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Monday, January 12, 2009

Story Corps

StoryCorps: Listen Here
I've always felt distant from my parents. I love them very much & want to know more about who they are, but it seems that I just find myself learning more about what they're doing instead. My father, especially, has a strong emotional barrier. I've tried to break through a few times, but when I meet with resistance, I don't push it. That's my fault, I guess.

I am most interested in who my mother is as an individual (I blogged about this on my book blog), so when I heard about Story Corps, I thought that I might have a chance at finding out more about her. I was going to try to approach her over the holidays, under the pretense of recording her story for the online project. I even created a list of questions to ask her. But in the end, I didn't do it.

I can find lots of excuses for why I didn't go through with the interview: There was never a chance for the two of us to be alone. There didn't seem to be a good window of time to be able to steal her away for an hour. But the real reason is that I was afraid of being rejected. I was afraid that she wouldn't want to answer my questions, & I was afraid that my father would ridicule the idea in front of everyone. I was afraid that everyone would think it was a stupid idea, & that it would make my mother uncomfortable.

But the reality is that even though my mother might feel uncomfortable about answering questions like: "Was Dad your first love?" or "What was your relationship like with your parents?", she would probably be flattered that I am even interested. Maybe one day I will summon the courage to make the connection.


michelle said...

Interviewing parents sounds like a really cool idea. I need to do that too. It reminds me of a quote from something that was going around the internet about advice Bill Gates supposedly gave (but I don't think he did). It was something like, "Your parents had a life before they were your parents."

Does your mom email? Maybe you could start asking her basic stuff that way... or a phone interview? That might make it easier for you too. Like an intermediate step. And you dad won't have to really know about it.

Nancy Lewis said...

Good ideas - But (am I still making excuses?) my mother doesn't know how to turn on a computer, & both of my parents are always on the phone when I call. It's really hard to separate them, actually. Amazing, considering that they didn't like each other much when I was growing up. The only way to get information solely to my mother is to write her a letter. I could do that, I guess.

Wendy said...

I gave my grandmother one of those books to fill out. It is the most embarrassing and amazing thing to read. Hearing about Gram's sex life was a bit hard to take...I also gave my Mom and Dad one and they actually both started it, but never finished. I like your letter idea. My Mom is BIG on the old fashioned letter and writing to each other...I'd try that :)

Nancy Lewis said...

I tried the book thing with my two grandmothers. They never filled them out & now they have both died.

My mother hates to write. I asked her for a postcard from her last trip. She never sent it. I really can't imagine getting her to write about her private life.