Your Life Story, Your Treasure to Share
Recording your own life story or that of a family member is very rewarding. You need the right questions, a keen interest and a tape recorder.
Have you ever considered writing down some of the experiences you have had in your life? Have your children asked you about your life and that of your spouse before they were born? If you have any of these thoughts, you are ready to consider recording your own story. It is a gift you can give members of your family that they will treasure.
One of the simplest ways of relaying your story is by tape-recording it. I wanted to write about the life of an older man as part of a university course and choose my father in-law. He answered my questions and enlarged upon his own experiences and values. He has since died but we can still hear his voice. Thatconvinced me of the value of a live recording; he had given me a slice of history as he related his story. You can do that too.Think of all the changes that have happened since you were born!
A simple way to start is to go through a personıs life chronologically showing who was important, what happened, when and where. These basic facts will reveal so much about the people in a life and yours. Think of simple questions children have asked you and just answer them as you speak into the recorder. It is even easier if a friend asks you the questions so you can be prompted about what to answer.
Looking at a photograph album together can be a great way to jog your memory or a parentıs. It will start an older person recounting a family story in some detail The kind of details you can retrieve this way help someones past life come alive as he speaks. Looking at pictures with my mother once, she told me so much about fashion in the 1930s and in wartime. It was fascinating information to a teenager but I never thought of recording it. So often I hear people say, "I wish Iıd asked my mother more questions and kept her answers."
If your parents are alive, have those questions ready when you visit them. Take your tape-recorder along and get the answers, discover more about the family traditions and funny stories. After a family event such as a birthday party, record who was there and some of the things that happened. You wonıt regret it!
Ten years down the road, your family will be so pleased you took the time to do it.
Oral history and story telling are wonderful ways to preserve memories. It happens all the time on radio when a reporter relates a story to bring it alive for us. Now you can do the same thing for your family. Having a recording can also be the incentive to produce a family story as a small book later on. You can include the photos that will bring that story to life for readers, years later. But that is the second step. The first step is to record a story as you or a relative tells it. Spend that time together and you will discover a story to treasure.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane Buttery has recorded six people's life stories as well as her own. She is also a writes of Children's books and does workshops in schools. See her website at http://www.truestorybooks.com