Save Your Own Story

Tue, June 16, 2020 by Jessica

‘So, what was your grandfather like?’

This was the question my son asked me the other day. It’s a good question. The trouble is, I’m struggling to answer it. 

Why? Because my grandfather died when I was a child, in about 1962. Most people who knew him have also passed on. And there are no written descriptions.

Let’s repeat that. No written sources of information. 

He didn’t write about himself, and no one wrote about him. 

This is pretty standard for someone like him – an ‘ordinary’ man born in 1885.

So, I’m struggling to answer my son’s question because I’m relying on my own few memories of him, and my memories of what other folk told me they remembered about him. Now that’s better than nothing.  But it could be better still, couldn’t it?

So, here’s a suggestion for what to do if you are in lockdown with extra time on your hands!

Write some of your own story down, for future generations.

And include as many of your own memories of grandparents (and older?) as you can before they fade away.

Where do I start, you may ask?

My answer is: it doesn’t matter. Start anywhere. Start in the middle, start at the end, start where you like, and jump around as much as you like.

If my mum had written down only 5 scraps of information about my grandfather, it would be 5 more scraps than I have at the moment!

You can write on computer and save it.

You can write by hand and then you or some else could scan it on to a computer, and save it.

These days you don’t even have to write: most computers have an audio recording capacity. You can record your memories on an audio file and save them. You can even video record yourself speaking about your own personal story.

Save the memories! And once they are saved, they can be shared and made available to those who want them, at some point in the future.

Imagine if my son had asked his question and I had said: well, why don’t you go to this Google Drive folder, and look at these four written memoirs of him, plus audios of 3 people talking about him, plus a video of your gran talking about her childhood memories from the 1920s of her dad and what he was like.

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