I have worked on preserving our family history in a variety of ways. When I had little kids, I bought my mom a grandmother book in which she answered questions about what life was like when she was growing up.
Some years later, on summer evenings, I sat with my parents and typed their stories on my laptop.
My mom remembered going to Atlantic City with her family. "We had one bed. Aunt Minnie had a friend and Uncle Izzy's girlfriend came. So we slept sideways. Izzy had to sleep in his tin lizzie.
My Dad recalled college summers of playing trumpet in a band in Vineland, New Jersey and staying in a roach-infested room.
They both talked about their honeymoon. The ship caught fire so they had to take a train from Philly to Miami.
Tip: I wish I had also recorded their voices or even made a video tape of them as they retrieved the stories of their pasts.
My three daughters treasure these details of our family history as much as I do.
Here are some ideas adapted from NPR's StoryCorps for recording your own history.
- Who has been the most important person in your life? Can you tell me about him or her?
- What was the happiest moment of your life? The saddest?
- Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you?
- Who has been the kindest to you in your life?
- It's been said that after they pass away, the most important people in our lives "live within us." Is there anyone from your past that lives within you?
- What are the most important lessons you've learned in life?
- What is your earliest memory?
- What is your favorite memory of me?
- If you could hold on to one memory from your life for eternity, what would that be?
- If this were our very last conversation, what words of wisdom would you want to pass on to me? (or more simply: Are there any words of wisdom you'd like to pass along to me? )
- Have you had any experiences or moments in your life that you might consider sacred?
- What are you proudest of in your life?
- When in life have you felt most alone?
- What are your hopes and dreams for what the future holds for me? For my children?
- How has your life been different from what you'd imagined?
- How would you like to be remembered?
- Do you have any regrets?
- What does your future hold?
- Is there anything that you've never told me but want to tell me now?
- Is there something about me that you've always wanted to know but have never asked?
- Is there any message you want to give or anything you want to say to your great-great-great grandchildren when they listen to this?
- What are the funniest stories your family loves to tell about you (or other family members)?
- What are the most embarrassing stories they love to tell about you (or other family members)?
- Is there something you have never lived down?
More topics to choose from:
- Raising Children
- Love and Relationships
- Growing Up
- Serious Illness
- Family Heritage
See my bio for links to additional family stories, healthy recipes, relationship posts, my death of a husband series as well as to my blog Confessions of a Worrywart.
- Dealing With The Death Of A Child Through Poetry
- Divorce and Children
- A Woman Talks About Sex From Her 20's To Her 60's (fascinating and relatable)
- Breastfeeding an Adopted Baby
- Parenting a Parent as He or She Ages
- Are You Having Less Sex Than You Think You Should? One Woman's Story
- Can Working Women Have It All?
- Hipster Dog Names and Quirky Dog Photos