Why Oral Histories
For many thousands of years, spoken language has been the primary means by which humans have saved their personal stories, but often these tales trickle off into obscurity until they forever fade away. Many of us have found ourselves forgetting the details of an important anecdote. We feel safe in assuming that at least one sibling, organized uncle, or longtime employee will remember the details, only to find that the particulars have slipped out of the collective memory forever. Nothing is truly stable.
Our memories are in constant flux, and so then are the stories we remember and tell. On a good day we are able to conjure exactly how the river smelled to us that first time we tossed a line into the riffles. Other days are fuzzier; we see our past like faded photos, grainy and indistinct. The time to preserve important stories is now—while our memories are still alive and well.