After our last stop in Chicago, StoryCorps’ East MobileBooth arrived in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We set up shop right next to the Allen County Public Library in downtown Fort Wayne, where we will record nearly one hundred stories. We have been fortunate to work with our host Northeast Indiana Public Radio and with over ten local organizations to bring in participants from all over Northeast Indiana. As always, the stories recorded have been incredibly diverse, from giving birth to twins in a field to finding love at an old age, and to leaving and returning to the Midwest.
One of the stories that I have personally had the pleasure of facilitating is that of Don Derrow, who came in with his son Stuart to share his experience in the military. Mr. DerrowÂ served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1951 to 1954. Unlike many of his peers, Mr. Derrow was not deployed to Korea. Instead, Mr. Derrow was sent to Europe, and after a three-month stay there, he was given a far more unique assignment: he was among the Marines who participated in Operation Tumbler-Snapper, an atomic bomb test that took place in the Nevada Proving Grounds in the Spring of 1952.
Last month, StoryCorps Door-to-Door once again visited our nation’s capital. This time, Facilitator Susan Lee and I had the privilege of recording stories at the American Library Association’s annual conference. JoAnn Jonas (L) and Lisa Von Drasek (R) are two lovely ladies who shared with us why they love their jobs as librarians.
Lisa inspired Jo Ann to become a librarian, and she used the StoryCorps interview to ask her mentor, Lisa, about what had inspired her to become a librarian. Lisa remembers meeting the Coordinator of Children’s Work at the Brooklyn Public Library. After speaking with Lisa about her love of children’s books, she suggested Lisa explore becoming a children’s librarian. Within one month of that conversation, Lisa quit her job at a prestigious publishing company, landed a job as a librarian trainee and began her graduate work at Pratt Institute in library sciences. Of her first week working in the library, Lisa says, “I remember feeling comfortable immediately. I remember thinking that ‘this is what I was meant to do.’”
So, why do Lisa and Jo Ann love their jobs? As Lisa says, “A kid who is looking to build a model rocket and the kid who is looking for information about spiders…to be the person there for them at that moment and to know that that individual is growing and changing. The ability to be in that position, that’s why I love my job. Every minute is different. Every minute is changing. It’s always a surprise. By the end of the day, I could never have predicted what happened.”
Thank you Lisa, JoAnn and the thousands of librarians around the country who help us all learn and grow!
Spiritual music has been a part of the African American experience for 350 years. The tradition began when slaves from Africa began creating and singing folk spirituals by using their oral traditions, musical gifts and customs of singing about life events in songs, some brought from Africa. Spirituals were expressions of sorrow and joy, oppression, strength and healing. These traditions blended with Christian church traditions to become the familiar spirituals such as: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, This Little Light of Mine, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, Go Tell It on the Mountain, and the Black National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing.
Friends of Negro Spirituals was founded in 2008 to preserve and extend this heritage. This is accomplished by recording the memories of those who grew up within the tradition of spiritual music. A Bay Area oral history archive has been established at Mills College as well as the Oakland Main Library History Room and the African American Museum and Library, also in Oakland.
Now Friends of Negro Spirituals has partnered with StoryCorps in this effort. We have completed over a dozen recordings so far with more scheduled this summer including a Door-to-Door recording in Oakland.
Sometimes a curious passerby will come to the MobileBooth and ask, “Are you having storytime for kids?” To clarify, the Facilitator will explain StoryCorps’ mission.
Occasionally though, a parent comes in to record a conversation with a child and it does seem like Mobile Booth East is hosting “story time” for a young audience. In Chicago, Cesareo Moreno, chief curator at the National Museum of Mexican Art, came to the booth with his son, Cesareo Diego Moreno, to share a family story about the man they are both named after.
In the past month, people from all over New Mexico have come to StoryCorps’ Mobile Booth in Albuquerque to record a conversation.
Here are your photos! Feel free to download and print your high quality portrait, or email your photo to anyone you’d like. Visit StoryCorps’ Flickr album to find and download your photo directly.
In Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Chimayó, people have talked about family, history, and heritage in all kinds of ways. We’ve heard from teachers, mothers, master adobe builders, curanderas, pueblo leaders, activists, artists, and beyond. People have talked about having children, getting married, building homes, red chile, green chile, migration, genealogy, and living in New Mexico for 12 generations. They’ve talked about losing loved ones, maintaining culture, and finding strength in family and friends when times are hard.
In honor of Gay Pride Month, Atlanta’s Radial Cafe was abuzz with stories from the LGBTQ community on Wednesday evening, June 23, 2010. Radial owner Phil Palmer generously hosted Atlanta StoryCorps and over 100 members of Atlanta’s LGBTQ community, their friends, family and colleagues. Master of ceremonies for the evening was WABE’s own John Lemley, host of City Cafe, which airs on WABE each Tuesday.
Upon entering the event, attendees registered and received a bag of goodies donated by WABE. They then enjoyed light fare graciously provided by Radial.
Once the program was underway, attendees listened to LGBTQ stories selected from both national and local participants. All of the local StoryCorps Atlanta alumni whose stories we played were in attendance.
Fellow Facilitator Matt Herman and I were in Los Angeles’s Miracle Mile on June 23, 2010 to record a day of Door-to-Door interviews hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association – California Southland Chapter, and Leeza’s Place at Olympia Medical Center, a site that supports Alzheimer’s caregivers.
Life partners Earl Adams and Jennifer Duke recorded on this day. Jennifer is 38 and a few years ago was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis; Earl is 50 and last year was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The two talked about the importance of sports in his life and how they help him focus on the present.
Last week, StoryCorps Door-to-Door Facilitators Carolina Correa and Yazmín Peña went to New York City’s Upper West Side, to visit the Amsterdam Nursing Home, a residence for older adults, to record the stories of six of their residents.
Our first participants of the day were Elizabeth L. Gardner (Libby) and her daughter Eve Remba. Libby was all smiles as she came into the recording room, and Eve began their conversation by congratulating her mother for winning the Congressional Gold Medal earlier this year. You see Libby was a WASP – a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots – a pioneering civilian organization of female pilots that flew Military Aircraft under the orders of the United States Air Force during World War II.