We all have a story to share. We all come from a specific family, time, place, and circumstance. Each of us, no matter how quiet or short our lives, has loved, lost, laughed, and witnessed major world events. Our stories frame our identity and connect us to the past and one another.
In Outwitting History, as Aaron Lansky visits homes to collect Yiddish books, he quickly finds there is more to the endeavor than loading up boxes and thanking donors. As elderly owners relinquish their precious collections to the young Lansky they offer tea and conversation.
This older generation shares stories of the literature they are handing over, their homeland, language, family, and community. And he listens. It slows him down considerably, yet he comes to understand that these stories are part and parcel of the mission. The Yiddish books he saves encapsulate a culture, but the people before him are living, breathing emissaries of that culture.
Taking inspiration from this example, Medfield Reads is recreating acts of storytelling and listening in our community. This is an opportunity for you to sit down with grandparents, parents, siblings, neighbors, old friends, or new acquaintances and ask them about their lives. Together with our partners, we are offering a range of ways to do this, from casual conversations to professionally produced and recorded sessions:
- Medfield.TV is sharing stories at the Senior Center, as Ed Doherty interviews Medfield residents about their lives.
- The high school media production department will be teaming up with Medfield.TV to film interviews. Open to all interested parties. Contact Medfield.TV. for more information on either of these projects:
Phone: (508) 359-7521 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The library will offer a sound recording booth for friends and family to record audio interviews. Ask at the reference desk for details, or call (508) 359-4544 x 8002
- Do it yourself: check out a book on conducting oral history interviews, complete with questions, ask a librarian for a list of conversation starters, or visit the StoryCorps website to get ideas: http://storycorps.org/record-your-story/question-generator/list.