For me the the time I spent with those elderly relatives was special. I was able to interact with them and I hope they enjoyed the time with me as much as I did with them.
I listened to the tales they told, stories of yesterday and some of the incidental snippets of life, things otherwise lost in the test of time. For me, those stories are priceless and I managed to retain the information as much as I could, in my series of rather battered notebooks, all the pages are dated and the name of the individuals was retained on the page.
The reason I personally bother with oral history is that those tales of yesterday enable me to connect to those early ancestors and that is a great feeling. Some of those snippets need to be of course verified, but they set me on a path of discovery. One of those snippets and the subsequent verification I outlined in the earlier post, Why Bother, yet some cannot be verified. My Great Aunt told me for example what she wore to her confirmation. She described it in detail and I can only record it as such, there were no photographs of the event, but I have no doubt to discount her memories of this particular event.
Despite the amount of questions I asked earlier generations, I certainly wish I had asked many more. Never leave to tomorrow what you can ask today, for tomorrow may be too late.
Yes. And those stories can give clues to what happened, maybe with a twist, but still important information. I regret that I did not sit down and learn the stories directly from my grandparents. I just caught snippets here and there or retold later by the next generation.
Yes to listen to people tell stories often has me scribbling to remember it all.