How this book came about
My father in law Bill died five years ago. He insisted on staying in his home until the end. Winters in Minnesota are long, cold, and lonely especially for someone who is afraid to venture out. In his last months, I felt compelled to drive the one hundred miles to visit him. We would sit at his kitchen table, and I would tell him about what the kids were up to… and what I had been doing. His major topic of conversation was the rabbits he saw as he stared for hours out the back window of his house.
During this time, I shared with my mother how difficult visits with Bill were becoming. He had so little to share, and I wondered if the visits even mattered.
Not long after, Mom gave me a notebook filled with a list of questions. She suggested I try asking Bill some of these questions to make our visits more enjoyable. “Leave it on the counter,” she advised. “The grandchildren might appreciate using the questions. I took the notebook over to Bill’s house and meant to get started the next time we visited. That was the last time I spoke with Bill. And now he is gone, and so many questions remain unanswered.
Joan Berger Bachman, 2017
Eileen Opatz Berger graduated from the College of St. Benedict and the University of Wis/River Falls. Presently she teaches English as a Second Language. Along with her family, foreign students have been the joy of her life. Favorite pastimes include travel, writing, and tennis. She currently divides her time between White Bear Lake, MN and Sun City West, AZ.
Joan Berger Bachman is extremely pleased and proud to be coauthoring a book with her mom! As a teenager, Joan recalls her mother’s advice: “When you are in a social situation, always make an effort to ask each person three questions. This shows that you are interested in what they have to say…” In other words, give people the opportunity to talk about themselves! Generally, people are pleased to share, and you will have deflected the attention from yourself! So it comes as no real surprise that four decades later, she has coauthored a book filled with questions to promote quality conversations! Joan resides with her husband John in Rochester, Minnesota. Proud mother of three grown children and grandmother to five, she is grateful for family, for health, and for friends who continue to enrich her life.