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Objective
Jack and Norma's daughter had been meaning to sit down with her parents and record their stories for years, but she'd never gotten around to it. When she heard about me, a weight lifted. Now she knew that her parents' stories would be told, and saved, for her children, nieces and nephews, and generations to come.

Interviewing Jack and Norma about their lives, we sat together focusing on one, then the other, always including both. Interviews were audio-recorded. Our goal was to use these conversations as the basis for a narrative about their lives, and to publish that narrative as a book for their family, integrating photos, love letters, and other documents.


Process
Over a period of six months, we met about twice a week (breaking for holidays and travel). Whenever we met, we three sat together at the kitchen table, where I interviewed them. These interviews were always audio taped, and lasted about two hours each.

I sent recordings to the transcriber, who then provided me with written transcripts.

Timeline
It took six months to complete our interviews. Within that time, Jack and Norma also gave me many files containing a variety of documents, both professional and personal. Included was a tremendous collection of children's and other poetry that Jack had written.


Outcomes
I selected many of Jack's children's poems to publish as a book for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. With my help, he composed a letter to them as an introduction to the book. Jack's daughter, granddaughters and I worked together, publishing this book of his children's poems, which includes illustrations and photographs.

At the same time, I culled over 1000 pages of transcripts, searching for passages that told Jack and Norma's story. From their words, I composed 45 pages of personal narrative, in Jack and Norma's voices, and published it —
with photos, love letters, and more — in a book for the family.

 
   
 

Click here to read excerpts and listen to an audio clip from the interviews.

 
   
   
Copyright 2015 Maggie MarkdaSilva