Jewish Journal


November 7, 2002

Storybook Romance

Couples can publish their own love story with the help of a new kit.


Kathy Angel Eisenberg and David Eisenberg first met at Rose Nails salon in Woodland Hills. David was taking his 16-year-old daughter to get a manicure and Kathy was bringing her kids with her for her own appointment. The kids were "bouncing off the walls," Kathy said. David quickly assured her that as the kids get older, "it only gets worse."

And with that opener, a romance was born. The two were married this past August and are working on creating a personalized storybook to record their love story for posterity.

The project is less complicated than it might sound. While in the past people might have amassed scrapbooks and instant pictures from their wedding to supplement the traditional professional wedding albums, today -- with the advent of digital photos, Web sites and CD-ROMs -- couples are looking for innovative ways to remember the most important day of their lives.

Kathy and David purchased "The Wedding Storybook," a kit made by My Family Tales that guides them through the process and contains all the materials needed to put it together. The couple can choose to make the storybook themselves using a spiralbound blank book that comes with the kit, or they can mail their photos and text to My Family Tales, who, for a fee, will publish six copies of a professionally bound, personalized storybook for them. What Kathy likes about the kit is that "it kind of prompts [you], encourages you by giving you helpful step-by-step instructions."

Kathy and David actually already have one wedding storybook; not of their love story, but of the wedding day itself. It was given to them by My Family Tales CEO Sharon Gibb Murdoch, with whom Kathy had worked previously on creating the company's baby story kit. Murdoch's book has photographs of the wedding day, which she took herself. The ceremony, on the patio of Granita restaurant in Malibu, was officiated by Cantor Caren Glasser of Kol Tikvah, under a floral chuppah with David's tallit draped over the top. Since Murdoch didn't have a lot of Kathy and David's story, "we just took their theme song and wove it through the story," she said. Murdoch's book paired photographs of the day with the lines of the song Kathy dedicated to David on their wedding day -- Elvis's "Can't Help Falling in Love."

Kathy has been interested in doing a love storybook ever since she got Murdoch's gift, and the wedding kit allows for several different approaches. Writing the story leading up to the wedding gives the couple the option of putting it on the wedding reception table for guests to peruse. "The bride and groom often give those books to the wedding party as thank you gifts for being involved in the wedding," Murdoch said. Other people keep the book on their coffee tables and enjoy the idea of sharing it with their children some day. Another option is what Murdoch did for the Eisenbergs, creating a wedding storybook from scratch.

People have found some pretty creative uses for the books since they've been on the market. One woman gave the love storybook to her husband as a Valentine's Day present. Another man, Trent Lee, used it to propose marriage to his girlfriend. Lee recorded the story of their relationship in the book. The last two pages feature a photograph of Lee down on one knee, holding the ring, and the words, "Sesily, will you marry me?"

So far, the baby storybook kit has garnered the most attention, having been featured in InStyle magazine and the popular scrapbooking magazine Creating Keepsakes. Celebrities like Pierce Brosnan and Jerry Seinfeld have also bought the baby kits to work on with their respective wives. In addition to the baby and wedding books, there are also grandparent story, life story and pet story kits. Plans are currently in the works for a bar/bat mitzvah kit, Mother's Day and Father's Day kits and an adoption kit.

Business for My Family Tales seems to be picking up steam. Murdoch compares their idea, which they've coined "storybooking," to the scrapbooking industry, which has grown impressively in the past few years as people have caught on to it. Her background in education and in leadership, specifically, and storytelling as a form of instructional development, makes her see the draw of their product. "If you look right to the beginning of time, and to biblical time, the way that messages were best conveyed were through story, and those are the items we remember.... It's a universal appeal." Kathy put it a little more simply. "It's a really nice memento," she said.

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