Church group helps elderly remember

Family History Project helps seniors at assisted living center document their memories


Sixty students from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from Cypress, Texas, spent Good Friday learning the pasts of dozens of elderly residents remember their past, forming a solid document that their families for generations to come will treasure.

The Franklin Park Stone Oak Assisted Living Center hosted the group all day as part of a family history project spearheaded by a church conference currently underway at the San Antonio Mormon Temple.

Small groups of teens spent two hours asking questions of the elderly volunteers, learning everything from their likes and dislikes, to their scariest memory and greatest regret.

Carol Huitt, 91, had many memories, some of which brought confusion if not a chuckle from the young onlookers.

"We had a Victrola and it played records and we stored the records inside it," said the former C.P.A from Nacodoches.

She also reminisced about her career teaching and the trends of mini dresses, which the students quickly reminded her were still being worn today.

The students ages were 14 to 18 years old.

Their interview subjects though at times had trouble remembering their ages.

One couldn't remember if she was 86 or 96, but she reasoned that it didn't really matter at this point in life. She did however have a definite answer to the question, "What would be the one thing you would change in the world?"

Evelyn Jopling said immediately, " Let there be peace, shining peace. And let the Longhorns win."

That made the entire room chuckle.

The leader of the student group says it was important for the young people to connect with those much older than themselves, but also for the seniors to be heard.

Tim Girgenti explained, "A couple of them said they had vitamins injected into their system. One of them said she had so much energy she could take her wheelchair up a mountain."

The answers to all the questions were jotted down in a binder that will be given to the families of the elder subjects as a means to keep the memories alive for generations to come.

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