Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Just Hurry Up and Listen

By Chuck Ayers

I am certainly not a trained historian. But lately when I chat with elderly men or women and engage them in conversation about their early growing up experiences, I attempt to follow their personal chronicles with great interest. This is surely aided by my little pocket digital recorder. I have recently been able to harvest an abundance of colorful history from senior town's folks. And, usually the most unsuspecting common and humble person generally has the most interesting story to tell, people who often shy away from talking about themselves. People from the back streets of society. People such as: Farmers plowing with mules, oil field workers missing fingers, farmer's wives cooking with wood burning stoves, or immigrant mill workers, for the most part, have the richest accounts of life. All who had carried the weight while carving out hard earned history.

Almost all these ordinary people have captivating stories. A spoken life's narrative Otherwise known as oral history. A verbal history seeming to be the mortar that bonds together the larger brick house of history.

Once an older person begins recounting his or her past, I usually have a tendency to ask too many questions born out of curiosity. However, I am learning to just let them naturally pour out their fountain of memories like an Oklahoma gusher. But, I want to know everything. I feel we have limited time to explore their rich experiences. So many people to talk to. Many questions to ask. So little time left in their lives. And most importantly, so much we amateur oral historians can learn.

What I like about oral history is the emotion and honesty heard in the speaker's voice. You know they've been there and experienced history up close and personal. Hands-on living history. They have a convincing sincere tone. Most matter of fact but no big deal. And, to them, it was just another experience filed away in to their deep well of memories.

These "Salt of the earth" people sometimes had incredible Experiences and for the moment, forgotten. Buried away until someone like myself goes in the goldmine of his or her memory to extracts a priceless experiential nugget. Usually an experience that seems worlds away from our own experience. A spoken capsule of history that sometimes aids in connecting the historical dots from the past to the present.

To view my all new website and Blog, go to: Web-log, Your Mail, Music, My Weekly Radio Show, Essays, Favorite Breakfast Places, and More.

The Wilson Digital Recorder

The Wilson is a state-of-the art digital voice recorder that is simple to use and inexpensive. Makes a great gift! Record up to eight hours of voice messages and download to your computer via the included USB cable.

  • Stores multiple messages
  • Easily add or delete messages
  • Clips to your belt, visor, or purse
  • LP/SP switch for "Long Play" or "Standard Play" (shorter recording time, better sound quality)
Use to Record:
  • Phone numbers
  • Addresses
  • Shopping List
  • Reminders
  • To-do lists
  • Notes
  • Appointments
  • Messages
  • Lectures
  • Directions
  • Audio instructions
  • And much more!

Measures 2 x 3 x 0.5 inches.

Note: Requires 2 AAA batteries (not included).

Note: The Wilson digital recorder is not related to the Wilson Reading System product and is not available on quota.

Catalog Number:
Click this link to purchase The Wilson Digital Voice Recorder.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
Web site:
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In the First Person

"An index to letters, diaries, oral histories, and personal narratives," in text, audio or video. Browse through repositories, collections, historical event, subject, etc. or search for specific collections or documents. Some of the documents and collections indexed here are available only to subscribing institutions, but much of this material is free.

Click this link to visit

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