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My Experience with Remento: Natasha Breu

September 2022

Tags:

Personal Interview
Oral History
Family Stories
From the Community

Natasha wanted to learn about and record her grandmother's stories from World War II. She used Remento to guide her conversation, pulling in old photos to give greater context to the memories from her Oma's youth. In her own words, follow along as she explored an early version of the Remento iOS App.

Natasha Breu using the Remento App

Memories make us who we are and allow us to reflect on the highs and lows we experience as we develop through the years. We’re constantly documenting events in real-time in this new digital age, but sometimes we want to reflect on the past. So how do we utilize technology to carry memories into the future? This is where Remento comes in. Family is the most precious aspect of many of our lives, and we would do whatever it takes to preserve a grandparent’s voice or decipher the history behind a family heirloom. 

It was always my goal to document my Oma’s (grandmother) stories of growing up in Germany during World War II, including her witnessing the rise of Nazism and the aftermath. She spoke fondly of the American soldiers who provided her chocolates and gave her warm smiles. I was also particularly interested in her teenage years and the memories behind the gorgeous photos I’d seen of her when I was young. She looked like an absolute movie star and I wanted to know who she was before she got married and started a family.

Photo of Natasha's grandmother, Maria Louise Breu, as a child at her Uncle's house

A lot of her history is in writing but there’s a certain element missing - her character. I wanted to document her stories in a way that didn’t require taking a random video or audio recording just to fade into the depths of my phone storage over time. I thought about scrapbooking but quickly realized I did not have the time nor patience, so that idea didn’t get me far. When I was introduced to Remento, I was excited at the idea of merging options for photo, video and audio in one centralized place.

From the moment I downloaded and opened the app, I was drawn to the various prompts and templates available that covered a variety of topics from recording a memory for your mom or dad, questions to ask your grandparent, or creating an anniversary gift for your partner. The app displays options to preserve key moments from nearly any point in life and you have the power to build narratives and create projects you can share with others.

I wanted to specifically focus on the projects I could build with my Oma as she grows older and wants to leave a legacy behind for her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Coming to terms that a family member is aging is a difficult concept to process. Of course, I’d love to remember everything about her, from her beautiful silver hair to her incredible baked treats. As she lives in Germany and I only get to see her so often, I wanted a way to feel as though I was creating a shared experience with her even when we’re apart. 

Photo of Natasha's grandmother at the age of 22 at her Uncle's house

One of the first projects I tried out was “Questions to Ask a Grandparent” and I loved the unique questions provided that offered a foundation to open up a heartwarming conversation. The format allows you to record a video of your grandparent speaking as they answer the question below the screen. This is great if you have a chance to meet with your grandparent in person, and you get to watch them share memories on video. 

According to the app, there will soon be a feature where you can share a link directly with others, which makes it easier to streamline the process for getting information to other family members or friends. Another aspect I liked on several projects was the option to upload photos and speak over them. This worked really well when I interviewed my Oma via phone call using the prompt, “Reflect on Scrapbook Photos.” When I attempted to scrapbook in the past, I saved my favorite photos of her which I ended up uploading to the app. It was incredible hearing her revisit the past, saying she remembered when and where each photo was taken and how she felt in the moment.

Photo of Natasha's grandmother at age 18 in 1952 in Mannheim, Germany

If you only want the audio of your recording (and not the video), you have the option to export your project without it so you can focus solely on the prompts with audio or audio and photos. The overall experience is user friendly and there’s exciting updates in development. Being able to centralize projects in a single app that can save you time while encouraging creativity is a game-changing solution for documenting history.

Personally, it’s important to me to document my family’s history as I want to pass on these memories to my future children as technology continues to expand. Leaving behind a legacy for future generations matters because everyone wants to know where they come from and how past experiences shaped them into who they are today. Remento is a great way to open up conversations between loved ones in a modernized digital format that can be transferred easily for years to come, bringing you and your family closer together throughout the generations.

Photo of Natasha's grandmother's courthouse wedding at the age of 25

About Natasha Breu

Natasha is a freelance writer with a master’s degree in Arts Journalism & Communications from Syracuse University as well as a full-time research analyst in the private investigation industry. She is particularly interested in transforming life experiences into compelling narratives that readers from all generations can relate to. Follow her on Twitter @nnbreu to keep up with her latest work.

Tags:

Personal Interview
Oral History
Family Stories
From the Community