The week before my father died, he told stories I had never heard before. He told about families in turmoil from the great depression and he mentioned as a Lt.J.G. watching from the bridge as torpedoes ran silently toward his oil tanker in the South Pacific during World War II. He told me about renting a room frrom his cheap aunt and attending high school on his own. He talked about sweeping and cleaning storefronts every evening, and delivering newspapers every morning, just to pay for food and rent as a young teenager until he graduated. A treat for breakfast was a glass of milk with stale bread, a little sugar, and any fruit he could find. Luckily, I had my video camera recording.
Last Friday I met an old friend for coffee in Old Town Tacoma. I noted his proud veteran baseball cap. He mentioned his wife had given him one a few years back and then bought him this new one. He served in the navy during the Vietnam War supplying U.S. Marines along the river banks, but never really talked about it before. He has been under treatment for a skin problem that his doctor verifies is a result of close association with Agent Orange. He mentioned the problem to his grown children and they just looked at him and said, “Dad, you’ve never talked to us about Vietnam.”
Shared memories and shared experiences can inspire friends and relatives. Remaining silent means that events and connections to the past are lost. Everyone has a story they can tell about their family history; about the business they started; about their achievements; their community; their younger days, and about their failures and successes.
You can record your own history or record other members of your family . . . or friends. I have compiled a list of questions to help others who aren’t sure where to start. You can download the .pdf file for free. – pnwvideo.com/Reflections.html
If you want a professional recording, that can be done for you, complete with microphones, quality video, and a transcription of the entire recording. With today’s technology you can have a video and a Word document on a small thumb drive. Copies are easy to make and even more easily shared. Please, don’t let memories fade and disappear. Your children and grandchildren want to know you better. Your past is their link with history.