*Guest entry* - A happy nana - 5 October 2015

When I heard about what Know Your Nation was doing in Fremantle, I was instantly interested.  Being very close to my grandmother, rather, my nana, I had often witnessed the affect of social inclusion on her mood.  I can see that Know Your Nation works on this premise.

When we arrived for our one hour session, Nana was a little shy. She explained to the KYN ladies “but I’m not much of a talker”. The ladies were so kind to her, explaining there was no pressure, absolutely no content expectations, and no need to even continue if she wasn’t 100% comfortable. 

The KYN ladies then left us alone in an exquisite lounge room they had set up, with some coffee, a small recording device on the table, and helpful list of examples of the kind of questions I could ask if I wanted.

Very quickly Nana was 100% comfortable, and both of us forgot there was a recording device was on the table. She opened up about life before she moved to Australia, her childhood, her rubbish first marriage. As we left the session I saw Nana relish in the interaction with the KYN ladies; cracking jokes and laughing. Afterward as we sat down to lunch she said to me "I can't believe someone is interested in my life, I really enjoyed our day". She was simply happy.

The format made for a less self-centred granddaughter

The whole purpose of the session was to hear her stories. That meant, that for this hour, the conversation was just about her.  I asked questions, and I listened. Something I thought I already did when I caught up with Nana, but during the session I found myself redirecting her stories back to conversation about my life, and my stories. The session taught me the importance of just listening and that maybe it’s a skill I need to work on. 

Nana’s stories captured for others to hear

I’m so glad a small amount of Nana’s stories will be able to be shared with others. I’ve always considered myself so privileged to hear all about her diverse and challenging life. It’s bought me a perspective and an appreciation for how easy my life has been. 

Something I was always cherish

Not only will the recording capture the history of a woman living in Perth, and preserve the cultural history of Perth. For me, I will hold the recording with me for life so I will always able to be transported to her kitchen table; where she would tell me the stories that have had a profound impact on who I am today.