Dealing with Stories that Change Midstream!

dog lickingYou had it all set in your mind.

You asked your76-year old Dad a question about the time when he was a young kid and was teaching his favorite childhood dog, Buckie, some tricks. (While he was a great dog, Buckie didn’t exactly get high marks for brains.)

 

Your Dad’s story started out recounting the time when he was teaching Buckie how to jump an obstacle course of branches up the in the woods. (It seems that Buckie preferred crawling under the jumps rather than jumping over them.)

That reminded Dad about how his clever current dog, Classy, hid his wallet the other day. He found it under her dog mat in the kitchen. Lovingly covered with drool. And that reminded him about how the dog he had during his college years, Ding, who jumped off the deck in her excitement to see him. (Turns out the deck was 12 feet up in the air.)

We think the way that one story leads to another is sorta wonderful. In fact, your Dad’s stream of consciousness storytelling happens all the time.

Dealing with Stories that Change Direction

We’ve come up with a new feature that makes it easy to accommodate stream-of-consciousness storytelling. It boils down to a new COPY feature.Here’s how it works.
Go back to your Dad’s childhood story about Buckie. This story fits well under your Dad’s Childhood (0-12) Category and under the prompt “Tell me about your pets.” Obviously the story about his current dog, Classy, doesn’t fit in the same Childhood category.

The  story about Classy fits under the Adult (56+) Category and, since there isn’t a prompt specifically about pets, you’ll want to place another copy of the recorded story under the Other Memories from 56 Onward prompt.The same goes for the story about Ding, only this copy of the recording will go under the the Adult (20-25) Category. The point is: all three stories deserve equal attention and you certainly want to capture them because they say a lot about your Dad’s lifelong affection for dogs.

In cases like this, you’ll want to copy the original recording and then place a duplicate copy in the other relevant categories. Click here for specific instructions on how to copy recorded stories.

 
The Story that Morphs Completely

In the “dog story sequel” example above, the general topic of dogs doesn’t change. That’s not always the case. In fact, sometimes you start out on one topic, but spend most of the time talking about something else entirely. The original topic is barely mentioned!

For example, a story about learning to cook gingerbread cookies with your Grandmother for some unknown reason quickly changes into a story about the vacation road trips you used to take with your young  kids through the Smokey Mountains on the way to the beaches of North Carolina. You were somewhere in your 30s. Let’s say that the cooking gingerbread cookies part of the story took about 30 seconds and that the story didn’t really illicit any feelings nor contain any details. The most interesting part of the recording by far is the road trip.
The best way to deal with this situation is to MOVE the story to a new category. In the example above, the story that you originally set up  for the Childhood (0-12) Category best fits in the Adult (26-40) Category, probably under the Other Memories from 26-40 prompt.

Remember, always add key tag words and phrases that were mentioned in the story so that you can easily find the story. In the road trip story, those key tag words would probably include “Smokey Mountains” and “road trip”, to name a few.

Click here for instructions on how to move recorded stories.

 

Celebrations Module

Even with these new COPY and MOVE features, there are still some stories thatl seem a bit lost. Often, these other stories fit perfectly in what we call our Celebration Module. We call it that simply because there are many different types of celebrations.

For example,  think about the family birthday parties that you’ve attended over the years. You can either record what relatives remember about some of those parties or you can record while you’re at the party. Go to the Celebrations Module, click on the Birthday heading, and record the remarks of family members who were there, and then save and share those stories long after the event.

You can also go with the “live” approach (after all, it’s pretty neat to listen to your 5 year old’s enthusiasm as he first opens the big box from his grandparents). Of course, birthday parties aren’t always quiet so it might be better to capture the time after the party when grandpa and grandson are talking about some adventures that the new jumbo tRex might take.

Then there are stories from the family reunions. Saving Memories Forever even makes it easy to share these family stories with people who couldn’t attend the reunion.

For retirement parties and anniversaries, you might want to ask co-workers to comment about ways in which the retiree contributed to the organization. Or about an amusing incident at work. After all,  25 years of work created strong bonds that are worth preserving. Click here for specific instructions on how to use the Celebrations Module.

So enjoy the world in all its complexity. Take advantage of the new Saving Memories Forever features that make it even more manageable.

How to Use the Celebration Module

SMF logo with linkThe Celebration Module is a great way to record stories from relatives, friends and acquaintances for a special occasion. While most of the recording will probably be done before the event, you can also record stories during the event. This is a special way to use the Saving Memories Forever system.

Using a 50th wedding anniversary as an example, here’s how to set up an account and how to use the Celebration Module. Let’s assume that Becky Johnson, the daughter and anniversary organizer, wants everyone who’s invited to the anniversary celebration to record a story or some comments about her parents, Al and Ruth Johnson..

1. Becky first signs up for a new account on either the smartphone app or the website. Use an easy to remember user name in the form of an e-mail address. i.e., 50thAnniversay@johnson.net (The username should not be a real e-mail address but needs to be in the form of an e-mail address). Use an easy to remember password like “celebrate”.

2. Becky then sends a note to all the people she would like to record stories. She gives them the sign in information and asks them to download the Saving Memories Forever app from the iTunes App store or the Google Play store.

3. Becky asks everyone who’s invited to sign into the app, pick Celebrations, then Anniversary and then record a story and upload. Since they are using an account that she has paid for, their recordings are free. Stories can be recorded anywhere, including Uncle Frank is in South America and Aunt Mary is in a nursing home in New Jersey. Frank can record on his own; Aunt Mary can record with the help of a cousin who lives nearby.

4. After they have uploaded their story, Becky asks them to announce that they have recorded a story on their Facebook page. The functionality is built into the app. After the story is uploaded the app asks, “Would you like to share this on Facebook/” They select share and sign into Facebook. Their announcement should say something like, “I have just recorded a story for the Johnson’s 50th wedding anniversary. Do you know any stories about them you would like to share?”

5. Becky is the gate keeper. Any new storytellers should be referred to him or her for approval and instructions.

6.  Do the people have pictures or text files that go with the story they tell?Becky asks people recording the stories and comments to attach these picture or text files to their stories.

7. When all the stories are recorded, Becky changes the password and no further stories can be recorded.

8. Now Becky can download all the recorded stories to her computer using the export function, >My Memories> My Account >Export Files.

9. Once the stories are downloaded to the computer, Becky can burn the stories to a CD, using CD burning software that was supplied with her computer. She can give this CD to her parents (and the guests too, if she wants).

10. Are there stories Becky wants to record during the celebration? Maybe from people who do not have a smartphone? Stories can be recorded at the event by anyone who has a smartphone and login. So Sam, a 30-year old nephew of the Johnsons, can record stories from Great Uncle John who is 90 and does not have a smartphone.

11. Last but not least.  Using the My Profile screen, Becky can change the screen name to her parents’ real e-mail address. (My Memories>My Account>Change E-Mail) All she needs to do is tell her parents what the username and password are and ask them to record the stories of their lives for the rest of the family. Becky (and everyone invited) have given them a Saving Memories Forever account. Truly a “Gift of a Lifetime”.