Alisa Guthrie, 30, brought her husband Christopher Cogle, 36, to the StoryCorps MobileBooth and interviewed him about living with Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy.
Christopher explained that as a student in medical school he learned he could die suddenly of his type of muscular dystrophy. However, thanks to his heart donor, he has about another 30 years to raise a family with Alisa and continue putting his medical expertise to work with his cancer patients.
When asked about meeting Alisa for the first time, Christopher recalled, “I was instantly in love with you. I actually felt like it was irresponsible of me because I didn’t want you to hang your hat on someone who wasn’t going to live.”
Alisa assured Christopher that she wouldn’t want it any other way responding. “I don’t see it as a burden. I feel like I live fully and wholly with you. I thank you for that.”
On Sunday, the listening event we’d been planning for weeks went off 100% hitch-free. A large audience of nearly 50 people, including community partner prospects, StoryCorps fans and passersby, came together in the presentation hall at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.
A silence fell over the room as the late Studs Terkel began a soliloquy on the human voice, a passionate portrait of man’s devotion to the art of storytelling. I could tell it was well received when the audience failed to notice the bumbling amateur photographer (me) rushing to each side of the room to take essentially the same photograph. Site Supervisor Sarah Geis followed the the recording of Studs with a proper introduction loaded with audio goodies and a basic breakdown of the StoryCorps essentials.
MobileWest has found its new home between four mountain ranges, among thousands of cacti, and just north of the border in downtown Tucson. We are parked in front of the historic courthouse and next to the main library. This little square is busy during the day and lit up by night. We have been welcomed here by many people that stop by the booth to ask questions, share their stories, or tell us their favorite place to get delicious local foods. We have had several interviews in one of the common languages of the Southwest, Spanglish. Sentence to sentence, word to word, English and Spanish jump back and forth. In this city of interwoven language and history, MobileWest is looking forward to hearing many more stories, in the many languages and voices of the Southwest.
This love story begins in, of all places, Las Vegas. “I came to the United States to be an entertainer,” said Sally Habana-Hafner. Sally was an 18-year-old college student in the Philippines when she heard about an audition for a Philippine Festival Show in Las Vegas. Months later she found herself dancing on a Vegas stage. “It didn’t last very long because it was too decent a show.” Sally laughed. Her career as a Vegas showgirl lasted one glorious year in which she got to hang with Elvis and Sammy Davis, Jr. among other Vegas entertainers. Frustrated by the Vegas lights, Sally quit showbiz to go back to college where, as fate would have it, she met her husband, Jim Hafner.
Suffice it to say, Tulsa is a town of growth. The thriving arts scene, amazing food, people, and architecture. All roses that bloom through the concrete of past pain and indifference. You see, Tulsa was home to one of the largest race riots in US History. In 1921, the thriving black neighborhood of Greenwood was stormed…
People lost their lives in attempts to protect some semblance of what both sides considered to be right.
For our San Francisco StoryBooth listening event this past Sunday, Facilitators Alex Lyon and Patricia Hemphill created a slide show of the StoryCorps experience. Enjoy!
It is such a joy to see communities working together to bring StoryCorps to their town. WMNF community run public radio (a member of Pacifica‘s listener supported community radio stations) is our partner in Tampa, Florida to bring StoryCorps to the Ybor City neighborhood. Started in 1979, the station became Florida’s first community radio station. “WMNF celebrates and promotes the creative, cultural and political vitality of the local community.”
The East MobileBooth is parked in Ybor City, formed when Vicente Martinez Ybor opened a cigar factory in Florida to make his Cuban cigars. WMNF, the Ybor City State Museum, YCDC, Artist and Writers, and Tre Amici’s coffee all stepped forward to make StoryCorps feel welcome from great promotion and community outreach to restaurant recommendations and cafe con leche! The history and hospitality of this area is palpable, and we expect some great stories.
It is an ancient question: If a tree falls in the woods and there is no one present to hear it, does it make a sound?
While there isn’t enough space on this blog to indulge in the many theoretical answers to this question, it does play a large part in how StoryCorps is perceived. Since 2003 we have worked diligently collecting oral history and the voices of the common person. But what defines a voice? If the participant cannot or chooses not to speak audibly can we still hear them?
It’s not a trick question. The answer is yes.
