WOW!! You hit the nail on the head! So very many wonderful stories my dad and his sisters used to tell, over and over, at family gatherings (an we all lived within an hour of each other!)..and yet, it never occurred to me in my young years that they’d be gone someday, and that I should be at the very least, writing it all down.
No, I did not get it on tape….only a brief segment with my mom, as part of a family history as a hobby segment I did on a TV show I used to host…and nothing there I did not know–shame on me!
Your post really struck a nerve and a chord. All I have left of my dad’s wonderful stories are poems I’ve written, in first-person voice, but they are second-hand stories from only my own memory. Sigh.
Thanks so much for commenting so quickly on my blog. I only posted it last night, so I think that’s the quickest comment I’ve ever received. Moving up in the world of blogging
I can really relate to what you shared. Despite interviewing my family members for the past 10 years, I’ve stilled missed my opportunities. A very sore point for me is that I didn’t interview my daughter’s grandmother (my mother-in-law at the time) before she passed away. Now there is barely anything other than photos (and not many of them) to remember my vibrant, very talkative mother-in-law. And my daughter didn’t know her as she was 9 months old when Cynthia died, so it’s so sad for her to only have her Mama described to her (or I think so!).
But don’t get down on yourself too much either. It’s really quite a new thing for people to record their loved ones’ stories. I’m just trying to alter that view-point – ie that every person realises their story is valuable and it’s just natural to record it! And if you have even a brief segment recorded of your Mom, then that’s way better than nothing.
I also think there is still definitely great value in second-hand stories. They’re not as captivating as first-person accounts, but still very valuable. What I actually do these days when I’m interviewing people who knew my Pop or other people I didn’t get to interview, is I ask them what their recollections of these people are. I plan to cut those pieces out and do a tribute-type video of my Pop, my mother-in-law (No.1), and other people who aren’t with us anymore. The other day with Keith, he gave a beautiful, emotion description of my Pop and his friendship with him. It was a real gem! So collecting second-hand stories is still an option for you. (And I’m sure your poems based on your Dad’s stories capture ‘him’ quite beautifully!)
And guess what? I have a feeling you have other family members and friends all around you who you could record the stories of. So, yes, you missed some opportunities with some very close family members, but there’s still plenty of opportunities out there. So go get ‘em!!
Thanks so much Susan. It’s great to hear from fellow oral historians – and to get such positive feedback. I’m hoping that soon everyone will want their own personal video biographies, which will mean all those wonderful stories captured forever – and my business taking off like a rocket!!:-)