“because everyone has a story to tell…”
My Nana had a story to tell, but she wasn’t very excited to tell it. When I asked why, she explained that she was taught two life long lessons by her dad:
1) Don’t bring your work problems home, or take your home problems to work; and
2) If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it.
But sometimes just asking the right questions will reveal a whole new world of fond memories and inspiring stories.
For the first several minutes, she is very reserved, and I coax out a few short details:
Her father was a lighthouse inspector.
While they spent much of their time on Staten Island, she and her three siblings got to travel a lot too. “No place exciting – just other lighthouses”, she said.
Her parents were strict disciplinarians and very formal.
Then after a few minutes, she forgets the microphone. Together we peruse shelves and shelves of photo albums. The most beautiful expression rests on her face, and the memories start pouring out…
She chuckles as she tells me that she never saw her parents in their pajamas. They were always fully dressed and ready to be “seen” when they came out from the bedroom with hair coiffed, makeup applied, and shoes polished!
She shares that her parents and siblings always went to church as a family, but it was the drives after church that were the highlight, with a trip to the local dairy for ice cream cones!
She tells of her mother’s legendary cakes and pies that she sold from their home on Staten Island. She was seven when she crawled on the kitchen counter to sample the chocolate cake on top of the ice box — a cake her momma had baked for a paying customer!
She regales me with tales of joyous adventures with my grandad before he lost his sight from diabetes. Dreamily she tells me of how they loved square dancing. She giggles like a school girl when she shares memories of getting so dizzy that she would have to bow out, and my granddad would spend the rest of the night dancing with the caller’s wife!
I’m so blessed that my Nana retained her faculties until her passing at the age of 95. I treasure the time we spent together, and this last “interview” represents why she will always be the inspiration for “My Vintage Lily“.
If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to take the time to ask the questions and enjoy the exceptional little tidbits of your family member’s story!
If a demanding career and family commitments make it prohibitive, we understand! Contact us today for help with creating a treasured memoir carefully compiled from personal interviews, cherished photos, and forgotten letters.