During the reunion my aunts were looking at a photo album and reminiscing about some events that took place in their teen years. One of them told the other “a story I’ve never told before”, a confession of sorts, about how a borrowed dress ended up with a hole in it. We all laughed at the telling and then enjoyed other stories prompted by the photos. But I found myself wondering how many other wonderful stories of their lives were left untold. They grew up in a time when events weren’t tweeted and published and photographed and shared just moments after they occurred. And there was more of a reluctance to admit and share any action that was mischievous or devious. It seems that nothing is concealed anymore.
Oh, I suppose that even now there must be some things we wouldn’t tell just anybody, secrets that will go with us to the grave. I have a few and I’m sure my aunts do too. But I am going to encourage them and you too, to tell a few stories that would entertain and enlighten future generations. Here are some questions to get you started.
- Where did the family live when you were born? How long did you live there? Does the house still exist? What specific memories do you have of the house or furniture?
- What is the first Christmas that you remember? Why do you remember that one?
- Who was your best friend in high school? Why? When did you meet?
- How and why did you get your first job?
- How did you meet your spouse? When did you know he/she was “the one”?
- What was your nickname when you were a child? Who gave it to you? Why?
- Who was your favorite relative when you were ten years old? Why?
- Who was your favorite teacher? Why?
- What was your first pet? Favorite? What happened to it?
- Where did your family go for vacations? Which was your favorite trip?
I could go on and on with a hundred questions, but once you get started you probably won’t have to be prompted. Another good trick for eliciting memories is to take your ten favorite photos and explain them in detail. No matter how you do it, write your stories down and give them to your family.