Pass the Stories, Please
With many families gathered for Thanksgiving dinners, it is the perfect occasion to remember family heritage by retelling family stories. To insure their preservation, these stories should be told and retold, and should also be recorded in some fashion, whether on paper, in audio or video format.
If family members need a little prompting, try these themes to get them talking:
Places you have lived: towns, cities, addresses, descriptions of houses
Favorites: color, smells, season, food, music, holiday, flower, book
Belongings: cars, clothes, heirlooms, toys
Pets: types, names, what was special about them
Holidays and vacations: where did you go, how did you get there, who went with you, what did you do
Hobbies and leisure time: sports, collecting, entertainment, creating
Culture and the arts: what part did music, books, theatre, radio, movies, tv play in your life
Schools you attended: special teachers, favorite subjects
Important events: humorous, embarrassing, historic
People in your life
Children and grandchildren will appreciate having a written record of your life, and all adults should consider putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, to save their stories and thoughts for family. To help you get started, Tazewell County Public Library offers several books:
Raymond Mungo. Your Autobiography: more than 300 questions to help you write your personal history
Bernard Selling. Writing from Within: a step-by-step guide to writing your life’s stories
Linda Spence. Legacy: a step-by-step guide to writing personal history
Lou Willett Stanek. Writing Your Life: putting your past on paper
For some examples of true stories written by men and women of all ages and walks of life, from across the country, check out these two delightful collections:
Listening Is an Act of Love: a celebration of American life from the Story Corp Project, and
I Thought My Father Was God: and other true tales from NPR’s National Story Project by Paul Auster. The opening story, “The Chicken”, a 7-line paragraph, is priceless.
A family’s oral history can be treasured for many future generations. Take advantage of present opportunities, which may not come again, to collect, share, and preserve your priceless heritage. For more resources, call the Library at 988.2541.