The Great Thanksgiving Listen is an initiative of the national oral history project StoryCorps to encourage high school students to spend part of Thanksgiving weekend interviewing an elder and preserving his or her story.
And you can still be part of it even if you’re not in high school: StoryCorps suggests making a plan to interview a grandparent, neighbor or family friend over the age of 65.
That advice was written for a general audience, so for folks who are themselves circling 65 and/or might not have older generations around to query: I’d add that you also could participate by sharing your own story with the youngsters in your family.
You could record it, write it down and/or gather the children and tell them in person. My kids love to hear about the trouble my sisters and I got into when I was their age (although I might be sorry I shared when they decide to create their own slip-and-slide on the basement floor with pancake syrup).
Also consider interviewing close-to-your-age siblings, spouses, cousins or friends to preserve their unique life experiences.
StoryCorps has an app you can use on your Android smartphone, iPhone or iPad to record your (or someone else’s) story. And if you plan to interview someone about family history, our Oral History Interviewing Made Easy e-book is a handy, informative guide to
- how to set up the interview
- what questions to ask
- how to get relatives to open up
- how to record and preserve their words