How can I help you with your resolutions for 2010?

Happy 2010 to you. My biggest resolution is to help you with your New Year’s resolutions, especially if yours take the form of saying “I really ought to talk to my…” Mom or Dad or Grandpa or Grandma or Aunt or Uncle or family friend. And record that conversation. And then process it with your computer. And then archive it somehow.

In 2010, I wish to to devote more time and effort to this site than I did the last year, and here’s a toast to the posts, articles, reviews and videos that will appear here this year. I’m leery of getting too specific and too ambitious. (Been there, done that.) What can I write about that will help you?

On my own work with my own family oral histories, I have recordings of my dad and uncle—both veterans—that I want to finish processing and submit to the Veterans History Project.

I’ve got some family photos that I scanned. Or rather began scanning—there are so many more. I want to put them together in a MemoryMiner photo library to distribute to all the cousins (I’ve talked of this before). Wanted to do that in time for the Dad memorial, but the distribution part didn’t happen.

I’ve gotten in touch with two 2nd cousins—each of whom are the recipients of family genealogies—on two different sides of my Dad’s family. I’ve received invitations to share in the info. I’d like to make a bit of progress on that front. Not too much, mind you. Enough Small Progress (any small progress!) that’d constitute a Big Win.

… .

Finally, two different looks at the past decade.

imageLast night brought a somber recollection of the year. 2009 was a hard one for me. This Facebook Status collection (click to enlarge) pretty much tells the biggest of them. Combine that with a Twitter New Year’s Eve trend—the hashtag #10yearsago inspired two tweets about something I’d thought about this past week. At Christmas I remembered my Y2K experience. I was in the mountains. Snowy. Nearly 7000 feet elevation. At the family cabin, a rickety beloved place. 10 years ago I went there with a couple of friends. My parents came up, too. Dad brought his carbide cannon. But right after midnight, when he shot it off, it went boop? (instead of kapow!). I laughed and said, “Dad! That’s the Y2K bug!” Ten years (minus one week) later, on Christmas night, just before midnight, my Mom, two brothers and I tromped through snow to a place nearby where Dad booped? the cannon for Y2K. There in the cold under starry night, with half-moon light casting long fingery shadows of pine trees on the ice and snow, we spread some of my Dad’s cremains in the environs of this mountain retreat.

But also 10 years ago, I was a couple of weeks shy of taking a cross-country trip to visit my grandpa. Who’d been given a tape recorder for his 99th birthday. And that was the beginning of this odyssey of mine, collecting family stories. Memories. Legends. Who-did-whats.

Grandpa is gone. So, now, is Dad. But I have recorded some of their stories. I have the sounds of their voices.

… . .

Which leads me back to my New Year’s Resolution theme: How can I help you with YOUR resolution, if you find yourself thinking, “Ya know, I really ought to sit down with my relation and record his or her memories” ?

What would you like to know?

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Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on January 01, 2010 in • Do it: Learn HowDo it: YourselfInterviewingPersonal
1 CommentsPermalink

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Well, I’ll do my best to help you reach your goal to help me reach mine wink. What I would like to know? How do you breach a sensitive topic (dealing with the past) with a relative, especially if you’ve not really spoken to said relative for a long while?

Good luck in 2010!

J.M.  on 01/04  at  01:12 PM

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