the questions you would ask

Over the years I have probably interviewed hundreds, if not thousands of people while working as a newspaper reporter. I have had the privilege to interview Marines injured while serving in Iraq, family members of 9/11 victims, and Nobel Prize winning scientists.

Over the years I have donned boots and hiked through the woods in search of homeless settlements to talk to those with less lofty titles. I have interviewed migrant workers who have never had a day off from work in 20 years. I have spoken to gang members on the streets and in their homes in an effort to learn their stories.

But I have never interviewed my own family. And I know I don’t have to open a paper to find a good story.

Growing up I have always known my grandfather served in World War II and again in the Korean War. But I have never asked him what it was like to dig his own fox hole every night. I have always known my grandmother worked as a dental hygienist on a military base during WWII. I have always known that is where she met my grandfather. But I have never asked her how she felt when he first brought her flowers.

So next week I am embarking on a tour de grandparents. I am flying to Boston and Florida to visit both sets of my old people and ask them the questions I want answered. I want to commit their stories to paper. I do not want their stories to be lost. Because I am still young and fairly retarded, I am also eager to learn from their collective life experiences.

At my age I realize I am lucky to have three out of four of my grandparents still living and mentally sound. I know that some of my friends reading this post no longer have the benefit of picking up the phone and calling their grandparents to say hello or tell them about their latest crush. So I am soliciting questions from these friends. If you could, what are the questions you would ask?

4 thoughts on “the questions you would ask

  1. Ask them their first impressions of their childrens future spouses when they first met them.
    Ask about your parents growing up and how it felt to be their parents. About their first jobs and what it was like to come to this country or what it was like for their parents.
    And hug them and hold their hands as much as you can.

  2. Thanks Karla. I will definitely add those questions to the list. I am drafting questions on the plane tonight and I definitely plan on holding their hands a lot. I think that is my favorite thing.

    Soccer Kid, you are trouble. 🙂

  3. What does it feel like to look back on your life, and know you are towards the end of it?
    How do you feel about the current state of the world? The future?
    How do you feel people/the world has changed in your lifetime?

    Would you like a drink?

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