Tips From Olivia Savoie-louisiana's Premier Heirloom Biographer

Tips From Olivia Savoie-louisiana’s Premier Heirloom Biographer

Writing

Tales of riding aboard a runaway carriage, attending 1950s law school, marrying a first love, surviving devastating storms, investing meager dollars that bloomed into significant businesses-these are the stories I unearthed from interviewing Louisiana locals. What stories await your own listening ears? Perhaps your family has a treasure trove. Despite the potential of family stories within our reach, we often only scratch the surface of our loved ones’ personal histories. The details of their lifetimes of love and lament rarely emerge in everyday conversations. When was the last time you randomly asked your mother about her college days? When did you last hear the story of how your parents met or the adventurous tales from your grandparents’ childhoods? Your family’s stories should be preserved. According to an African proverb, “Every time an old man dies, a library burns.” Rather than let your family’s libraries smolder, douse them with preservation. Make a special effort to document the lives of those around you by turning on your recording app or whipping out a pen and notebook. Now is the best time to preserve your family’s stories. Tips for Getting Your Loved Ones to Open Up: Value. Explain how important their stories are, expressing that only they lived their lives’ individual journeys. Tell them that capturing their trials and triumphs will leave lasting legacies to inspire future generations. Comfort. Talk to them in a relaxed environment, such as their home. Make sure only close family members are present. Timing. Choose a day when your loved one has ample time to share without feeling rushed. If they have an abundance of memories to share, then break up the interviews into one- or two-hour increments. Guide. Prior to their interview, compile a list of prompts you’d like to discuss and guide your loved ones from their early memories to their present ones. Fundamental Prompts: What are your earliest memories? Describe your childhood home. What are your parents’ and grandparents’ names and years of birth? Describe the town/neighborhood you were raised in. What did you like to do for fun as a child? What did your family do for holidays? What did you like to do for fun as a teenager? How did you meet your spouse? Describe your courtship and wedding day. Where did you live as an adult? What jobs did you have? What are some of your favorite places that you have traveled to? What special memories do you have from when your children were small? What special memories do you have with your children as adults? The above list is just the beginning. There are endless topics waiting to be discussed as you navigate the voyage of learning about your loved ones and capturing their stories. If you have questions or need further inspiration, reach out to me and my team to get life story preservation advice.