The main point reiterated since I began working at StoryCorps has been the incredible importance of everyday people’s stories. My birthday passed at the end of this November and as a gift my mother flew out from Texas to visit. I decided to bring her in the booth for a StoryCorps interview to ask her about the women in our family and some of her experiences growing up in the South.
Under the facilitation of San Francisco Site Supervisor Sarah Geis, I spent 40 minutes in the booth with my mom asking questions I’d never taken the time to before. My family is almost entirely from western rural Louisiana and grew up extremely poor and extremely tight knit. Much of what I learned about my mom’s childhood had to do with the violence inflicted on the family: the racial lynching of a great uncle and the husband of a cousin, and raids on my mother’s church by the KKK. Some stories I knew, others I didn’t, but all gave me a greater respect for the resilience of my mother and my family as a whole.
A portion of our interview was played by our San Francisco local broadcasting partner KALW on December 15. My mother was able to listen in over their website and was so touched and excited that her story was broadcast. More importantly, though, is the time that we took in recording this for our family (all of which have heard it multiple times) and the lesson I received first-hand on why this work is so special.