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The seventy-something year-old mother of friends of ours is British. Her father was working in Syria (where the family lived) in the forties and they sent her to boarding school in England when she was still in elementary school. During this time World War II broke out, and she spent a year separated from her family at a time when Britain was being bombed. Though "non-essential" travel was severely restricted at that time (and dangerous), her father journeyed through bribery and stealth to reach her and return her with him to Syria. This is all I know. I want to interview her (if she's willing) and tell her family's story. If something comes of the book, I'd like to share the proceeds with her. How do you set something like this up from the beginning so there is no misunderstanding or hard feeling. I have great respect for her and her family is good friends. Advice?
I think you just need to be honest with everyone. Talk to her the same way you presented this to us. Let her know that her story intrigues you and you want to preserve it. I think honesty is the most important thing. If you have good intentions, she'll see that and if she wants her story told, she'll tell it to you. I've been collecting family stories for about two years now, and my great aunt loves telling me about the past. It makes her happy to share her stories and keep them going, and I think you're looking to do the same thing. What a great way to share a family's history forever.
Come on over to my blog and lurk a little!
Thank you. I am grateful for the helpful advice on how to handle the discussion with the family. I'd also welcome some comments on structuring the legal/fiscal realities going in so that there are no hard feelings coming out? What is customary when you are telling someone else's story?
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