Tuesday, November 24, 2009

National Day of Listening

Celebrate the National Day of Listening
This coming Friday, November 27th is the annual National Day of Listening. From the website,
On the day after Thanksgiving, set aside one hour to record a conversation with someone important to you. You can interview anyone you choose: an older relative, a friend, a teacher, or someone from the neighborhood.

You can preserve the interview using recording equipment readily available in most homes, such as cell phones, tape recorders, computers, or even pen and paper. Our free Do-It-Yourself Instruction Guide is easy to use and will prepare you and your interview partner to record a memorable conversation, no matter which recording method you choose.

Make a yearly tradition of listening to and preserving a loved one’s story. The stories you collect will become treasured keepsakes that grow more valuable with each passing generation.

At the National Day of Listening website, you can listen to other people's stories and even share your own.

I have to admit that I've never done this, although my mom has. Mom used to tape record a lot of the conversations she and Nana had and she'd ask Nana questions about her childhood in Mississippi, her life with my grandfather Jesse Paulk, and many other things. Nana would tell her stories of going fishing for catfish, making her own clothes, baking pies, and many other things.

For my birthday this year, I asked Mom to tape record a conversation with Nana and send it to me. It proved to be one of the last conversations Nana would have and five months later, I still can't bring myself to listen to the tape. I will always treasure this tape and will eventually listen to it.

I guarantee that you won't find anything in all the Black Friday sales nearly as meaningful as the bonds you'll form by participating in the National Day of Listening. An oral history is the gift that will keep giving for generations to come.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that oral histories are very important. I love this whole idea of promoting the preservation of stories! I always used to love listening to my grandfather's stories about his childhood with his younger brother Fidel (my Great-Uncle "Chino"), his service in the Army, what my mom and uncles did when they were young, the day he first met me as a baby . . . so many gems. He was such a wonderful storyteller.

    I never had the opportunity to record any of his memories on tape (or video), in his voice. However, I do have a copy of his WWII memoirs, as well as a few short stories of his adventures with his brother. And I remember a lot of stories he told me from memory that never made it to the printed page. I try to tell one every so often to my 3 year old, Olivia, so that she learns about all these wonderful adventures.

    So all of these stories, like your Nana's tape recording, your mom's conversations with her, my grandfather, Sir Rafa's memories . . . it's the passing of the torch to the next generation of storytellers. Absolute treasures.


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