I thought the Fact Sheet was a wonderful tool. The amount of information collected seemed to be thorough and the finished book covered everything I thought it should. Having a preliminary brainstorming is extremely useful and allows everyone to get out of it what is important, and ensure that everyone is on the same page. The feedback from my father is that the interviews were an appropriate length and met our expectations. We have a family business, and I highly recommend capturing the stories related to the business history. After all, America was built on small businesses and the stories are always interesting. I’m glad we did this project!
I enjoyed doing the interviews with Nanette and I thought everything went very well. I also really appreciated the fact that Nanette worked so well with my family, especially my daughter, who commissioned the project. It was all excellent and I appreciate all the help in capturing my memoirs.
These remembrances would neither have been created in this way nor have been published were it not for Nanette Randall and Memoirs by Design. Nanette facilitated the entire process by interviewing Mother on multiple occasions and helping her share her memories; meeting with family members; making numerous audio recordings and transcriptions of those recordings; scanning photographs; researching; aiding in editing and publishing; corresponding by text, email, and phone; and urging me—over several years—to complete the project. Without Nanette’s expert knowledge and help, this book would be just another file on my computer. I am grateful beyond words for her professional counsel and endearing friendship.
I thought the Fact Sheet asked just the right amount of information to write my story. The amount of information in the finished book covered everything it needed to, and I especially liked the historical information Nanette added. I am so glad I wrote my story! All of my wishes and desires were more than met. The photographs exceeded my wildest dreams, and the feedback was very positive from my readers. Distributing my photos throughout the book was a good decision. The cost of the project was more than I had originally planned but I have no regrets. The book quality is superb, and the finished product exceeded all my expectations. I am thrilled. The process was delightful as was the outcome. I enjoyed the communication with Nanette, and through her, the feedback from the proofreader and designer. All in all, it was a wonderful experience.
The books were delivered today and we will get them out to the family soon. We are really glad to have some of my mother’s memories recorded. Everyone has to realize these are her memories, as she remembers them. It is how it had to be written, always in her opinion. Thank you for recording the story for us and getting it into print. None of us were able to do it.
Nanette does a wonderful job of conveying a person’s real life stories into one easy-to-read memoir-style book. She was very patient with my father and knew just how to get him to open up on subjects I hadn’t heard him talk about ever before! She is so kind and courteous. Her work is top-notch and I wouldn’t hesitate to have her tell a loved one’s story. I will be forever thankful to have the treasure of my father’s legacy to give to my children and then to their children.
Dear Nanette, It is a privilege and joy working with you. When I count my blessings, you are high among them. Thank you for applying your considerable talents towards making the publication of Mom’s memoirs a reality. With my admiration and fondest regards,
The experience of writing my father’s memoir with Nanette was exceptional. It is a treasure we will have in our family forever.
Nanette is an absolute pleasure to work with. She is professional, reliable and sees that her work is done right; down to the very last details.
I only wish everyone could have the incredible experience of gaining both the insight and knowledge of someone you care about after you learn about their history. It changes you.
I hope you will acquire what I did, in both the emotional charge and connection gained because you better understand their story, philosophies and ideology.
Working on my father’s life story was a truly inspiring experience that connected me to my father in ways I never thought possible. It also helped me jump start my own business vision, one that I have had for decades.
Caring for the Mother Ship
I gave my book to my brother and his wife and they couldn’t stop praising it!!! When we spoke on the phone they both went on and on about what a great memoir it is.
By the way, does one ever have a “second memoir” or “chapter” as an addition to the original memoir years later?
I received a copy of the book and I was extremely impressed. The pictures were a nice surprise. I am happy that I was able to contribute some small part to the book. It was a fun and an enjoyable experience to go down memory lane and help to share part of Ron’s life.
I was most impressed by how you took all of the accumulated information and organized it into a very interesting book. I know Jim Hruska feels the same way and please feel free to use us as professional references.
S&S Automotive Group
Dear Nanette –
I am SO glad Mom decided to write/record her memoir. It is great to have all the stories in writing and with photos to help me remember them all. Mom's right, we've heard a lot of the stories growing up, but again, it's so good to have them in writing.
