Do you ever wish you could go back and do something differently? Without fail, every week someone says to me, “My (mother, father, aunt, uncle, sister, brother, cousin…), was the one full of family stories but now they’re gone. I wish we had collected their stories.”
I have to say this is one of the saddest and most common sentences I hear. When we realize that part of our own story is missing it’s kind of like pieces of the puzzle are gone. Once our family has passed, there is no way to get those pieces back.
I was listening to some recordings the other day from 1998 that a son made while interviewing his parents. Listening to it knowing his parents have since passed made it priceless. Doing interviews with family members can be tricky because they might think their story is not interesting or they might think you see them dying soon. I know this son was grateful he persisted.
This sentiment from the son really stood out for me. “You can understand why I feel like I need to ask some questions because it’s like all these gaps of information that if I don’t get it from you, where am I going to get it from?” Powerful words. Here are a few tips on how to get a story teller talking.
I am so glad to have asked my dad questions about his early years of life. This image is a page from his life story. It was done back in the day when I would hand write life stories. Things have progressed here in the studio and now I use my computer to write but I’ve created a font with my own handwriting. You can do this too.
There is no doubt that collecting memories can be a big project but if you take small steps you will most definitely make progress. If you need some inspiration, head to our new and improved website and check out our Magic Questions. We have some fun questions to get started on the early and young adult years of life. The questions are a quick prompt to a trip down the memory river.
I have put off doing my own story for years and now it’s on my calendar for the 17th of each month (my birth date). Using my favourite free recording app, Voice Record Pro, I spend an hour sharing my story. Use whatever method works for you, write for an hour, interview someone for an hour. I love this quote. “A year from now, you will wish you started today” – Karen Lamb. So true.
If you need some help getting started or pulling things together once you’ve gathered some stories, send me a note and let’s talk about it.
Thanks for following along and huge gratitude if you share this blog with someone you know who might be interested. I am passionate about helping and encouraging people to collect their memories.
Hope you are getting outside to enjoy the summer weather that seems to have arrived!