Of all the things we can leave our children and grandchildren, none compares with family stories that get passed from generation to generation. Thankfully, we live in an age when capturing those memories has never been easier. Using a smartphone, video camera or digital recorder, kids and their parents can sit down with older relatives and record them as they talk about their lives.
If you've never interviewed someone, fear not. Below are some basic questions to get the conversation going. Try conducting the interview when other family members are present, such as at a wedding, reunion or birthday party; the best-told stories are often a group effort. And don't gloss over seemingly trivial details. The more specificity, the better. Future generations will thank you.
- What is your earliest memory?
- Where was your first home? What was it like inside?
- What was the first school you attended? Tell me about a memorable teacher or classmate.
- Did you have pets as a child? What were their names?
- What did your parents do for a living? Did you ever go with them to work?
- What was the most trouble you ever got into as a child? What was your punishment?
- What was your favorite meal as a child?
- What was your first job? How did you get to work? How much did you get paid?
- Did you go on family vacations? Where was the best place you ever visited? How did you get there?
- What was the first car you owned or drove? How much did it cost?
- Do you remember where you were when JFK was shot? When the Berlin Wall came down? When the September 11 attacks happened?
- How did you and Grandma/Grandpa meet? Tell me about your first date.
- Where did you first live together?
- Tell me about your grandparents: Where were they born? What did they do for a living?