I finally got to go see my dad this week. I had plans to go several times over the last month and then changed my mind because of the weather. (It’s been a really bad winter!) But I finally got there this week…and I brought my laptop so we could start working on his memoirs. I turned the computer on and said, “Okay, Dad. Start talking.” And he did.
He’d get tired from time to time…and he’d stop because he “felt fuzzy.” But in that one afternoon I got ten single-spaced pages down. We didn’t cover a whole lot…we covered several “storms of the century” he’d lived through and the time he served in the public health service. That was it. Those were the things he wanted to tell me about first.
Most of what he talked about I’d heard before…but I didn’t know he’d been at Kennedy’s inauguration (that was when he was in the public health service in Washington, D.C. — I always thought it was incredibly unfair that my parents left Washington, D.C. four years before I was born…I could have grown up THERE, which would’ve been way more exciting than the small farm town where I did grow up). He and my mom and my grandparents sat in the second row, right in front of the podium Kennedy spoke from. (And one of those “storms of the century” occurred the day before the inauguration.) I also learned that my dad packed the medical bags for the emergency doctors who were stationed at each of the inaugural balls that night. Who knew?
I really enjoyed copying down what he said. And not just because he’s my dad…I think I would enjoy doing this for anyone. EVERYONE has stories. And I know there are a variety of organizations out there that help people record their stories.
So…I wonder how much of my dad’s story I’m going to be able to get down before he is no longer with us? I really, really wish I’d started this years ago!