This past weekend I took Phoebe to meet her Great Grandmother in Chicago.
I sat next to a lovely woman on the plane who was on her way to celebrate her sister’s 60th birthday. When I told her I was taking Phoebe to meet my Grandma she said “take lots of pictures”. (I politely said I would, thinking to myself ‘of course I’m going to take pictures’) She also said to take video. My interest in what she was saying came up a bit. I found out that she works as a life stories historian. She creates videos of elders talking about their life and personal experiences and compiles them for the family to keep. Click here for her website Currently she is working on a project where she is interviewing 20 nuns about their relationship with God.
Meeting this woman on the plane made my visit with my grandma that much more special. I made a point to ask her about parts of her life I had never heard before. What did she do during the years between her first arrival to the US after the war from London and when she first had my mom in 1954? She was a working girl in Washington DC. She edited photos for National Geographic. Why did she wait to start a family? (she didn’t answer that one!!) What did she do for fun, did she travel during those years? It was wonderful to hear what she had to say.
Often elderly people can be ignored. Sit all by themselves with people just walking by them. But the riches that are sitting there could astound you if you just stopped and talked to them for a while.