“It was like I had opened up a history book and was able to ask it questions”

Louise Bibby Hocking, of It's My Life DVDs Grandpa’s 94-year old cousin. His name’s Keith. That’s who Louise Bibby Hocking of It’s my Life DVDs went to interview. She was Late. Lost. Flustered. But she finally arrived, and then it all changed. Her account of her day, what she discovered, and what it was like describes exactly why I am so jazzed about interviewing family members.

Let me give you a little more from her story, with the quote that makes up the title of this post:

But eventually I got to asking him about his grandfather, who he knew very well – my great great grandfather. As Keith told me about the “jolly” fellow who was my great great grandfather, and then spoke of his great uncles, I was suddenly hit by an amazing feeling – it was like I had opened up a history book and was able to ask it questions.

She goes through all the high points. Of the get around to it to make that call.

Being in her own head while en route. Getting lost. Having misgivings. Regrouping. (deep breaths!)

Arriving. And then the magic when the stories unfold. Comparing the present-day experience now that she’s old enough to appreciate it to the earlier days when these other relatives were the eh, whatevers of life. (The problem with youth is that it’s wasted on the young, the saying goes.)

And then having that realization: This man is like a time machine! Her own, personal, time machine.

And, of course, once she did this, this distant relative was no longer distant.

Brava, Louise! This is why I talk about the process, the tips, the techniques. It’s a life-well-lived, a have-no-regrets philosophy. Once you spend an concentrated amount of time interviewing a family member, you’ll never wonder later why you never got around to it.


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Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on May 06, 2010 in • InterviewingPersonal History
2 CommentsPermalink

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A great summary of a great blog wink. And you hit it on the head perfectly in saying “It’s a life-well-lived, a have-no-regrets philosophy.”

It takes something to have that philosophy, but the buzz you get out of taking the actions is so worth it!

Happy interviewing Susan.

Keep Smiling


Louise Bibby Hocking  on 05/07  at  04:04 AM

Congratulations on MyHeritage.com Top 100 Recognition!
Visiting all 100 takes some time. Thanks for what you do!

Bill wink

Author of “Back to the Homeplace”
and “13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories”

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