It’s easy to let life rush by, until you find that it’s too late for the things that really matter. Like capturing the memories of a loved one – the stories and the details that make us who we are. I’m launching a gift service to make it easier for you to keep your family stories forever.
This Christmas, it will be twelve years since my grandfather (Arthur – we called him Gardan) died. Starting Wild Rosemary Writing Services has made me think more about my grandparents, and the important of knowing our family stories. I’ve only got a few fragments of my grandfather talking about his life, a very precious present from my Aunty Marion! But it’s frustrating only having a few stories. Gardan was full of them. He was a born comedian, and his anecdotes and jokes entertained us for hours. To admit I needed to record him would have been acknowledging that he was getting older and more frail; more lonely without my grandmother. Memories fade. And how many people have photographs of the moment they fell in love?
Thanks to my cousin Chris making some transcripts of interviews with Gardan when he was at school, I would otherwise never have known that my grandparents met when Arthur and his mates decided to gate-crash a clothing factory’s dance in 1937. The lads saw a poster outside and realised that a popular band-leader was playing. Seventeen-year-old Arthur was the only young man who could dance. That’s how he met a dark-haired girl, dressed in a velvet frock. She’d probably made it herself. Imagine, if Arthur had gone to a different dance, or if Pat had danced with someone else? Three generations of our family would never have existed.
I wish I knew more about the fun-loving young man my grandfather was. From the transcripts, I know that he was almost a motor mechanic, rather than a plasterer. In World War Two, he wasn’t fit for the Armed Forces, due to imperfect hearing and flat feet, but he did essential work, repairing bomb damage and building army bases. The American Forces brought shared their luxurious food rations with the builders – pork steak and “biscuits” – and nicknamed Arthur “Red” due to the colour of his hair. He once smuggled two American soldiers out of a Lincolnshire base on a bus, disguised as builders, so that they could dance the night away in the Palais nightclub in Nottingham.
And I know where I get my habit of becoming totally absorbed in a book or a film from. Arthur was in Sheffield (I wish I knew where), repairing bomb damage after the blitz. He went to the cinema, but was concentrating so much on the film that he didn’t notice the air-raid siren until the cinema had completely emptied and he was sitting on the balcony alone. He ran out onto the deserted streets…
I’d like to help you to capture the moments that shaped your family. I’ve created a gift package, which includes:
- A 3-hour informal interview with your loved one. Why not invite family members to make it more of an occasion? This could be conducted in person or via the phone, or Skype.
- An edited transcript of the interview, with photographs.
- Quality printing and binding, and the transcript will also be provided electronically.
- Prices start at £300 for the full service.
- Gift cards available if the service is being purchased as a present.
- Bespoke binding and printing also available – just ask for more details.
Contact Anne Grange on 07815966784 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.