Traveling the country year round, we hear all kinds of stories from all kinds of people as Mobile Facilitators. We bear witness to moments of joy, sorrow, and spontaneity between loved ones, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and the like. By listening closely to these stories and conversations coast to coast, I often find myself thinking, “Hey! I want to do that with my own family!” StoryCorps participants remind me daily of the importance of preserving my own family stories. In fact, participants often ask, “Have you ever done your own recording?” Luckily, I have had the opportunity to record conversations with my grandmother through the StoryKit program, and my godmother at the Lower Manhattan Booth in New York City. Up until last week, though, there was still one very important person I knew I wanted to participate with: My mom, Mary Culver.
Tempted by the warmth of the Sunshine State and eager to get an inside look at what I’m up to everyday, my mom made the trip from our home in Guilford, Connecticut to the East MobileBooth in Pensacola, Florida. In preparing for our conversation, I soon understood why participants often come into the experience feeling nervous about how they will possibly be able to pack in all they want to talk about in just 40 minutes! There was so much I wanted to ask my mom – both to hear old stories retold, and to ask some questions I had never thought to propose in the past. She gladly rehashed the story of meeting Julia Child and humored me by singing the songs she and her siblings made up about their childhood pets. More than anything she said though, the entire experience reminded me of just how special my mom is. She is a jack-of-all trades – an avid knitter, an incredible cook and baker, and a talented artist, among many other things. More importantly, my mom is loving and unbelievably selfless. I think she sometimes gets down on herself for being a stay-at-home mom, but I am quick to remind her that what she did, and continues to do (raising my sister, brother, and myself) is work too – not only hard work, but incredibly meaningful and important work as well. I tried to ask her how she got to be such a good mom, in hopes of discovering some secret formula I could use if and when I become a mom, but I think it just comes naturally to her.
Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps, StoryCorps’ new book, arrives in bookstores on April 15, 2010 – just in time for Mother’s Day! Help StoryCorps in celebrating American mothers from all walks of life and experiences. I know I’ll be celebrating mine!