“I called Living Legacies and Ellie Kahn explained the options for recording my parents’ life stories—either through a Zoom interview or an in person interview.
We decided to have this done by Zoom which made it so easy. Ellie sent a link for the date and I came over to set it up for my parents on their laptop. They talked with Ellie for about two hours and since there was a lot more for them to talk about, Ellie set up several more dates.
Mom and Dad loved the experience. Ellie’s warmth and calm manner immediately put them at ease. The questions she asked guided them through every generation— their great grandparents, grandparents, parents and their own lives. There were so many things they hadn’t thought about in years, and details about their experiences and the people in their lives came back to them because of the types of questions Ellie asked. When Dad cried about his mother’s death, Ellie was so understanding and kind. He said that he never cries, but that it felt good to get it out.
When the interviews were completed, Ellie sent us the video files both as emails and also on a flash drive.
My teenage children and I watched all of the recordings and my kids were so intrigued by the details of their grandparents’ childhoods and teens, about how they had managed life challenges, the times they’d lived through and my father’s time in the army during World War II. My parents’ love for each other was so apparent and sweet. Ellie had asked them questions that really allowed them to express deep feelings and insights that were inspiring for us all to hear.
I decided to have Ellie create a written project from my parents’ interviews.
It took about three months for the interviews to be edited into a manuscript. It was in their own words, but edited just enough so that it read smoothly. Their stories were organized into chronological chapters. At the end of each chapter there were photos I had provided. We had the chance to make changes and then we ordered copies of the books. There is a wonderful photo on the cover of Mom and Dad’s wedding.
The finished books are gorgeous. Everyone in the extended family received a copy at a gathering for my parents’ 60th anniversary. Mom and Dad read some excerpts and there were lots of tears and laughter. The whole process was a pleasure and Ellie couldn’t have been more wonderful to work with.”