Friday, July 2, 2010
Well, the year is half over! I have at least started the last of my goals I set for 2010. That is a first for me. How are you doing? My last two goals were to read Bleak House by Charles Dickens and to start writing my personal history.
I chose Dickens because I read a BBC list of one hundred books of which most people would only read six. I have read thirty-nine of them Most of them are Classics, and I decided I needed to upgrade my reading habits.
My second goal was harder. How do you sit down and start writing about your life? I’ve been to several funerals over the past few years where children have read out of their parent’s journals. What will my children know of my life? Not much from my journal. So many times since my mother’s passing I have wished I had asked questions when I still had time. My sister and some of my nieces have been trying to interview my ninety five year old dad to find out about his life.
One story that he told about his first job was amazing and interesting to me. A neighbor lady came over to see if anyone could climb up in her cherry tree to harvest the cherries. Every one else was off in the fields and neighboring farms gathering crops. My dad said that he could do it, so she hired him. He was five.
Looking around on the Internet I discovered a list of fifty questions that can be used to interview a family member to help them gather their history. I have started answering one question a day for my own history. The questions are below in case you want to start writing your own history.
Last time I was back in New Mexico, my sister gave me a set of photographs, which she had found at my Dad’s and copied for me. Some were to frame and make a five-generation picture of the important women in my life. It starts with my daughter, then me, my mother, grandmother and my great grandmother. There was also a brief history of my great grandmother, printed in the Provo Herald as she approached her hundredth birthday. How I wish I knew more about her.
Other photos were of my dad’s parents, and brother’s, which I will either put into a scrapbook or a collage frame.
I have also enjoyed over the last two years connecting again with my cousins. There are still more who I have never interacted with and I am looking forward to getting to know them too.
I can feel the promise of Malachi 4:6 “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
As we think this month about strengthening our families and homes, what better way is there than to get to know them better?
1. What is your full name? Why were you named this? Did you have a nickname?
2. When and where were you born?
3. How did your family come to live there?
4. Were there other family members in the area? Who?
5. What was the house (apartment, farm, etc.) like? How many rooms? Bathrooms? Did it have electricity? Indoor plumbing? Telephones?
6. Were there any special items in the house that you remember?
7. What is your earliest childhood memory?
8. Describe the personalities of your family members.
9. What kind of games did you play growing up?
10. What was your favorite toy and why?
11. What was your favorite thing to do for fun (movies, beach, etc.)?
12. Did you have family chores? What were they? Which was your least favorite?
13. Did you receive an allowance? How much? Did you save your money or spend it?
14. What was school like for you as a child? What were your best and worst subjects? Where did you attend grade school? High school? College?
15. What school activities and sports did you participate in?
16. Do you remember any fads from your youth? Popular hairstyles? Clothes?
17. Who were your childhood heroes?
18. What were your favorite songs and music?
19. Did you have any pets? If so, what kind and what were their names?
20. What was your religion growing up? What church, if any, did you attend?
21. Were you ever mentioned in a newspaper?
22. Who were your friends when you were growing up?
23. What world events had the most impact on you while you were growing up? Did any of them personally affect your family?
24. Describe a typical family dinner. Did you all eat together as a family? Who did the cooking? What were your favorite foods?
25. How were holidays (birthdays, Christmas, etc.) celebrated in your family? Did your family have special traditions?
26. How is the world today different from what it was like when you were a child?
27. Who was the oldest relative you remember as a child? What do you remember about them?
28. What do you know about your family surname?
29. Is there a naming tradition in your family, such as always giving the firstborn son the name of his paternal grandfather?
30. What stories have come down to you about your parents? Grandparents? More distant ancestors?
31. Are there any stories about famous or infamous relatives in your family?
32. Have any recipes been passed down to you from family members?
33. Are there any physical characteristics that run in your family?
34. Are there any special heirlooms, photos, bibles or other memorabilia that have been passed down in your family?
35. What was the full name of your spouse? Siblings? Parents?
36. When and how did you meet your spouse? What did you do on dates?
37. What was it like when you proposed (or were proposed to)? Where and when did it happen? How did you feel?
38. Where and when did you get married?
39. What memory stands out the most from your wedding day?
40. How would you describe your spouse? What do (did) you admire most about them?
41. What do you believe is the key to a successful marriage?
42. How did you find out your were going to be a parent for the first time?
43. Why did you choose your children's names?
44. What was your proudest moment as a parent?
45. What did your family enjoy doing together?
46. What was your profession and how did you choose it?
47. If you could have had any other profession what would it have been? Why wasn't it your first choice?
48. Of all the things you learned from your parents, which do you feel was the most valuable?
49. What accomplishments were you the most proud of?
50. What is the one thing you most want people to remember about you?