Respect for family history

BY cushion the impact

Corina Kellam tells us about her business.

When I was growing up, I wasn’t interested in my family’s history. When Mum or Dad would rattle on about their ancestors, I’d wriggle away when tales went on past a few sentences. As I got older, my curiosity started to pique, but by 20 years old, I had only one living grandparent.

At university I’d call my grandfather and ask him to tell me about working in his father’s tailor shop when he was a boy. His father would take endless measurements from clients, shouting them out to my grandfather, who diligently wrote them down on a scrap of paper. When the client left, the paper went in the bin.

“I don’t bother with those measurements; I know how it needs to fit.”

I loved that story – it explained where grandpa, the patriarch of my family, got his confidence. And maybe where mine came from, as well.

A few years ago, grandpa stopped speaking. I kicked myself for not using my journalism background to properly interview him. Instead, I had bits and bobs of stories, but there were huge gaps in what I knew of his life.

I sprang into action. I interviewed my parents about their lives, about their parents, about any shred of detail they remember going back into their families. I found out so much about my family during those hours. I transcribed those interviews, collected some old photos and had books published of my family history.

That has now morphed into a very polished business, Life History Books  which I run with personal historians scattered around the U.K. and the U.S. We put together memoirs at an affordable price, with as little as four hours of interview time resulting in a 40-60 page book. I’m very proud of what we do.

My grandpa passed away on July 8, 2010 at 100 years old. Through that first book, his memories live on. I look forward to the day my son reads it and I wonder if the story about the tailor shop will make an impression on him.

Whether you record your family history through us or in some other way, I do hope you take the time to do so… because every person tells a story, and every story deserves to be preserved.

Anyone who contacts Life History Books and mentions the code “cushion the impact” will receive a 10% discount.

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