Oral History Recording Made Easy, Despite The Miles Between Us
Despite living thousands of miles apart, last weekend I deliberately
got together with my two brothers and sister via a two hour phone call
to reminisce a little.
The emphasis of the conversation was on our growing up years
and our memories involving mom and dad, in particular.
We plan to burn the conversation to CD and give it to our
parents as a gift. Our parents are well-to-do and could
buy just about anything they really wanted to buy.
So this gift is something that we think they'll appreciate
and it is something that they couldn't just go out and buy!
I initiated this and I had two goals
Goal 1: Re-connect With My Brothers and Sister
We've always been a close-knit family, but it is hard when
you live so far apart and are busy raising families of our own.
I can't remember the last time all four of us have been
in the same place at the same time....to talk. It just
hardly ever happens.
I venture to guess that the four of us have been together
in the same location, only twice in the last 15 years.
Careers and long distances can do that to people.
Goal 2: Record and Burn to CD our Conversation
and Give it as a Gift
to our Parents
It was easy to do and I only wish that I had come up with
the idea sooner.
Here is how I technically put it together.
To talk together I used www.Skype.com (Internet phone) to make
the conference call possible. It wasn't technically challenging
and the two hour call cost me nothing, except for the $2.99 per
month, that I pay.
Side note: I used my computer to make the call, but my brothers and
sisters received the calls on their regular home phones. No expense
To record the call? I used a service that I recently discovered
called Life on Record. It costs as little as $9.99 a month
for unlimited recording! After the call, a simple click of
a button, downloaded the recording to my free iTunes account!
The time spent talking was such fun! I had a great time. I
knew I would, but I was especially happy with the great
feedback that I received from my siblings. I was a little
worried....one never knows!
I think I may have "started" something. We talked of plans
to do this on a regular basis! Maybe a new family tradition?
Also, as I had hoped, I learned things that I didn't previously
know and heard stories that I hadn't previously heard.
Even though we grow up together, isn't it amazing how perspective
can be so different?
Sparking The Memories Easily
Oh, one other thing that we did to get the memories rolling...
I told each of my siblings to be in front of their computers
during the call, because I had some pictures to show them.
I used Acrobat Connect Now so that my siblings
could see my computer screen. This allowed me to show
these old pictures (of us as kids) to my siblings.
They hadn't seen some of these family photos in 20 years or more. Adobe Connect Now is free,
it isn't the only web conferencing solution. There are others, such as Go To Meeting.
The pictures were from scan's of mom and dad's old 35mm slides
taken when we were kids.
I had some memory-sparking questions ready, and we did
use them, but the pictures really got the conversation
My near future plans include recording my parent's memories
and getting my 85 year old grandma to talk about her childhood
and about my dad, when he was a boy!
So, despite the thousands of miles that separate us, these
free and near free services made it as if the four of us
were sitting in the same room together...reminiscing, looking
at old photos and enjoying each others company.
Today's technology is great. It helps us stay in touch and
keep memories alive, no matter how far apart modern life
takes us.....and that is important!