Record Family Stories with a Smart Phone

December 13th, 2016 6:36pm

Years ago, rummaging through a box of old things, I came upon a single cassette. The yellow worn out label read simply, “Mom.” In a flash it came back to me: I was in grad school, working on a film project and came home to interview my mother.  At the same table I’d eaten all my childhood meals, I asked my mom about her life – boarding school, her mysterious first marriage, raising five kids. This was that recording. I rifled through the box for a player, plunged the cassette in, and pushed play, already excited to share her stories with my children. But a somber male voice touched my ears. Confused, I fast-forwarded. Again and again, I searched desperately for my mom’s voice. And then I remembered.  My then-husband recorded a law school lecture 20 years earlier on this very cassette. My mom was still alive at the time and neither he nor I realized the gift that it contained. 

The human voice carries within it so much more than the words spoken. Like a finger print, our voices are completely unique. Voice carries nuances of meaning, feeling, things unsaid. It hints at our age, tells where we are from, even what we might aspire to. When I think of all the gifts I’ve given my children, family, and friends over the years, I regret that something as permanent as a child’s giggle or my mother’s words has not been one of them.    

Today it is easier than ever before to capture these wondrous voices. Most of us now carry an audio recorder in our pockets – our smart phones. With attention to a few small details, you can make a decent recording of your loved ones. This guide can help you.

Wishing you a joyful holiday season filled with cherished stories shared now and preserved for the future.  

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