RECORDING/CAPTURING THE STORIES OF THE LIVES OF OUR WONDERFUL ELDERLY FOLK
BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE
An idea I heard about recently has spurred me into action. This idea is the
brainchild of someone in America - I presume it is already in action over there and has spurred me here in Australia. Along with the publication of my late father's book, 'The Sawers From Pitcairn' I recently decided to do something about it.
We are all eternally grateful to my Dad for penning this book, which details the travels of the first of our family from our seat in Scotland out to Australia, their employment on various stations throughout NSW and SA, finishing with an indepth look at life on the station which remains in our family today. Dad finished writing this book literally just before his death in 1993. Since then it has passed between his four children, my three elder brothers and me. It finally landed in my hands for the second time, I think and I suddenly realised that I had to get it out there. It had to be published. And it was - exactly a week following our late mother's death in 2010. So she never saw it - but she knew that something had finally been done about it and that, I believe, made her a happy woman at point of death.
Sadly however Mum has now gone and taken her story with her. It's too late. How very tragic. When it would have been so very easy to encourage her to do something she absolutely loved - talking about her life - and have it recorded. Hey presto - another wonderful story could so easily have been saved. But - no - she's gone - and taken it with her. Lost forever. Tragic.
Research for my book on stations and the new book which will follow, includes meeting and interviewing retirees. For the stations book, they are retired pastoralists. And they all have the most wonderful stories to tell. This is all being captured as I interview, record and photograph them. Such an amazingly humbling and wonderful experience.
I know Australia has many formal historical records and I am also aware that many people are compiling family trees and histories and are to be applauded for doing so. Our elderly folk are the last generation to have witnessed so many things which have already been surpassed and replaced repeatedly. They experienced WWII (most of the diggers from WWI have already gone); they experienced the introduction of the motor car, veteran and vintage. The inventions of so many things. The list is limitless.
I am wanting to somehow start a group/project/something that can act on this idea. To encourage families and/or volunteers to go into private homes/aged care residential homes/retirement villages and encourage the elderly (those that are able to) to reminisce. To talk to their hearts' contest. Do something that requires no effort and, hopefully, a lot of joy, on their part and simply recording and encouragement on behalf of one or more of their listeners.
I see it as nothing but a win/win idea. I have had very encouraging and reassuring responses to my letters to both the Department for Veteran Affairs and the Department of Health and Ageing. Both understand and appreciate my goal and see the importance in doing this.
I am looking for people who would be happy to give up a little of their time and help me with this.
Please feel free to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanking you in anticipation.