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For the past year of the pandemic, my sister and I have assisted in the care of my 89-year-old mom and her sister, my 92-year-old aunt. While we are sad that at this stage in their lives, they are missing out on seeing all of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, there have been some memorable moments. They shared a piece of the past with us, recalling childhood moments.
Consider this? They were born in 1928 and 1925 respectively and have witnessed so much history. From the Great Depression to many wars, from the first American satellite launch to Rev Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech “I Have A Dream,” from President Kennedy’s assassination to the first humans on the moon. They have lived through 17 different presidents.
They are one of five sisters born to one set of parents. The stories they tell sometimes differ and serve as fodder for those of us listening attentively. Personally, it is a genuine privilege to be able to listen to their recollections. And, many times, it is hysterical when they bicker over how a shared experience actually happened.
For this reason, when it came to the holidays, we gifted my mom a Story Worth subscription. The package includes a year’s worth of story prompts. At the end of the year, the stories and photographs she shares will be turned into a hardcover book. Each Monday, my mom receives an email with that week’s prompt. We can change the prompt or even write our own. Some of the prompts include:
- What Were Your Grandparents Like?
- How Did You Decide to Get Married
- What Was Your Mom Like When You Were a Child?
- What Was Your Dad Like When You Were a Child?
- What Was it Like Goring Up in a Religious Household?
- Are You More Like Your Father or Mother? In What Ways/
- What Was Your First Big Trip?
- Where Did You Go On Vacation As A Child?
- How Did You Get Your First Job?
- What Was Your Parent’s Relationship Like?
- Who Are the Best Cooks in your Family?
Family Stories Shared With Future Generations
Another positive to this subscription is that while my sisters and I may have some recollection of our mother and aunt’s past, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to learn of their family’s history. Equally as appealing is getting a better understanding of what their childhood and parents were like especially since I did not know my grandparents very well. For instance, my grandfather owned a grocery store which eventually went out of business during the Great Depression. My mom never mentioned that before.
Additionally, my mom and aunt have shared what a progressive woman my grandmother was. She loved to work and had an entrepreneurial spirit. At the time, women did not work because their husbands were viewed negatively if they could not support their families on their own. However, my grandmother was very determined and eventually, my grandfather did buy a smelly, messy fish store for her. His belief was she would never be able to handle the odor and would give up and that would end her desire to work. In actuality, my grandmother cleaned the store and turned it into a successful business.
Hearing stories like these are so fascinating. And, there have been many, many stories shared this past year that give me a glimpse into a piece of the past.
How Will Future Generations Learn About The Pandemic?
I often wonder how, in 10, 20 50 years from now, future generations will learn about how the pandemic impacted our lives. The stories will be different for each of us. It will be fascinating to have a historical record. With this in mind, we will have one of the ending questions address the pandemic.
As a writer, I love listening to and reading non-fictional stories. When it provides a piece of my family’s past, it is even more fascinating. It gives me a better understanding of my mom’s parenting approach and explains how she became the woman she is today.
If you are looking for a gift that is priceless, I definitely recommend StoryWorth. The results will provide you with a piece of the past that you may not have been familiar with. Or, you can do it on your own and make your own book. Because, as I have learned, life is short, and discovering your family story is priceless.