On one of our last nights in Fayetteville, we went to see Big Smith, a Springfield, Missouri bluegrass band that is very popular in Fayetteville. We brought along Jenna Weiss-Berman, another facilitator who just got into town to help us pack up and move the booth to Kalamazoo, Michigan, where she will be facilitating with Susan Lee.
Jenna Weiss-Berman & Susan Lee dance at the concert!
Big Smith dance and sing at the concert!
We were also confronted with the very sad task of saying goodbye to our good friends Leigh Wood, the Membership Director at KUAF, and her husband Robert. Then a dog drove the booth away to Kalamazoo. Really, look closely at the driver!
Dante the German Shepherd gets ready to drive away to Kalamazoo.
Lena Richardson, Leigh Wood, her husband Robert, and Susan Lee say goodbye to each other.
Many of the stories we have heard here in Fayetteville are about the land: growing up on the land or moving out to rural Arkansas in adulthood. Below, (1) sisters Mavourneen West Hogue and Kathleen West described growing up in Middle Fork Valley, Arkansas, raising their own food, and the sense of responsibility and interdependence it fostered in them. (2) Diana Rivers (left) told her friend Allyn Lord (right) described creating the struggles of creating a rural community called Sassafras in Newton County, Arkansas and the rural community that she co-founded more recently called Ozark Landholding Association (3) Mary Loots (right) told her friend Deborah Coody (left) about her and her husband’s adventures as a young couple learning to farm in rural Arkansas.
For Mobile Booth West’s spring season, black is the new orange. We stuffed and zipped the cushions into their sleek new black covers. It was a labor of love.
On their day off, StoryCorps facilitators Susan Lee and Rebecca Lena Richardson visited the home of participant and volunteer Carol Westby, who took them through her beautiful 8-acre piece of land where she had spent most of her early childhood and lives now after a more than 30 year absence. As Carol pointed out the trout lilies, red buds and dogwood, the facilitators followed along, awestruck by her extensive knowledge. Now after a month of wondering, they know what the pink flowers above (which are blossoming throughout Fayetteville) are called.
After an interview with his granddaughter about his childhood on a farm in Oklahoma, Lyell Thompson came back to the booth with some homemade Czechoslovakian treats called kolaches. Lyell’s wife had made them in honor of his granddaughter’s visit. Kolaches are pastries with fruit, nut, or cheese fillings on a breadroll. Several towns including Prague, Oklahoma, have annual Kolache Festivals. The kolaches Lyell brought us were poppy seed and lemon. Yum!
We’ve had some great participants. Last week, Lavinia Marie Maestri Zulpo (above left) and Mary Frances Maestri Vaughan (above right) came into to talk about their family which settled in Tontitown, AR–a community founded by an Italian priest in the late 1800s for Italian immigrants; below, Carlos Silva (left) and Zoila Cardenas (right) told their son, Boris Silva (center) about growing up in Peru.
Mendy Knott (left) came into the booth with her partner Leigh Wilkerson (right) to talk about becoming a poet after a career as a police officer.
Facilitator Susan Lee considers throwing out her high heel shoes after facilitating an interview with Bruce Walker (below), who stresses the importance of supportive shoes in leading a long and healthy life.
Flying Possum Leather owner Bruce Walker breaks down proper footwear & reafirms that necessity is the mother of invention.
Facilitator Lena enjoyed the view from the edge of the cliff.
Getting ready to head back to Fayetteville, facilitator Susan had a moment with the cows grazing in the pasture and contemplated becoming a vegetarian.
If in Fayetteville, be sure to check out Flying Possum Leather on Dickson Street and Bruce Walker (right), who specializes in all things leather — he can make you customized sandals and his very own patented guitar strap like he did for his friend Jeff Fox (left).
We don’t know how the stop could be complete without the good people who man the tent outside the booth like volunteers Carole Westby (far right) and Mary Anne Sennett (center), posing above with participants Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody and Jay Hale — or for that matter without the extraordinary Leigh Wood, membership director at KUAF 91.3 FM NPR, pictured below with husband Robert at their home. The Storycorps facilitators spent St. Patrick’s Day gorging on turkey burgers, hummus and bean dip at their block party.
We met Penguin Ed in the supermarket parking lot, toting a penguin from the back of his car. He has run Penguin Ed’s BBQ for 15 years in Fayetteville and believes humans have a few things to learn from penguins.
On Wednesday, we spent the day doing a field recording in Springdale, AR at the Jones Center for Families, a multipurpose social services organization which offers free services to the community. Our recording room was right next to the ice skating rink (above).
Facilitator Susan Lee poses with Jones Center founder Bernice Jones.
Participant JociAnna Chong Gum poses with her mother Carmen, whom she interviewed.
On their day off, Facilitators Lena and Susan spent the day relaxing on the green campus of the University of Arkansas.
Yeah, It’s that good.
StoryCorps facilitator Susan Lee, “It’s all about the BBQ! baby”
StoryCorps’ March 8, 2007 MobileBooth launch day is also media day. In attendance were the Arkansas Democrat Gazzette, the local ABC news affiliate and interviewing former U.S. Senator David Pryor is the Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History.
(top) Former New York Times reporter Roy Reed & former U.S. Senator David Pryor, D-AR, prepare to listen closely, soon after Don Tyson, son of the founder of Tyson foods will tell his story to Pryor. Who says politicians don’t listen.
(l to r) Former NY Times reporter Roy Reed interviewed former US Senator David Pryor, D-AR, a friend for more than 40 years for the first StoryCorp interview. KUAF general Manager Rick Stockdell looks on while the two old buddies wax nostalgic on growing up in Arkansas.