by Andrea Gross
Ten years, ago I was watching as Charlie Rose interviewed a guest who was publicizing a book about his mom and dad. Rose looked envious. "You know," he said, "I've interviewed thousands of people, but I've never interviewed my parents. I've heard many of their stories, but I've never written them down." I looked closer. Did he have tears in his eyes?
Light bulb: I was working for a major consumer magazine. Like Rose, I spent my time interviewing people who weren't my parents. Mistaken priorities? Definitely.
Two weeks later I was at my parents' apartment, fully outfitted with tape recorder, microphones and all sorts of journalistic paraphernalia. My mom talked non-stop for four days.
Her eyes sparkled as she told stories of flying in a single engine airplane with the handsomest boy in town. She spoke of times that made her laugh, experiences that made her cry, and events that changed her from a young girl concerned only with appearances to a wise woman dedicated to helping others.
I organized and edited Mom’s stories, added photos and bound everything into a lovely leather-bound book. We also made a dozen softcover copies, enough for family members and close friends. Mom couldn’t have been more pleased.
Flash forward: Today, when I show Mom that book, she looks puzzled. "What's it about?" she asks. "It's about your life, Mom," I say. I point to a picture of her that shows her as a young woman. “I don’t know who that is,” she says.
But I know. The book is about a woman who, because she shared her stories, will live on to influence all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren who never got a chance to meet her.
As a result of this experience, Andrea Gross now helps other people capture their parents' stories and preserve them for the future. www.LegacyProse.com
Editor's Note: For Mother's Day, co-founder Judith Fein wrote about her mama. We decided to check in with our other writers to see what they have to say about the women who birthed them. You may be very surprised. Feel free to leave comments for any of the writers and Happy Mother's Day if you are one, have one, or plan to be one!