Family History Writing Autobiography

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

oral history recording projects
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 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 (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 them.

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 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 going.

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!

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