Thursday, December 7, 2017

Tweaking Your Memory Bank

I love "fill in the blank" things.

I have many types of blank books with questions, handouts about doing oral interviews, and personal histories.

And, I love all of the formats.  Every single one of them.

I was speaking at a conference somewhere in the United States this past year.  It always feels good to stop by the FamilySearch booth and get my "fix".  

And, they always have freebies!!!  They have great freebies!  Anywhere I have ever been, they have freebies!

Wherever this conference was that I'm talking about, I noticed that FamilySearch that these cute little packaged cards they were passing out.
The cute little packeted cards from FamilySearch

As much as I wanted to, I waited until I returned home before I opened them up.

Can't you just feel the wheels turning in your head as you begin to recall those memories?  I sure can!

I have recently been posting a lot about our own personal histories. 
Here is one from yesterday:

And, another one from November:

 There are several reasons why.

1.  My parents' writings and belongings went up in smoke in a house fire after mom's death.  I still have flashbacks of the things that were lost 32 years ago.  I wish I could remember some of them well enough to at least describe them, since I have no photos.

2.  I believe in having several different mediums of our personal history.  Mr. Kerry and I have video and audio recordings of interviews with our fathers, and Kerry has a small amount of his dad's writings.

3.  As a Family History Center Director, I run across many patrons who would give anything to have personal recollections from their ancestors, and particularly their own parents.

Back in 1994, a young couple visited the FHC for a specific reason.  They had an aunt in southern Ohio they felt they should interview, and came to ask me how they should go about it.  This woman was as sharp as a tack, and they wanted to take advantage of her good mind and good physical condition before something happened.

I had some physical suggestions:

  • Let's come up with about ten questions so you can send them to her, and let her mind start thinking.
  • Ask her if it's alright to record her.
    • Have a small cassette recorder off to the side.
    • Have a camcorder set up off to the side with perhaps a towel covering part of it so she won't get nervous.
    • Try to keep her on task, but also let her ramble.
This was just prior to Thanksgiving, when they planned to make the visit.

They returned after the first of the year, and I was so excited to see them and ask how it went.

Their faces fell, and I thought the worst.  I asked them, "Did she die?"

No, she had suffered a stroke, and could no longer speak.  All of that information was stored in her mind, and she couldn't get it out or even write it down.

She was 94 years old, and lived ten more years.

Ten more years with those memories still inside her.

None of us knows when we may have a similar situation occur with family members, or with our own selves.

So, there's no time like the present!
  • Write your memories in a book.
  • Buy a fill-in-the-blank book.
  • Load the memories up on to FamilySearch.
And, don't wait until next month, next year, or later when I have some time.

Just do it!

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