What a lovely way to give an elderly person something to look forward to – and perhaps even a reason for getting up in the morning. This would be especially true for someone whose children are too busy to spend much time with him or her, and are too wrapped up in the concerns of today to seek out tales of the distant past.
It would be easy enough to come up with a list of starter questions: Where were you born, when, and to whom? Did you have siblings? Were your grandparents alive? What chores did you have as a child? What games did you play? Did you go to church? What did your dad do for a living? Did you enjoy reading? Were any of your loved ones in the World War II? And so on and so forth.
Then, with the interview process underway, you’d be sure to stumble across subjects lending themselves to deeper exploration.
To capture the information, you could simply take notes. Or you could record your sessions for later transcription. Then, armed with a basic outline, you'd simply plug in the appropriate information, and turn the result into prose. In fact, such a story should practically write itself!
The finished product could take the form of a plain old Word document or a simple booklet. Or something more elaborate might be warranted, such as a custom-made book produced through a service like Shutterfly – especially if old photos are available.
I’ve often thought of taking on this task myself. Alas, I’m already pretty tapped out with my current nursing-home activities; at the moment, there’s no room on my To Do list. But one of these years, Lord willing, I’ll give it a shot.
I can’t think of a better way to spend time than chatting with someone who’s lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the restoration of the nation of Israel, Korea and Vietnam, JFK and Nixon, the cultural revolution and Oil Crisis, and countless other events that their grandkids may not even read about in today’s history books -- and then producing a document that these grandkids will one day read with great interest, and perhaps a better understanding of what made the greatest generation so great.