As I was reading the memoir the first time, I felt like it moved fast, as if I was just skimming the surface of Mom's life. l was reading it like an autobiographical book and noticed myself wanting it/Mom to slow down, indulge me with more details and stories and reflections. But it's not an autobiographical novel like Isabel Allende's House of Spirits or Victor Villasenor's Rain of Gold, it's a memoir, a relatively brief accounting of Mom's life and memories and guiding beliefs. Mom and Nanette, can you write a second edition and a sequel? :)
I loved the tid-bits of stories sprinkled throughout--the occasional clear, specific image accompanying a memory. For example, the description of the straps Mom used to tighten her roller skates to her sneakers before she skated around the cement patio of the main house in Cuba, or the espresso Lolly let her sip in the kitchen. These are the pictures that made the memoir come alive for me. I would have loved to read even more about Granny Gert and Abuelito, Uncle Chips and Uncle Don. It felt as if there was a very light touch on these people that I think of as central to Mom's life... but perhaps there wasn't time or space for a deeper dive.
It has been hugely significant to me to talk with Mom about her memoir to understand some of her decisions about what she included and excluded, and about what she said and did not say.
I am also so grateful to have the photos dispersed throughout the memoir. I love seeing Granny Gert in her tennis outfit, or Mom holding Kristin and me on her lap. It's fun to see the photos and connect them with the text. Well done!
Written by a close friend to a storyteller after reading her book:
"I just finished your memoir….I loved it. Thank you. It was as if I was sitting with you, listening to you. Somehow, you mastered your history without being boring or ‘false’. It was a pleasure to read it and I want both my girls to read it.
"The pictures are wonderful….well, everything about it is just grand. And it is so YOU….you know yourself so well and it is a pleasure to read how you matured and love your family. I smiled, and then laughed at the small mention of Bruce. Not necessary to put in anything else! "
My book has gotten great reviews from all who have read it. More importantly, I am well satisfied with it. So, thank you.
I have shared my dad's memoirs with several close friends and they loved it. Thanks for a great project.
I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to have Dad's book - and how much others were absolutely so amazed and impressed with it. I have been living in Chicago the past 7 months to be with him and he passed away late last month. I was so fortunate to be able to spend that time with him. I wanted to let you know since you share his story with a very small circle. I am so thankful to have this book to hold forever along with my memories.
Dear Nanette- You did a wonderful job soliciting information from Mom, and the finished book is very professional in appearance and content. You were good at not imposing yourself into the book (which is why I wanted someone else to do Mom's story, and not me). Thanks for your patience with Mom and me throughout this project. I hope you understand how much she has appreciated this whole process. I am glad you enjoyed getting to know her, too. I am always struck by how she doesn't view herself as particularly intelligent, brave, curious or otherwise special.when her life experiences provide evidence to the contrary.
Thank you for your TLC. You have amazing patience. I am very impressed.
Seeing and hearing the reaction of my children and grandchildren is a biggest reason I am glad we did this. They tell me now that reading both the history and funny facts about our family and seeing the pictures is more precious than anything else I could ever have given them.
I am also grateful for the CD you gave to me of our interview. I would give anything to have a recording of my parent's voices today, and I am 87 years old! It is unimaginable the joy that the voice of my mom or dad could bring me today. Feeling this made me think that my grandchildren might like to hear me, too.
Dear Nanette- My story reflected the right amount of preparation and it was an accurate account of my life. My children liked the book, so that was a success! I think that several of my friends should do this so I have and will continue to recommend Memoirs by Design (and you) to them. I have told them that they will enjoy the experience and learn a lot as well.
Dear Nanette- The situation with my mother's story was probably not typical for you. I know that the interview was hard because of my mother's mental condition. I thank you for your extreme patience with both Mother Dear and me in this process. I am pleased with everything - from the Fact Sheet, to the Interview Questions, to the number of photographs we were able to include in my mother's story. The cost was appropriate and I will gladly recommend your service to other family and friends.
I just wanted to let you know that my mom gave us our books last night and they were wonderful. You did an awesome job. Thank you.
Frank and Virginia said the session was a delight and they thoroughly enjoyed it. I most certainly will talk up your services as I feel like it is a great thing to do. I wish we could afford to do the whole book at this time, but anything will be great. Hope your holidays were wonderful and you have a very happy and successful new year.
Dear Nanette- I have been waiting for a quiet moment to write to you. I talked with my Dad and he agreed that he liked the idea of talking with you. Unfortunately, he died unexpectedly on Jan 1. I am still in his home town with my siblings but will be going home on Friday. I really wish we had had the opportunity to get some of his history.
He did write down one of the stories he used to tell us when we were kids. He sent it to my daughter for her Christmas present. He ended it by saying that next time he saw her he would finish the story.
