On Saturday, October 25, the San Francisco team set up shop at the Moscone Center to talk to women of all varieties who had come together for a common purpose: self-empowerment, inner-fortitude, and to see the Queen Bee herself, Oprah Winfrey (cue theme music).
Yes, O You! was truly a sight to see. Thousands upon thousands of people bustling throughout the 3 football field-sized floors, running from booth to booth in an attempt to find that hidden gem before someone else did. And there was the StoryCorps booth, smack dab between L’Oreal and Ameritrade. This, however, proved a blessing in disguise. While the line for free L’Oreal makeovers stretched through what seemed the entirety of the 3rd floor, StoryCorps was perfectly positioned to catch the recently-pampered as they exited the cyclone of over-sized mirrors and lipsticks.
“Hello, have you heard of StoryCorps before?”
“We’re a national oral history project dedicated to preserving the stories and experiences of everyday people throughout the United States, we’re based in……”
“Oh, that’s fantastic! I’ve been looking for way to have my grandfather’s story recorded!”
“Oh, I wished I had done something like that before my mother passed away…”
Multiply these examples by a thousand, and you’ll get a rough estimate of the number of people who walked away from our booth with a desire to get involved. It was a combination of the most fatiguing and rewarding work I have been a part of, with the latter ultimately triumphing.
As always, Dave Isay gave a fantastic presentation. Even amongst the clutter and ambient noise, a crowd of people gathered in excitement to listen to StoryCorps clips and hear Dave speak. His presentation was followed by a book signing, coinciding perfectly with the release of Listening Is An Act of Love in paperback.
By the end of the day, we had all lost our voices after hours of chatting with event-goers. A small price to pay for the number of people who walked away having learned a new way to preserve their personal histories.