As I read about the ongoing efforts of Proposition 8 opponents here in California this week, I am reminded of Helen Haug and Pamela Calvert who came in to the San Francisco StoryBooth to record their story of getting married to each other five times now and counting.
Their first wedding was a traditional Quaker marriage in New York, in all but the name since at that time their Quaker Meeting was not recognizing same sex unions as “marriages.” Their next four attempts to get their relationship recognized have happened here in the state of California.
One of the things Alaska is known for is its vast abundance of big, hearty, “ruff and gruff” men. While they no longer outnumber Alaskan women fifteen to one, they do very much still exist. Two of them came to StoryCorps Barrow on Saturday and showed that Alaskan men can be tough, kind, and sentimental all at the same time.
Eric Estes brought his co-worker and friend, John Long, to StoryCorps for a couple of reasons. One is that John has a wealth of knowledge about Alaska. After all, John was just six-years-old when he sailed on the SS Aleutian through the Inside Passage and arrived in Alaska. The year was 1947, twelve years before Alaska saw statehood.
With such beautiful architecture in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, we had to showcase these photos in their own slideshow. Enjoy!
Day photos by Daniel Littlewood. Night photos by Naomi Greene.
Author Po Bronson, with whom I share a hometown and a high school, walked readers through the discovery of their professional paths in his 2002 New York Times bestseller, What Should I Do With My Life? I didn’t ask myself this question until my senior year in college and I still haven’t come up with a sufficiently satisfying answer. Meanwhile, I hold deep admiration and envy for those who have always known what their life’s work would be. The derivative trader, for example, who capitalized on a knack for math and threshold for risk, or the jazz saxophonist who discovered a passion for music at 11 and years later so inspired practiced for months in the solitude of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Bridge.
The National Bureau of Economic Research recently made it official. We have been in a recession since December of last year. The longest recession since the Great Depression. Up and down we go: gas prices, Fannie, Freddie, stocks, your 401k, the auto industry. What if we could change the idea of “economy?” What if your ability to rake leaves for an hour could earn you a haircut?
Mary Hinkson Jackson is a proud member of an African American family of firsts. Her daughter, Jennifer, gave her the Storycorps experience as a birthday gift. At this milestone in her life, Mary thought it was appropriate to honor the contributions of members of her family who rose above systemic limitations.
Mary’s sister, Cordelia Hinkson and her cousin, Georgine Willis, were the among the first African American women to attend Cornell University.
When the East MobileBooth stopped in Buffalo, New York this past summer, Jennifer Gayles, 31, came to listen to her mother Diane Gayles, 58, tell childhood stories. Having grown up on a farm, Diane had quite a few to tell.
On one occasion, Mrs. Gayles was playing in the bed of an old pickup truck when her brother shouted for her to run. Suspecting a trick, she was unmoved by her brother’s increasingly insistent pleas. However, when he took off at top speed himself, she figured the situation required further investigation.
Cathy Dew and Andrea Pook are best friends.
This is clear to anyone who happens to be in the same room (or booth) with them at any given time. Their conversation ebbs and flows with a comfort and familiarity that only comes with years of comraderie. They don’t finish each other’s sentences because they don’t need to; it’s already understood.
When they first arrived at the booth, both seemed a little unsure of exactly what it was they were getting into. The conversation started off a little timidly.
MobileBooth West traveled along Oklahoma highways to record at the Chickasaw Nation in Ada, Oklahoma. Several of the conversations were recorded in Chickasaw, a language that is being revitalized in the community as classes are now offered at schools and community centers. The Chickasaw Nation’s territory includes more than 7,500 square miles of south-central Oklahoma and encompasses part of 13 counties. We made these recordings in a little whisper room at the Chickasaw multimedia center, where films and recordings are made about Chickasaw history and culture. The Chickasaw Nation is one of the largest employers in the region and through its business ventures has invested in building a successful social infrastructure for its people. The Nation provides health care, education, and means of promoting its cultural identity.
Dignity does not float down from heaven it cannot be purchased nor manufactured. It is a reward reserved for those who labor with diligence. – Bill Hybels
Different people learn in different ways. Some people flourish in an environment of text books, lectures and memorization while others prefer a more hands on approach. Dignity Project is an organization committed to helping students whose gifts are better cultivated outside the classroom.