Do it: Yourself
“Mom? Dad? I’d like to visit you and record stories of our family history. I want to ask you questions about your experiences. I want to hear your memories.”
Does that statement sound like the person is saying “I know you’re getting older and I’m afraid you’re going to die really soon” or does it sound like “I want to know what you know.”?
Reader John Beatty wrote me and asked this question:
I bought an Edirol R09 audio recorder 2 years ago with the intent of recording some family history when I visit my parents back in Michigan. You wouldn’t believe the grief one of my friends gave me about the project! I’ve been advised that recording your parents is tantamount to telling your aging parents that you fear they’re about to die so you want to get everything on tape before they kick the bucket. Do you have any advice for folks like me who want to learn more family history but don’t want to seem like a circling vulture?
My new year’s resolutions come in two parts– things I personally resolve to do with my own family history, and things I resolve to do on this website. Ideas for personal resolutions come from that inner nagging or cringe sensation (why is it nag and cringe rather than simple drooling?), and ideas for the site came from a fabulous afteroon this past week brainstorming with a friend about this website. Disclaimer: I don’t know if all of these are resolutions, but here’s my ongoing To-Do list.
Interview Dad. I’m going to sit down with my Dad and interview him. (I’ve done some interviewing of Mom this last year – you mighta seen the 3 minute movie I made from a story my Mom told me.) I interviewed my Mom last Mother’s Day, but I’m not going to wait until Father’s Day to interview my Dad. I did show him the forms and materials for the Veterans’ History Project, so he’s got an idea of what we’ll talk about.