Last week I took a few vacation days. During my time away from the office, I spent some time with my mom and in-laws. For years I had asked my parents and in-laws to record stories about their life so my children would have the benefits of knowing about their ancestors. My dad died four years ago without recording a single story.
So last week I started bugging my mom and in-laws to tell me stories about their life and about what they could remember about their parents and grandparents. The conversations started slowly and then the dyke broke loose and the stories started rolling off their tongue. It was so fun and interesting to hear my 89-year old mom tell very detailed stories and see her eyes light up. You could just see her as 18-year old puling pranks on her mom. My 85-year old father-in-law, after about a two hour session, told me that talking about his past made him feel like he was a teenager again.
While I had heard some of these stories before, it was so much fun seeing them so animated. Needless to say I am going to keep bugging my family for more stories. I have a feeling it will not be as hard to get them tell me more of their family and personal stories now. It is amazing what we can learn if we simply show interest and listen.