I'm pretty new to so not sure I'm posting in the right spot for this. Not really a question, but something yesterday with my dad has me wondering. I was cleaning his house and ran across a book that was given to my parents over 20 years ago. It's called "Generations" and is done in a fill in type format. Nothing was written in it. There was also another book, same format, "From Grandmother with Love" It was mostly filled out by my mother and addressed to my oldest son. Here comes your unasked for background. My mother died 7 years ago following 4 years in a nursing home, caused by a huge hemorrhagic stroke that took away every physical ability, but left her mind intact. It was the cruelest thing I've ever witnessed. She was a special person who loved her grandchildren immensely. I've only glanced through the book she filled out a bit, through tears, and have already learned things about my mother I never knew. I brought it home and feel privileged to have it.
I showed the "Generations" book to my dad and asked him to begin filling it out. He often dwells on his memories, and goodness knows has tons of time on his hands. He responded that he wasn't going to do it. He doesn't think anyone could read it. Not true, he writes fine. He's a child of the depression with unique stories that I fear may fade fast. He put the book away. Before I left I took it back out and put it next to his favorite chair.
I know I could get him talking and fill it out for him, but after seeing what my mom did, I know it wouldn't be the same. He's being too difficult to participate, at least so far.
I guess I've written this missive, if anyone read all this, to know what others have in the way of their parents life story or memories. Any of us who knows the current crop of twenty somethings and teens knows that they often,not always, thankfully, can be a self absorbed group. I'd hope they'd one day appreciate having the stories of their grandparents or great grandparents. I know what reading my moms words has meant to me.

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My Mom had one I'd given her a number of years ago. She filled it out. It's wonderful. How about setting up a video camera & taping your talks with Dad? I'm not much when it comes to fancy technology, but I would have loved to "see" my Mom discuss her life again.

Daughter, your father may not want to complete the book b/c of eyesight, shaking hands, or other issues, and may not want to admit these to you. Find a way to work around these by offering as you suggested to write his comments for him, or use a tape recorder, or even a video camera in which he reminisces about his past life.

Get out old photos or Reminisce magazines to stimulate his recollection and reminiscing about his early days. Sometimes it takes a little prodding. Or ask questions generally how he lived then - sometimes things we take for granted, such as central heat, were unavailable to our parents.

I found something similar to what your mother filled out, written by my father several years ago. It was really emotional, but it lent so much insight into his childhood years that I was unaware of before.

I've always planned to sit down with him and get more information but just haven't gotten around to it. I wish I'd done that with my mother and grandparents, especially since they had a lot of interesting if not unsettling experiences as refuges.

Thanks for sharing this story. My folks are mid 80s and when I became their sole caregiver sometime ago it struck me little I knew about our family history. They both love to answer my questions and tell their stories. They both had much harder childhoods than I realized.

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