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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Oral History

About 10 years ago, I had the idea of sitting down with my grandparents and a cassette recorder and taping a conversation where they would tell me about their life growing up. I have always loved hearing people talk about their lives and especially those who are now elderly and have lived in times that I can only learn about from history books.

The great depression is one thing in a book, but entirely another when someone who was there and lived through it can tell you what it was like. It brings about an entirely new dimension to the history. Knowing that I wouldn't be able to remember with 100% accuracy what the story was or even come close to capturing the tone of voice with which it was being told, I figured a recorded session would be the way to go.

My purpose for doing this was to have the oral history of my family to pass on to my children and future generations. Evidently my idea was either very ingenious, or not very original, because the Library of Congress partnering with NPR has started Story Corps. Story Corps is a project that records the oral history of average, every day Americans.

Click here and you can hear some of the stories recorded. Perhaps you might even want to share your oral history with America.

Listen to a few and then share with me what you learned that you couldn't have learned by reading a text book.