My husband and I went to visit his 93-year-old grandma (and some other friendly Boerners) in Augusta, Georgia. Among watching the Rose Bowl Parade, eating Klondike bars, fishing, eating Klondike bars, laminating grandma's worn-and-torn college degree, and eating Klondike bars, we went to a 2nd & Charles store where the picture above was taken.
Here’s the dialogue:
A: “What are you looking for, Grandma?”
G: “There’s a book I want you to read by Maeve Binchy. I believe it’s called Night School, or something to that effect. Oh, well. Here's Heart and Soul. It’s also splendid, but I really wanted to find Night School.”
A: “Wait, let’s see if I can find it.”
On the very top shelf, tucked between two copies of Aches & Pains, I thought I found it.
A: “Grandma, could it be called Evening Class??”
G: “That’s it!”
She was just as excited as when we wore coordinating apple blossom accessories two days later.
Listening to her stories and being absorbed in her photo albums reminded me of the oral autobiography I Love the Lord, and I Love People that I edited back in college.
For that project, I interviewed Billy Mae Jenkins, a Jesus-loving woman with memories spanning 90 years, for three hours. Using a recording of the interview, I transcribed her responses (typing every word exactly how she said them) and edited the transcription to ensure that the content was easy to read and accurately told her life story. The final product is called an oral autobiography, and her daughter says that she can "hear her mother's voice" whenever she reads it.
Have you ever thought about leaving something like this behind for your children? Or have you ever wished for something like this to have as a reminder of your own parents or grandparents?
It's free to chat! Send me a message if you're interested in making this happen.
Alora D. Boerner
Freelance copy editor serving nonfiction writers, small business owners, and job seekers.