|Posted: 12/10/2012 1:52:09 PM|
The other day my mother-in-law started asking me in depth questions about my parents (who are 70) and their story after seeing some of their wedding photos. How they met, how long had they been dating, where they went on their first date, and on and on. It came to my attention that I actually don't know the answer to a lot of the questions she asked which made me a little sad. These are things I should know and things I want to know. I would like to make some sort of scrapbook that I can get them to either fill in or give me the answers to so I can fill it in. Any suggestions on how to start this? How this should look? What I should include? I would also like to give each of my siblings one so I am thinking this should be in digital form somehow. Any thoughts/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
2Ps Digital Creative Team
Loc: Los Angeles
|Posted: 12/11/2012 7:45:12 AM|
ITA, it's great that you want to make an album about this. I am also the one in my family who tries to learn these stories and document them in my own way (scrapbooking).
I found that my parents were somewhat resistant to telling the stories if asked questions that were too broad, like "tell me about your childhood." I don't see either of my parents often, so I am now in the habit when I see my mother of asking random questions about a personal belonging, like "where is this ___ from?" and sometimes just telling me its origin will get her started on the back story. But, I have to be careful not to ask too many questions at a time because it's overwhelming for an elderly person. A few times when she's started telling me a story I turn the recorder on on my iPhone, and those are the most successful stories since I can listen to them again.
I tried sending my father written questions to answer, and again, perhaps having too many questions in one document was overwhelming, because he didn't want to answer.
So, I guess my advice is know your audience. If you have parents that like to talk about themselves and where they came from, you could just do an "interview." If your parents are reticent about talking about themselves, or if they would get overwhelmed by too many questions at one time, it's definitely better to ask questions one at a time, over time. Showing them occasional photos and asking about its circumstances is a good start for the one at a time questions.
Good luck with your project! You'll enjoy learning those details about your parents.
|Posted: 12/11/2012 1:23:56 PM|
Good luck with your project!
After my father passed away, I realized there was so much that I didn't know. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend some time with his brother, who had some old photos. He loved going back, telling me stories of their school days. However, he'd move so fast, flitting from one memory to another that it was a little hard to keep up (but I wouldn't trade that time for anything).
I wish I'd thought of it at the time - grab a small tape recorder and during a visit, grab some photos, sit down and just chat about them. Maybe after a lunch or dinner, so the atmosphere is relaxed. You could preface the recording with the photo information (do that before you sit with the relative, so they don't feel "obligated" to tell you things), and then just record the conversation, where-ever that may lead. One photo might lead your parents on a tangent to something totally obscure that has nothing to do with the original train of thought - but these are all memories to capture.
Even better, if they are both in the room, recording the back 'n' forth about who did what (or who didn't LOL) might make for an interesting story or two.
Loc: In the Scrap room!
|Posted: 12/11/2012 9:34:22 PM|there is a book you can buy that has prompts in it--but I don't see it at Amazon. but I did find these if you are interested: ask grandma
Check out my blog here: http://scrappygram.blogspot.com
Happily Creating for these wonderful designers Polka Dot Pixils, Jen Martakis, Just Jaimee, and Dianne Rigdon here at 2 peas!
|Posted: 12/15/2012 9:19:04 PM|
Your post prompted me to think that I need to be a better biographer! I once knew all the detailed answers to those questions you posed in your post about my own parents, but I need to sit and write down what I do remember and then ask them the rest of the details.
The way I learn things about my parents is through different ways. Sometimes a photo or a particular food will spark a conversation or question. Sometimes I will ask, "Mom/Dad, what did you do when you first brought me home from the hospital?" or questions like that. Invariably, that one question will spark others. I don't like to ask too many questions because their memories are fading, and I don't want to overwhelm them.
Good luck! Be sure to write everything down before you forget! Recording is such a great idea!
|Posted: 12/20/2012 6:46:03 PM|
Check out www.kerribradford.com. She recently announced (yesterday i think) that she has a new class starting called The History Project. It is all about the stories that make up your life. I am thinking of buying it for my mom (74) and me to do together from our respective points of view. It is a year long class and looks awesome