We are all very sad but know that he is with our mother now. Thank you for keeping in touch and good luck with your quest.
I just wanted to let you know that we presented Mom and my siblings with her story the other day while celebrating her birthday. Everyone just absolutely, thoroughly, 100% enjoyed them. They thought they were great. In fact, people were asking about your company and the work you do. I am sure you will end up having some business for the future from these people. Everyone was extremely impressed. Take care and thank you!
We have many caregivers coming over these days. We need 24-hr care now, and everyone is reading the story about Mother Dear. It is such a great thing to have, because they can see she had a life and story and they learn a little bit about her. I am so thankful for that little book.
This was a delightful project and one that will benefit the Museum for many years to come. We will be able to share this history with new tour guides that are in training. We also hope to shorten the story for use in creating a small book on the history of the family. We are delighted to have this recording in our possession. Thank you so very much for your generosity. The Museum
The Humphrey Museum
Nanette took the memories I had of my dog. She turned them into a beautiful story that still brings tears to my eyes whenever I read it.
Hi Nanette, I hope you are well. I wanted to let you know my mom died suddenly on March 23. My siblings have all remarked how grateful we are that we have her oral history. Thank you so very much!
Thank you for interviewing me and writing this short story about the birth of my son. It looks great! Thanks so much for everything and I will be in touch.
I just want to say thanks a lot for the job you did on my book. I'm so glad we did this! The response from everybody who has read it has been just great, and it's been so much more than I ever expected. I really appreciate everything you did to make it happen. If I can tell anybody about what a great job you did, tell them to call me!
Nanette stayed in touch with me over the course of several years while I kept thinking about working on my memoirs. Finally, I took the leap of faith needed and together we began the project in June 2015. Interviews were finished in a few short weeks. My story is a treasure! I’m so happy with it and so are the members of my family and friends with whom I have shared it. It was quite enjoyable taking a trip down memory lane, thinking about my childhood, my parents, my many siblings, the love of my life - my husband - and all my dear friends and of course, my beloved children and grandchildren. I highly recommend working with Memoirs by Design. The process is really delightful and fun. It makes a wonderful gift, too!
Our family legacy and history project began in 2013 and was completed in 2015. When we began working with Nanette and Memoirs by Design, no one in the family could have imagined so many facts would be remembered and recalled about our members, and in particular our matriarch, or her land. It was as if our beloved Cressie somehow sensed that the answers to the many questions were simply waiting to be asked and recalled.
I am very pleased that Nanette was able to able to capture so many memories and stories from family members and include them in our legacy book, which is a true labor of love. Quite simply, we never could have begun or finished such an undertaking without Nanette’s professional writing skills, guidance and assistance. I recommend Memoirs by Design to any storyteller and their family. I can attest to the fact that Nanette will help you finish what you never dreamed you might.
I wanted to include my thoughts as relates to Memoirs by Design and provide some of my personal insights that you can share with others who may use your services. I think the initial 'going in' thought process of what this type of gift can mean grows with the pre, during and post phases of the project.
Honestly, I never thought my father would have agreed to doing 'his story', but he did and the beauty is that it is truly a reflection of how he saw and remembered his life - the parts that held the greatest importance to him. As the daughter giving him this gift I never had the full understanding of how much this type of gift could mean both to him and me.
When he passed away 1 1/2 years later, I came across his book as I packed up his apartment and oh, what a treasure it is to have it. To know that he had the opportunity to express himself in his own words and that means everything to me. We all remember things 'in our own views' and sometimes we forget that memories vary as much as the individuals who participate.
So, I hope this helps to further express the value that your service has brought to me and I highly recommend it to everyone. It's such a special experience and keepsake.
A couple of years ago, we wanted to do something very special for our family. My mother-in-law, Rose, was elderly and in failing health. She had a lifetime of love for her family that we wanted to share with them. I knew we wanted her story written. However, I also knew that I didn't have the time or the proper experience to undertake such an important task.
I had been thinking of how to accomplish this when I saw an ad from Memoirs by Design in a local tennis publication. I had met Nanette on the tennis court a few times and decided to give her a call. She explained in detail what she could do for us. I knew immediately that Nanette could help us preserve these wonderful memories.
Nanette walked us through every step and made this fun and easy. She provided us with a detailed list of questions that we would complete with Rose's help. My husband and I met with Rose and went over every question - what a hoot! We had the grandest time! My husband says this was one of the best times he had with his mom and he learned many, many things that he didn't know before.
