluota, surrendered at 11:25 a.m. to officers at the Seminole County jail. He is being held without bond.He is scheduled to appear in county court next week on four misdemeanor charges of issuing worthless checks. The charges were filed by the Seminole County state attorney's office.The state parole commission ordered McEachern's arrest on a recommendation by parole officers who learned of the worthless check charges, investigators said.