Back in 1993, I interviewed my grandma. I had the advantage of actually having a degree in English and journalism so I felt compelled to use what I learned to capture the life story of this very special lady. I grew up with her living across the street--so I really thought I already knew her well so the interview was just a good way to get it all recorded.

What was strange was that I felt a bit afraid as I prepared for the interview. I wasn't sure what I should ask. I wasn't sure what I wanted to know. I just jotted down a few of the stories my mother told me that grandma liked to tell.

I spent about 90 minutes with grandma that day, and I was surprised at how much she said that I had never heard before. Here are a few things that my "Grandma Interview" taught me.

1. Grandma wanted to tell me about people I would never know otherwise.
I learned about her parents and grandparents. She could recall conversations that had happened 80 years ago! It was remarkable to feel a new connection with the past and to see what has made our family tick and some of the personalities (not just dates on a family tree) that made our family who we are.

2. Grandma liked talking about her childhood and how history had impacted her life.
Her memory of seeing her first airplane, her side-center basketball days (I never dreamed she played basketball), and the family's first car. She could recall the Flu Epidemic of 1918 and how all the church bells rang when World War I ended. Without setting aside time for recording her life story, I know I would never have heard about these memories.

3. Grandma told me about becoming an adult.
Dating, marriage, children, and her teaching career were all things I knew little about. I was particularly impressed when she told me about the strict schedule she kept for all her housework. It was interesting to see grandma not in one-dimension anymore, but in multi-dimensions. She had once been a little girl (I knew that but it became more real when I heard her stories), then a young woman, then a mom, and now a grandma! She wasn't just grandma anymore.

4. Grandma shared her feelings, beliefs, and values.
She wanted me to know how proud she was of her children and grandchildren. She wanted to record how important her faith was. She wanted to say "I love you" to her whole family so we would always know what was always understood. Her story was a beautiful thing.

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