Did you experience the infamous Blizzard of 2011 first hand? Did some of your other relatives survive it as well? Now is the time to start recording your family’s stories about where you were, who you were with, and how you managed to deal with the Blizzard of 2011. This collection will make a nice piece of family history for future generations to explore.
You will need to take some time to prepare before you jump in and start collecting stories. First, decide what format you want to record these stories in. Some people are going to prefer to jot down some quick notes as you speak with each relative who has stories about surviving the Blizzard of 2011. These can be filled out later, in greater detail, perhaps from your memory of the conversation.
Those of you who are more technologically adept have more options. You could record a short video of each relative, as he or she talks about their experiences. This way, each person gets to share their stories in his or her own words, tone of voice, and body language. You could set up a family blog, and have each of your relatives add their stories themselves, in writing.
One big advantage of doing this in blog format is that you can add all the photos that your relatives took of the massive amounts of snow. It’s great to have someone talk about the mountains of snow that they had to dig out of their driveway, but, as they say, “a picture paints a thousand words”. The impact of the stories will be that much greater if photos are used to emphasize, or explain, the Blizzard of 2011. Another advantage of making a family blog about the Blizzard is that it can be easily viewed, and shared, with your entire family, no matter how far away they are.
Some of your relatives are likely to be naturally gifted at storytelling. Others may feel more comfortable if you use prompts to guide. Make a list of helpful questions that you should ask each relative, just in case. Where were you when the Blizzard happened? Who was with you? Did you miss school or work due to the Blizzard? How did you get your vehicle onto the road? Did you do anything in particular to prepare for the Blizzard before it hit? Did you get snowed in? How did this experience make you feel (excited, scared, depressed)? What was the most interesting thing that you saw or did during the Blizzard of 2011?
The sooner you can begin working on this family history project, the better. People find it easier to share something that happened recently, then to recall what happened months or years ago. This is an excellent reason to make a connection with your relatives, and to provide a wonderful source of family history for future generations to check out.
Image by Eric Schumuttenmaer on Flickr