Get to Know Your Parents - Before They Were Your Parents!

4 great ways to discover who your parents were before you!

How much do you really know? 

So many of your parents' stories took place before you were born, or were old enough to understand. Your parents know your whole history – but chances are you only know a fraction of theirs.

As our parents get older, these stories start to become more important to us. We want to preserve their memories – we don’t want them to be lost.

However you choose to record your parents’ life stories, the first step is to start talking. So today, we’re sharing four great ways to get the ball rolling.

1. Picture this…

A lot of our customers find old photo albums a great place to start. Take a day to bring out the old family albums with mum or dad. You'll find that it jogs the memory, brings up stories you never even knew about, and it’s also a fantastic way to begin assembling material for a memoir or biography.

It’s also an opportunity to digitize old pictures, which we strongly recommend. Nowadays, we are overwhelmed with photos. But older photos, from our parents’ childhood years, are often few and far between. It’s very likely you have no ‘back up’ of these pictures – old film and prints are liable to get damaged and lost forever! For this very reason, these older photos are infinitely more precious.

Luckily, with advances in technology, it has become easier to preserve old photos. Pictures can be scanned and stored safely online so that precious memories are not lost. As an added bonus, they are then easy to reproduce in a memoir or photo book. You can do it yourself by downloading an app, using a nearby print shop, or purchasing your own scanner.

2. Be your own family’s archaeologist

If you’re really serious (and brave), it’s time to have a look around the attic. Familiar with the film, Titanic? A search for a precious necklace, missing in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean lead to the discovery of something priceless: the timeless love story of Jack and Rose. It’s not just Hollywood fiction – objects can really tell stories!

There’s a reason historians spend time digging up old Roman pots – it says a lot about how people lived their lives. Material culture can be just as important for you as your family’s historian. Your mom or dad’s memory won’t be infallible – mementos from the past can be important in bringing those truly old tales back to the present.
‘Why do you always wear that necklace, Mom?’
‘Well, I was 13 and I was walking to school one day….’

By examining your parents’ old possessions, you won't just jog their memory, but make the story come alive for yourself, too!

Happy family One of our happy customers, with friends, in their youth! 

3. Take note!

Now you’ve got your parents talking, you’ll want to keep a pen and paper handy. The stories your parents and grandparents share can be important insights into the past.

Stories dating to a time before you were born: ‘I had to be evacuated during WW2, I can still remember the sounds of the air raid sirens.’

Realities that seem so contrary from modern life: ‘I got my first job at 11 and have worked ever since.’

Make sure to jot down these little bits of information. And don’t forget to ask questions - use our memory prompts if you need some inspiration! It's through your curiosity that their life stories can truly take form.

4. Get professional help from Story Terrace!

We would all love to personally record our parents’ life stories. But it often isn’t that easy. It can be difficult to find the time to finish a project. It’s also hard to be an expert interviewer and writer on the first attempt. And then you'll still need to transform all of that work into a readable format you can share with your family – which involves editing the text, and designing and printing everything yourself.

Story Terrace is here to help you capture your parents’ lives in a book. Our professional ghostwriters have extensive experience interviewing our customers’ parents and structuring their memoirs and biographies. We have in-house editors who manage the process end-to-end, and we know how to beautifully present precious memories in a way that will last.

If you’d like to inquire about our services, feel free to contact us.


Written by StoryTerrace
Image credits: by Shutterstock

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