I had known for years that I wanted to document the stories of my Oma (my dad's mom)'s life. She grew up in Holland and emigrated to Canada when my dad was very young. She lived through a war. She's a spunky woman with a ton of stories. It needed to be done, and I wanted to do it.
Finally, in May of last year, I heard about Heritage Makers. I became a consultant and I started planning my project.
Here's what I did:
1. Together with my dad, I used Heritage Makers' "Life Story" Story Map (a collection of questions/topics to focus on in tellings someone's life story), to interview my Oma. He videotaped each of our interview sessions.
2. I started listing to the video & typing out the stories. (I included notes & questions about the spelling of Dutch names & places, and other details)
3. I would send my typed stories to my parents to review & they would take them with them on dinners out with my Oma, have her read them and correct them and add details.
4. I borrowed photo albums from my Oma & spent some time scanning old photos.
5. I chose an 8.5x11" storybook template from Heritage Makers that I liked the basic look of and went to work uploading photos and organizing them with their stories, into the template, and then altering it as I went.
6. I had family members review the final edit before ordering the book & counting down the days until its arrival at my doorstep!
I was so happy to see the completed project & to be able to give it to my Oma for Christmas. I could see that it meant a lot to her, and it means a lot to her family (each of her children got a copy).
I am so grateful for this wonderful keepsake that I will have to always remember my Oma's life, and that I will be able to share with my children and tell them her stories as they get older.