Then Nanette interviewed Rose on several occasions (this was all tape recorded). She made Rose so comfortable and at ease that the stories just flowed out of her! Nanette is so easy to talk to and she was very much aware of what Rose needed. My mother-in-law was in frail health and Nanette could just sense when Rose was getting tired and we'd need to stop and try again on another day. We gained so much enjoyment and knowledge from these sessions.
Now it was time to put the memories in writing. Nanette transcribed the tapes and then I went over the hard copy. We needed some clarification from Rose on a few things and after a couple of slight revisions we were ready to print! Nanette gave us several choices from paperback to hardback with lots of color and fabric choices. Everyone in the family was able to pick the fabric and binding for their special book.
The books came in after about four weeks and we were able to present them to Rose on her 87th birthday! I have rarely seen her so excited and happy as when she passed them our to her beloved family members. Everyone in the family was overjoyed to receive their own special copy. The response was overwhelming!
Rose passed away last month (about 15 months after the book was completed). It has been such a comfort to all of us to have her voice on the CD and her book to read again and again.
None of this would have been possible without Nanette! I cannot properly express my gratitude for the wonderful legacy she allowed Rose to pass on to all of us who so dearly loved her. She may be gone now, but we have her voice and her book filled with memories that will provide us comfort for years to come.
I would like to encourage anyone comtemplating having their own or a loved one's life journey memorialized by Nanette Randall to do it! The fun you will have, the knowledge you will gain, the memories you will preserve - priceless!!!!!
Dear Falkenberg Family,
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Humphrey Museum, I would like to sincerely thank you for your generous donation of $1556.25. This money was for a project that involved recording the history of the Humphrey family as told by our museum historian, Lois Lange. We want to thank you for suggesting this project as this was something we had wanted to record for a long time.
We were able to use Nanette Randall of Memoirs by Design who actually made the recording of Lois telling the history of the Humphreys. Ms. Randall then edited the tape and gave us a printed copy of the transcript as well as a CD version for our own purposes. We now have a recorded history in Lois' own voice telling the Humphrey family history as she knows it after her many years of research on the subject.
This has been a delightful project and one that will benefit the Humphrey Museum for many years to come. We will be able to share this history with new tour guides that are in training. We also hope to shorten the story for use in creating a small book on the history of the family in the future. Again, we are delighted to have this recording in our possession. Thank you so very much for your thoughtfulness and generosity!
Many many thanks for the beautiful copy of your work on the Humphreys Museum. I've not been in tough with them, and have not heard of their changes, etc.
Ruth and I ar very glad we could help to document such an interesting story, and we appreciate your efforts, and the result.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am pleased to recommend to you Nanette Randall for an engagement to assist you in writing a story about your organization.
Over the last year I had the responsibility for writing the history of an organization I helped establish and of which I later became President and CEO. Once into the project I thought it would be a better story if I could tell it orally and have someone else transcribe my thoughts, adding as necessary grammatical structure and providing preliminary editing. Through chance I learned of Ms. Randall and contacted her for an interview. The interview led me to hire her and fore a period of some weeks during the summer of 2008 she and I worked through a series of four and five hour sessions as I told the story of my organization. Each session was transcribed and at the end we had about 320 pages of oral history on 16 compact discs. While Ms. Randall would have taken the next step and organized the material and provided an edited manuscript, I chose to do that part myself.
Ms. Randall and I had a good working relationship. She was steady and engaged in the project from the beginning. Being able to narrate the story of my organization was an incentive to organize my thoughts and her encouragement helped me get started. It was tedious and she endured. She listened well and had good follow through on the transcriptions. I think her interpretation of what I said was accurate. She has a good business sense and understood the cultural aspects of my organization. I must say Ms. Randall was very professional, well organized and met or exceeded my expectations in all respects. Her service was most valuable and value was received.
John R. Moran, Jr.
See these articles about us.
"Saving history, one person at a time" in the Denver Catholic Register.
"Faith Memoirs" in the Denver Catholic Register.
"Save Your Life" in Explore Life from www.SeniorOutlook.com.
"Writer Helps Clients Leave Legacy" in Your Hub in The Denver Post.
If you like video, you'll love this 5-minute clip, produced by film historian, David Marshall. The video offers the same compelling reasons Memoirs by Design emphasizes on the importance of saving stories. Now. This day. This moment.
© Memoirs by Design Nanette Randall