- Questions you wish you’d asked your parents/grandparents?
I gave a lovely leather bound handmade notepad to my grandpa with the hope that he would write down a sort of journal of his life – he was born in 1921 so has seen his fair share. Unfortunately he has developed pretty bad arthritis in his hands and his feet which means he can barely write a cheque let alone a journal. So I am hopefully going to borrow some studio equipment from a mate and record several “interviews” with him.
So are there any questions you guys wish/have asked your parents or grandparents?
ThanksPosted 9 years agoskidartistMember
Look for something that will turn into a good yarn – ask him what the naughtiest thing he ever did was – or the most trouble he ever got into. Could be quite funny, but it can reveal a lot about how things used to work too.
When my granddad was a kid he used to have a job cleaning out and lighting the fryers in the local chippy before he went to school, back when the fryers were coal/wood fired. Anyway, he was arsing about and inadvertently burned the chipshop down to the ground.
The whole thing ended up going to court, the chippy wasn’t insured (and I guess in those days you wouldn’t expect it to be) and my great grandmother was deemed to be liable for her sons actions, and of course she wouldn’t have had public liability insurance, so to compensate the chipshop owner she was sentenced to cook the guy his supper for the rest of his life.
If you are doing recordings you’ll find that its worth doing a few of them over a period of time, partly to get him comfortable with being recorded, but also stories are better than answers to questions, so its worth revising anecdotes as they’ll be likely to told better second time round, but you might also find new tangents and diversions when you go over old ground. You want to arrive at a point where you hardly say anything and the stories tell themselves.Posted 9 years agotailsMember
Not so much a question but I’d love to trace round the outline of his hands as I remember them being huge. I would like to compare them to my hands as an adult. I’m so sure his hands were SUPER big. ahhh the things I’d give up for one more summer evening in the back garden with granddad.Posted 9 years ago
My Grandmother died in 1981, when I was 10, so though I remember her, I knew very little about her. Towards the end of last year my cousin came to stay, and with her a photocopied and bound copy of my grandmothers memoirs. I have known she had written it for years, but has always been kept as something of a family treasure, and I never got the chance to read it during hectic family get togethers.
She was born in 1895, and to suddenly have such a close insight to losing close family members to the first war brought home the terror that that war was. For me the most moving part was the stuff written about my mother and my aunt. Mum died in 1992 so to read a Mothers perspective on my mum was very special to me, giving me greater confidence in my own memories of my mum, but also a new respect for how she handled problems I never knew she faced.
So what I am trying to say is DO IT! but ask questions to which you already know the answers, the recordings will not just be for you, but also your kids. I suggest you sit down with him some time before you do the recordings and ask him what he wants to talk about, and what he thinks are the interesting parts of his life.Posted 9 years agomrsflashMember
For me the most moving part was the stuff written about my mother and my aunt. Mum died in 1992 so to read a Mothers perspective on my mum was very special to me, giving me greater confidence in my own memories of my mum, but also a new respect for how she handled problems I never knew she faced.
that must have been amazing. My mum died when I was 7 and my grandmother and I never really talked about her, now it’s too late and i so wish we had.
in answer to the OP I think I’d start off with a few basic questions and see where it takes you from there and just record whole conversations.Posted 9 years agoMidnighthourMember
Ask about daily life – household chores, having a bath, daily transport, the coming in of new inventions and what they thought about them. My family can remember the installation of both gas and electricity (they were very poor) and shopping on Sat nights to get reduced price food. Seeing a car was a big deal as it was still mainly horsedrawn. Ask about weddings and funerals. My lot can remember corpses laid out in the living room for days! Yuk!
Might be worth you looking through a few history books – stuff like ‘the victorian house’ or the Edwardian period as they mention everyday life and it might trigger ideas of your own. Ask about stories his parents told him. Get the family photo albmum labled up, nothing worse than a load of people who might be Aunty Joan, or might not be…
Have fun!Posted 9 years ago
mrsflash, yes very special indeed. A gift that my Grandmother had no idea she was giving me, it was my now 86year old (and amazing) Aunt who gave my grandmother the first journal to write in for Christmas in 1976 the last entry was only a couple of months before she died.
Albanach, what you are doing will not only be special to you, and I think its something we should all do.Posted 9 years agocoffeekingMember
Ask him about climate change
Interesting that, I DID ask my grandad about it in passing conversation – his comment was that they used to have proper extremes of weather (hot summers, cold winters and serious rain in between) and that now we get a boring mash of everything together, no extremes. Not sure how that sits with the meteorologists who seem to suggest we are getting more extremes these days. Certainly I remember hotter summers and colder winters than we have now, and frequent torrential downpours like ive never seen since, but my lifetime isnt that long so not really representative.Posted 9 years agoBunnyhopSubscriber
mrsflash – that is so sad. You must find it difficult to have many memories of her.
I vaguely remember being 7 years of age, but only seeing members of my family through images, not things that we did.
Family is so important. Reading some of the above posts makes this even more so i.m.o.Posted 9 years ago
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