Sunday, March 11, 2012

Carpe Diem 14

Sorry this post is a day late.  I was so busy seizing the day yesterday :)

My husband and I went to visit my parents who live 2 hours north from us.  It wasn't seizing the day in the sense of being spontaneous, but it was seizing the day in the sense of taking advantage of and opportunity while it exists and not procrastinating something important.

For the past two years I've been working with my Dad to record his personal history.  At first it started with me just being interested and asking him some general questions about his life.  From there it bloomed into a defined project of recording interviews with him and scanning his photographs.  Eventually, it will be polished up and published in a book, like one from  It's been a long process with both of our busy schedules and him being able to come down and spend a few hours with me, or me being able to make it up there for a few hours.

In January I finished transcribing and compiling the data from our last interview and was ready to schedule our next one.  This time I wanted to get the story of my parents meeting, falling in love, and marrying.  So, I made plans to drive up with my husband to my parents' house to interview them together.  It just happened to turn out that the Saturday we were planning to head up was the same Saturday of Chris Rudolph's memorial service.  I ended up rescheduling with my parents so I could attend the memorial.  It was tricky because both my parents and we have pretty busy schedules, but we figured out a Saturday the next month that would work for everyone.

The day before we headed up I was thinking how neat it would be to not only audio record the interview like I usually do, but to video record it as well.  Unfortunately, I don't have a dedicated camcorder.  My siblings in the area do, but I didn't really think about doing this until the day before.  So, I tried to figure out what else I could do.  I have an iPhone that will record in high resolution, so I figured that might just work.  And it did!  We were all surprised at how great it looked when we watched a sample of it later.

I had a great time hearing them reminisce and hearing some of the same stories, but then hearing lots of new ones too.  My Mom even said she learned some new things from my Dad that she hadn't heard in the 50 years they've been together!

I treasured the moment and the experience.  I know the video is going to be something that I, and the rest of my family, will be able to treasure.  My parents will not be around forever (I know this on an intellectual level, but have not yet comprehended it on an emotional one) and there will be a time when I won't be able to go to them to ask.  So, I have to seize opportunities now and not procrastinate.

So, in parting, that's my advice to you.  Don't procrastinate.  Ask your parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, or family friends about their history.  Don't wait for them to volunteer (some never will, thinking there's nothing interesting to tell).  But, oh!  There's such a wealth of information there to be found.  Stories yet to be told.  And you'll never know until you ask!

1 comment:

Ali S. said...

Hi Erin,
I recently lost my mother-in-law so when I saw your carpe diem post on fb I wondered what it was all about. I'm so inspired by your challenge to yourself--I have no doubt it will help you heal from losing your friend. And I'm so impressed by what you just did to record your parents' history. We wish we had done that with my mother-in-law. You and your family will cherish your efforts--for generations to come!
-Ali (Flett) Sorensen