Last week I met up with Lee Lewis (WRVS) and one of her volunteers at the Uplands Residential Home in Shrewsbury, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as this is a new area of work for us, using the internet as a tool for reminiscing.
I was armed with my laptop and the other two ladies had objects and postcards to share. We plonked ourselves down in the lounge area where the residents entertained family visitors and began to make conversation with the group. I quickly established that at least one member grew up in Tibberton Shropshire and found the local church using Google. It turned out that the others were family members and this sparked them into reminiscing about how the 2 sisters, Freda and Ulla had both got married and had been bridesmaids for one another too.
Freda started laughing because her family and most of the village had told her not to get involved with her husband Victor! As you can imagine they have been together for quite some time now. His family originated from Watersupton, we managed to find his grandfather’s house using Google earth’s street view. This started a conversation about how his Grandfather was the local doctor and the surgery was situated at the front of the house.Of course this was well before the NHS and people had to pay to get any help.
Apparently his family were part of a service that organised medical care for the village. I think they went by the name of Goodfellows. The Goodfellows would be given a couple of pennies a month by different families in the village and this would be kept safe until someone was ill and either needed to see the doctor or receive treatment. The Goodfellows would then pay the Doctor or pay for the medical treatment and the sick person would be given a receipt that they would hand over to the Doctor or hospital.
The whole experience was full of laughter…I have some fab pictures! It was so easy to do and I think we all found it rewarding and worthwhile. Next time we need to record the story’s and I plan to have a conversation with Lee about finding some funding for them to invest in a tablet for this type of thing. The laptop was great, however to get full interaction I think we need something a little more practical and compact. The laptop is a little heavy and awkward whereas the tablet could be easily passed around.
Using the internet as a tool in this way was brilliant as we were able to find things many of these people probably hadn’t seen or heard in years. As you know through the internet we can access all sorts of wonderful things that could kick start a memory or stir the imagination. I view it as a big library a resource that allows us to tap into images, music, films, history….