Your grandchildren need to read the book of you

Author Thomas Cirignano maintains that “each of us is a book waiting to be written.” He adds that the book will result “in a person explained.” Your children and grandchildren may think they have a full explanation of who you are. But, without your memoirs, they will never understand the experiences that have shaped the person they think they know. Until you record the forces that created present-day you, your family will only have a partial picture of the family member they love. Your memoirs should be recorded—not necessarily for publication, but rather—so your loved ones will have a tangible record to

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Oral History Interview Questions for Holiday Gatherings

Oral History Interview Questions for Christmas Gatherings

One of the greatest legacies you can give your family is an oral history of your life.  This is a priceless gift that only requires your time and some readily available technology.   Below is a list of interview questions I used when taking the oral history of my grandparents on their 70th wedding anniversary.   You can make this a fun part of your family celebration.  There are many fun ways to record life memories. Ask a family members record each answer on their phone.   Later it can be transcribed on paper.  However, it's the original recordings with your

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Memories of Mothers Washday

Memories of Mother's Washday

No wonder it was called ‘washday’, because as far back as I can remember in the late 1940s and 1950s, it literally took up to a full day to complete the family weekly wash. Memories of Mother's Washday At our house in rural Cheshire, washday was traditionally a Monday, never ever on a Sunday, and never ever, on a bank holiday Monday. The washday began early, with my mother, Lucy Amelia Pownall, lighting the boiler, located  in the far corner of our kitchen. She didn’t use firelighters, rather a piece of screwed up old newspaper, a few sticks of wood,

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Memories of Mother's Wartime Kitchen

Memories of Mothers Wartime Kitchen

My memories of Mothers kitchen go back to the late 1940s when the Pownall family resided at 3 Penn Bridge, Bosley, which is a small rural village, located in Cheshire, England. Our house was one of five local authority owned properties that had been built during WW2, circa 1940. The house comprised two rooms on the ground floor level, one being a living room, and the other was the kitchen. For some reason, this type of property generally occupied by the working class population, generally referred to the kitchen as the ‘back kitchen’. I don’t know the rationale behind this

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Writing the Best Obituary

Writing the Best Obituary

“All the dates and degrees and statistics don’t matter," she said. “What matters is the life itself.”  “How so?” “Well, I always began by asking, ‘Tell me about your loved one.’ Eventually, we always got the truth.” Writing the Best Obituary This passage was written by Ann Hood, author of “The Obituary Writer” an empathetic story of love and loss, human nature, and eventual death. Writing the Best Obituary Writing an obituary is one of the most difficult, yet important tasks to attend to after the death of a loved one. Choosing the appropriate words and articulating the final “send off” to celebrate the

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Recording Life Memories

Recording Life Memories for your Family: [caption id="attachment_85608" align="alignright" width="300"] Carr Family Wedding 1930[/caption] I treasure recording the life memories of my grandparents who were married 70 years.   My cousin and I made a list of questions for Lucile and Richard Carr, who were born in 2014.  They sat side-by-side on a couch finishing each other's sentences and laughing at stories not often shared.   I am grateful we took this oral history 10 years ago.  Today it's a gift to share their stories in their own voices with my children. Recording Life Memories for your Family As a senior, here are some ideas to

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