I started a project this week that I have had in mind for some time. I called my Grandma to ask her questions and record her stories. But let me back up.
A couple years ago Grandma sat down out on her deck with a tape recorder and spent some time sharing her memories and a bit of family history. After filling up the time, she went into the house only to discover that the soft breeze she had been enjoying outside sounded like a loud roaring on the tape. Her voice couldn't even be heard, and she gave up on the project.
Fast forward to last fall, when we visited Grandma. She is very hard of hearing these days and her vision is getting worse and worse. But I did realize that she could hear pretty well over the phone. It was then that I developed my idea to call and record some chats with her, in order to preserve her stories and pick her brain. My husband and I bought a little device at Radio Shack that hooks from the phone line into the computer, and I set up a time to call Grandma.
(This is a picture of me with my Grandma and Grandpa, taken about 1977, when I was about 10 years old.)
What a great experience. I am so thankful she is willing to indulge me in this endeavor. For an hour she told me stories, some clear and some hazy memories. Our main focus was on her dad and his boyhood growing up in Sweden. She started of with names and dates, and I soon told her we have all those things. I want to know what his personality was like. What his family was like. And what characteristics may have been handed down to me and my children.
Grandma also spoke a little about her childhood in Salt Lake City. A few things I did not know-
Grandma spoke only Swedish as a girl. She remembers going to her first day of kindergarten and not knowing any English. She remembers her Father kindly leaning over against the piano where her teacher was seated to introduce her.
My name, Lynnae, is an Americanized version of her name Linnea. What I did not know was that she was named after her father's little sister who died in childhood.
Great Grandma and Grandpa went back to Sweden for three months for their 25th wedding anniversary. They also took Grandma's younger brother, but Grandma was a young wife at the time, pregnant and unable to go. So they gave her a car.
That's just the tip of the iceberg, and it was only our first phone call. I am really looking forward to next week. I would recommend this project to anyone as a great way to do family history.