The Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund hosted StoryCorps for two days last month, for an Military Voices Initiative (MVI) Door to Door recording day. We facilitated interviews with family members of fallen servicemen from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The conversation not only gave family members an opportunity to memorialize their lost loved ones, but to connect with other families who were there to remember their own. However, not everyone was there to remember lost loved ones. (more…)
José C. Massó III was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1950. As a child, he grew up in Puerto Rico as well as Japan (where his father was stationed with the U.S. Army).
José started college at the University of Puerto Rico, but he decided to come to the United States to pursue a degree in journalism. He ended up at Antioch College in Ohio. José was excited to come to the United States, and thought he had many advantages: “I came armed for success in a sense that I already knew how to speak English and I knew a lot about United States history and culture. I was a baseball fan. I knew about music.”
José remembered his first day at Antioch:
I was having lunch and an African American called me the “n-word.” And I said, “Why are you calling me that?” And he said to me that I didn’t look Puerto Rican.
And I said, “What’s a Puerto Rican supposed to look like?” He said, “Well, they don’t look like you.”
That was my first day on campus, and I thought, “What was that?” On a very progressive, liberal university campus, that was the last thing I expected.
Within a week, I went through a series of shocks having to do with race, language, and culture. I realized that I knew more about the United States than the United States knew about me. And it was the moment that I decided that maybe my role was to be an educator.
After Antioch, José moved to Boston and taught at Copley Square High School. He also pursued his passion for communications and music by starting a radio show on WBUR called ¡Con Salsa! with José Massó. More than 34 years later, José still hosts ¡Con Salsa! and has devoted his life to education, communications, music, and politics.
José′s interview was recorded in partnership with the Latino Professional Network.
Where are the Door-to-Door Facilitators? We’re on the road collecting stories from all over the country. Last Sunday, Anna Walters and I ventured out on a three-day whirlwind trip through New England, making stops in Bedford, New Hampshire, Boston and Springfield, Massachusetts for the Memory Loss Initiative. As always, the people we met are the best part of our trips, so I feature all of them in the slide show below. Enjoy! And look out for more posts from the Door-to-Door team.
I would like to thank all of our partners and participants at each organization. Your warmth and kindness was wonderful.
On Sunday we packed up the trailer and moved out of our luxurious digs in Boston. We had an amazing time working with WBUR, and will miss the great volunteers, the beautiful Eliot hotel, walking along the Charles, and of course, the participants we met along the way. Facilitator Jason Reynolds joins the tour for Baltimore, and Pat Estess heads home. Here they are hugging goodbye outside of the “T” (which is a great transportation system but can’t beat the NYC subway!).
This week infamous Boston storyteller, Brother Blue, visited the booth with his wife, Ruth. Brother Blue is well known in Cambridge where he tells stories to all who will listen in Harvard Square. He is also a minister and has a PhD in playwriting. He dresses in blue from head to toe, and is fond of saying “storytelling is God: to God, for God, of God, from God. It’s a way of life.”
Over Columbus Day weekend in Boston, MobileBooth East really became about family. Facilitator Pat’s husband, Gene, and facilitator Maddy’s mother, Rolla, both came for a visit. Here they are explaining StoryCorps to all the family’s that passed us on the street. Since both have participated in interviews and have loved ones working in the booth 24/7, they really understand the project!
On Monday, facilitators Pat and Maddy teamed up to interview Edgar and Hana Krasa, pictured here. They had both survived the concentration camps, and met in Prague after the war. They were, hands down, two of the sweetest most personable people ever to grace the booth. When asked to define their relationship, Edgar shrugged and jokingly said, “Eh- tolerable.” But the love between them was overwhelming, as was their goodwill.
We arrived safely to our new home in Boston, in front of the Public Library in Copley Square. The mobile booth will be here until October 17th, when we will move to Boston City Hall Plaza for a week. In Boston we are working in partnership with WBUR (90.9 fm). They will be airing StoryCorps clips twice a week on Mondays and Fridays during "Morning Edition." There are no reservations left, but keep checking the website for cancellations!