For my dad’s 75th birthday a few years ago, the family celebrated by going away to a hotel in Pennsylvania for a weekend filled with fun, food, family and…did I mention food?
We thought that a great way to stamp the event in our memory would be to videotape my mom and dad talking about their lives so we could have an oral history. Sure, they were healthy and happy now, which is why we wanted to tape them now, as they were. Nobody knows the cards that life will deal you. Nobody knew that a year later my dad would fall while bowling and break his hip, and after two surgeries recover, but without the same stride or vigor he had before the accident.
So, how did we do it? As a writer and a journalist, and designated interviewer, my task was to create a script of questions that I asked my parents. My questions covered the gamut from their birth, early days growing up, how they met, their marriage, kids, their plans for the future, advice for future generations and what they feel is their legacy.
My brother in-law, David Margolis, videotaped them with a camera on a tripod and edited the film down from four hours to a little over two hours.
I think getting an oral history of your parents or grandparents is a wonderful way to capture a moment in time for all eternity that you can share with your family now and for generations to come. Each time I watch the video, I’m glad we did it.
Have you thought about capturing your parents’ or grandparents’ oral history on video? If so, how did it turn out?