Interview: DEAN RENFRO Publishes The Official Nana and PawPaw Making Memories Starter Guide

    That sparked the whole idea and then six years ago when my mom was … Back in the late nineties, early two thousand when my grandmother had died, my mom’s mom died, she was in her nineties. I realized, I began to think about then going “A lot of history, and life experience, and personal stories just left, just left this earth. Yeah my mom knows them, and my aunt knows them, and my uncles know them.” First thing you know two of my uncles die and then my aunt dies and then I realizes mom’s it. Mom is the story that’s left and we better do something. Then we discover she has Alzheimer’s, and so then it began to be a scramble. How do I take what mom has and the stories mom has and move them into something that’s more permanent to share with my kids and grandkids. Of course part of that came about because of us living all over Texas we weren’t living next door to grandma.

    Some of those stories will have to come through me to get to my kids. That began the “We better do something here” big why thing of why we’re going to write now.

Tami Patzer: You were really inspired by the fact that you saw the fact that your mother was the last of the long line of the story keepers, or tellers of the stories, and if you didn’t figure out a way to capture that the stories would disappear unless you had them. You have two books that you’ve recently published. What the titles of those and then you can describe what those books are.
Dean Renfro: These two books are totally different. I have a business book that I wrote, but these books are totally different. These are a labor of love, a passion experience that had led to that. The first book that we put out and made the best seller is they all have long names. I got that from the Dan Kennedy thing. Say what you’re going to say in the title of the book if you can do it. The first one is “The Official” … Of course Official’s capital so people are looking for it. It’s the official … Here I’m just drawing a blank, that’s terrible. I’ve had to talk about it so many times.

Tami Patzer: The Nana and Pawpaw Book.

Dean Renfro: It’s “The Official Nana and PawPaw Memory Making Starter Guide” and then it’s got a long subtitle to it. Then the second book I decided “Wait a minute, I need to shorten it up so I can remember it better” because you just got an experience of that. It’s “The Official Making Memory Starter Guide For” and in this case it’s moms. It talks about the fact of … The book is really written out of the experience of how do you move past the good intention? That’s how the book got started.

Tami Patzer: What exactly is in the book, and if I want to capture my family stories, give me an idea how the books will help me.
Dean Renfro: Out of my inexperience I would talk about “I need to write that down”, or “I need to record that”, or “I need to remember that and I need to make sure this happens and that happens.” I realized as most people who start writing, or at least many people who write and then start to write, there’s this huge blankness just like I had just a moment ago come over you and like “What am I going to write about and how do I do that?” They look at the blank paper, or in this case even a blank screen and they never get anything down. The look at their phone and they know “I could do this on my phone” but they never do. The guide, The Making Memories Starter Guide is just that, it is a journal that is kind of a here’s how you get started. What I did is we took fifty questions that people could ask, the interview approach of the newspaper reporter to give you an opportunity to start writing the answers down.

     While the book is not prolific in stories and content, it is prolific in the opportunity to start writing these things down. It’s a journal based on a journal approach where you start writing them down and you answer the question which basically starts building a story for you. I learned that feature from Mike [inaudible 00:10:48] and that you start asking the right questions you’ll start getting a story. The idea there is then to begin the story. Then in various parts throughout the book we talk about “here’s the way to help you continue to story to the generations to come.” The simple concept of now every smartphone has a camera and a recorder on it so turn the camera on and the recorder on and talk to your future audience. Whether it be your kids, or your grandkids, or your great grandkids, or even generations to come that aren’t born yet, introduce yourself, tell your story.

    That’s how the book is designed to give you a way to get started, answer questions, and then we have things in there like “Talk about mistakes that you made in life, or tips that you would have, or traditions that your family practices, or things you want to make sure that people know about. Things like medical history.” We discovered from my grandmother and her going into the latter years of her life that she carried this certain trait in her blood. Of course led us to some things to realize what is that? Then we found out I was a carrier of it, and that one of kids is a carrier of it, which is fine until they marry somebody else that has the same trait and then their kids would have terrible deformities. We realize “Oh okay, our kids need to know about that.” That’s one of those stories had that not happened, some terrible things could’ve happened to my grandkids had that not happened.

Tamara "Tami" Patzer

Tamara "Tami" Patzer is a publisher at Women Innovators Publishing and is a popular host at Business Innovators Radio. She has surpassed 500 interviews. She is the creator of Daily Success and award-winning Women Innovators. She works with authors, influencers, innovators, and trendsetters who offer professionals services. Tami teaches Social Media and Marketing courses at Florida Gulf Coast University.