Guest Author: Riggs Brown

My grandmother is one of my greatest inspirations. She grew up in Detroit and moved to Phoenix just after high school. She attended Arizona State and in her third year she worked with the student government and Arizona Legislature to make the change from Arizona State College to Arizona State University.

After graduation she became one of the first female members of the Arizona Legislature and became an active voice for all things Arizona. She rubbed elbows with legends such as Sandra Day O’Connor and Barry Goldwater, she was the first woman to be elected to serve on the Arizona Corporation Commission, she was the acting president of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, she joined West-MEC and helped grow it into a thriving Career and Technical Education program, and she keeps finding ways to get involved even though she’s been “retired” for three years now. Yet to me, her roles were always secondary to her stories. Her resume is impressive, but the tales she tells about how she would play pranks on Goldwater, or how she knew Dr. Michael Crow would make a great President of ASU, or how when she was on the Corporation Commission she got the Attorney General so wound up the Governor at the time made the ACC get their own legal division – those are what make her so special.

I know these stories so well because they are so good. I also know them because she tells them ALL. THE. TIME. Most people in my family can basically recite alongside her the story of how she got elected. Or the one about when she and Grandpa were hosting a party and he would walk up and drop ice cubes down the back of her shirt right before she shook hands with someone just to make everyone laugh. They’re the kind of stories that never get old until they do. And yet one day, they won’t anymore.

My grandmother is the worst about writing. She loves to chat and speak, but you ask her to sit down and write a speech and it more often than not won’t happen. So asking her to start journaling all of these stories? Not a chance. But these are the stories that I don’t want to lose. Especially because I know for every story I have memorized by now, there are another three or four I’ve never really heard. And while I would love to sit and push her to tell me everything, to grab a notebook and start writing myself, I picked up the genes of being a terrible self-journalist. Like Grandma, I love reading and I like writing, but definitely not about myself. I wanted to get her something that will encourage her to share new stories and find a way for my family to hold on to them. That’s why I got Quilted.

With Quilted’s “Legacy” package I was able to ask questions I never thought to ask before, thanks to the unique professional interview-style questions pre-built into the gift. I also added my own to make sure the stories I wanted to save forever were there. And as a gift for someone who calls me once a week to ask how to “Fix Netflix because it’s broken,” I knew finding something that was greater than just “user-friendly” was key. Quilted took care of that too, with their notifications to add stories and “push one button” interface, the recording process was incredibly simple. She knew enough of her way around a smartphone to take an excellent video. On my end, I was able to see each video, help her edit, and put together basically a digital journal of all her stories. I learned so many I had never heard before now, and the ones I did know felt even more special.

Stories are what bring us together as families. They show us where we came from and remind us that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. My grandmother’s stories remind me that there is always an opportunity for growth and change, and that getting older doesn’t mean slowing down. But as her stories feel more and more repetitive, I am also reminded that she won’t be here forever. I want to be able to record her memories now, while she is still here to tell them to me instead of waiting and trying to piece them together later. With Quilted, I’m able to make that happen.  

This holiday season, I invite you to give the person whose stories you want to hear the gift of preserving and sharing memories. Whether looking for something new to experience with your loved ones or looking for a last-minute yet incredibly memorable gift, Quilted is a way to make anyone in your life feel loved and heard.