“Well, hello Dolly!” my Grandpa Furniss would holler every time I called his house – not only as a little girl, but as a grown woman. For some reason my Gramps always called me Dolly. It made me feel loved and adored. Who doesn’t want to be someone’s Dolly? Just thinking of his voice stirs rich, happy memories for me. Hearing his voice again last fall motivated me on a more intentional path of telling stories with my family.

My relationship with my grandparents was purely magical. We adored each other. From the time I knew numbers, I memorized their phone number – 621-5473. I would ca11046815_10204743302797096_1624883442670295967_nll them up for any old thing and this went on for as long as they lived, well into my adult years, so hearing anything resembling their voice is special for me, because they are a part of who I am.

Telling stories – a voice from the past

So last fall as I walked up the stairs carrying a large load of overflowing laundry, and I heard that voice unexpectedly, tears sprang to my eyes and I almost dropped my laundry. I quickly scanned the room for the source of the voice I heard – that sweet calming voice – you know, the kind of voice when you hear it you know they can sing like an angel – that’s my grandpa’s voice. His voice stirs some of my best memories and I hadn’t heard it in over a decade since my his passing. Yet, hearing it immediately brought the same joy it brought as I would hear his voice on the other end of the telephone or when we would visit each other and embrace several times a week for nearly my whole life.

The source wasn’t an angelic visitation from the dead, but a simple video recording of an interview I had conducted with my grandparents about 20 years ago, brought back to life by the miracle of technology.   The video recording from the mid-90s was from a senior project my husband was doing for his broadcasting degree. Our goal had been to interview each member of my extended family and my husband would piece together the interviews with photos for a great family video. He finished the video as much as a young father working two jobs and remodeling a house can do, but always wanted to go back and finish it just a little bit better. Then five more babies came, jobs changed a few times, houses got remodeled (again) and here we are with a bin full of videos – or priceless treasures as I often refer to them – of my beloved family  telling stories that bind us together.

Telling stories – a treasured keepsake

My husband never worked in broadcasting and in the last 20 years he fell in love with family history work. He now works for FamilySearch and ended up taking some genealogy classes to get an advanced degree. The class required him to work on a family history project and that long-since dusty box of videos now needed to come back to life. For me, it brought mixed feelings of joy and angst, knowing ho1016666_10200550734025497_838786550_nw much time it would require from my husband, but a chance to see all those great interviews. I had no idea that hearing the voices would catch me so off guard and fill me with so much joy.

Related: Questions to ask your parents or grandparents.

In order for my husband to work on the project, he has to play the videos out loud to transfer them to digital media. The result, a pleasant surprise of recounting all those wonderful memories – as told by each member of my family. The cool thing is, I wasn’t the only one caught off-guard. As my husband started that first video my children all emerged to hear the voices too. My three oldest children remember my grandparents on varying levels, and my three youngest never had the chance to meet them. But they all came to know them over the next few Saturdays as we went about our Saturday activities and the videos did their work converting to digital media.

Telling stories – tying generations together

My kids learned that my grandpa considered my grandma to “always be the most beautiful girl in the room,” and that my cousin who was my age always considered me to be “one of his closest friends” growing up and that we got into a bit of trouble.

Related: A strong family narrative makes all the difference.

They also learned of their own grandfather and his love for his wife’s parents – and his wife, something my dad, who is pretty quiet, may not always reveal. It opened up conversations for my husband and I to talk about how we met each other and how life was back in the “old days” of “big CD’s” (we call them records,) clunky video tapes, poor video lighting and all the oddities from 20 years ago.

Related: Dad, tell me your story.

Telling stories – complete joy

And what did I learn? That video project, that I thought was strange at best at the time, is now a family gift that has brought me untold joy. Is the project finished yet? Not quite. It’s a long process when in the throws of raising a large family, but it’s recorded, it’s a treasure and it’s our story.

What’s the biggest reason for telling stories? For the greatest happiness money can’t buy – pure, unfiltered joy.


Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links which means if you purchase some of the products we mention by using our links, we make a commission. Be assured that I’m only sharing the methods I actually use, but I do appreciate when you buy with my links because it helps fund articles like this one.

Rachel TrotterRachel J. Trotter is a senior writer/editor at Evalogue.Life.She tells people’s stories and shares hers to encourage others. She loves family storytelling. A graduate of Weber State University, she has had articles featured on LDSLiving.com and Mormon.org. She and her husband Mat have six children and live on the East Bench in Ogden, Utah.

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5 thoughts on “The Joy of Telling Stories

  • December 1, 2016 at 10:31 pm
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    I would love to see those videos! I miss grandma and gramps so much!

    Reply
    • December 2, 2016 at 4:11 am
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      It would be super fun to pull them out at the Christmas party or reunion this summer.

      Reply
  • October 8, 2017 at 1:24 pm
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    Rachel,
    Uncle Fred, your grandpa, was one of my favorite uncles. He was a very special man and the love of the gospel radiated from him. It was so wonderful to see these pictures him and Aunt Mary whom I also loved dearly. Thank your sharing. Sandy Morris Borg

    Reply
  • October 9, 2017 at 10:16 pm
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    Sandy! It’s so great to hear from you and hear your kind words. They were the best of people for sure. I miss them dearly, but love to spend time remembering them. I hope you and your family are well. It’s been too long! Thanks for your comment!

    Reply
    • October 9, 2017 at 10:16 pm
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      Sandy! It’s so great to hear from you and hear your kind words. They were the best of people for sure. I miss them dearly, but love to spend time remembering them. I hope you and your family are well. It’s been too long! Thanks for your comment!

      Reply

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