My grandparents passed years ago, and I’m so glad we asked them to sit down and write out some details about their lives while they were still living. Actually, it was my mom’s mother who did most of the writing, as my grandfather didn’t have too much patience for that sort of thing, All the same, knowing the villages where they grew up in Europe, and the details of their immigration experience, and the specific details of their lives in Toronto is an heirloom I have come to cherish.
There are scrapbooks for sale that ask specific questions and walk your grandparents through a series of predetermined questions. These are nice, but it can be even better to make up your own questions and give your grandparents a handmade book.
Another idea is to use an audio recorder to capture a conversation with your grandparents. Hearing their voice years after we’ve spoken can get pretty emotional, but it’s terrific to hear my grandfather interrupting my grandmother. Such a small, funny moment.
Whatever the medium, capturing the story of your grandparents’ lives is a project worth taking on. While they may not seem like the most interesting people in the world, they are a part of your chain that will not be around forever. A little bit of effort today could prove invaluable to you some day down the road. And at the very least, it’ll be their pleasure to have you for an audience.