I had this notion, so I thought I'd write it down.
My dad just turned 80. He's far from feeble but I have to acknowledge that he's getting older and people don't live for ever. I want to ask him to write some sort of memoir, even if it's just a timeline of events that we can fill in bit by bit. Because he lived through "important places, times when great events were decided" (to quote Patrick Kavenagh) and did some cool things, and I don't want to lose that history. Maybe one day one (or both) of my kids, or their kids, will be interested in these things.
So I was thinking, I could send him a sort of questionnaire, to get him started, give him a structure, jog his memory. Then I could ghost write it for him, if he liked. Then we could publish it and make a mint. Or, you know, whatever.
Off the top of my head, some questions:
- Who were your parents? What did they do in the first world war? When did they meet and marry? Do you know the story of how they met?
- What are your memories of the second world war in (and outside) London? What was your dad doing in Germany after that?
- Where did you go to school? Tell me a story from your schooldays.
- And then you went to the polytechnic to study architecture. What was your first job?
- Why did you decide to move to America? What was it like in California in the 60s, for a sheltered Catholic boy from England? Why did you decide not to stay?
- You moved to Ireland instead. How did Ireland become your adopted home?
- Tell me about your two years in Guatemala.
- How did you meet my mother? What made you decide to marry her, and you a confirmed batchelor in your 40s? How do you spell batchelor?
- What happened to your leg?
- What famous people have you met? (Bono, Sir John Betjeman to name an eclectic couple. Probably the Queen, for all I know.)
- What building are you most proud of being involved in the creation of?
- What do you regret that you never got to do, and are unlikely to at this point?
- What do you want to do next?