A Family History, On Tape

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Historians have made careers out of examining pieces of paper — letters, manuscripts, articles — to decipher just a little bit of history, to learn someone's story. But in an age of smartphones and digital file-sharing, why aren't we letting our family members' voices speak for themselves? Why don't we record more of their advice, their stories, their lives, with a camera?

When Ben Heineman, Sr. passed away on August 5, that was one of the many thoughts going through his son's mind. Just a few weeks after his father's death, Ben Heineman Jr., a senior fellow at Harvard Law School, says not catching his father on tape is one of his only regrets — and says we should take advantage of the age we're living in. 

That's exactly what Takeaway listener Gigi Gerben did. A teacher and mother in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Gerben recorded her father before he died unexpectedly last year. She stresses the importance of having the recording to cherish in her family.