One of the classic StoryCorps questions is "have you ever experienced a miracle?" Well, on the last day in Portland, facilitators John and Pat found an answer. As Pat joined the tour (and facilitator Maddy) to move on to Boston, John miraculously learned to ride a bike. Here they are waving goodbye to each other and to Portland. They were sad to leave their new friends at BLUNT Youth Radio and WMPG, who had become like a family in Maine, but excited to move on to Beantown!
Lobstermen have long been central to the culture of Portland, Maine, as evidenced by this downtown statue in their honor. Pete Morse, a real life lobsterman, came to the MobileBooth with Blunt Youth Radio member Katie Freddoso to talk about his passion for the sea’s daily adventure, and pass on the best local spots to snag an authentic lobster roll.
This week facilitators Maddy and John took their portable equipment to South Portland’s Long Creek youth correctional facility for an incredible day of field recording. Three pairs of incarcerated teens (including Melissa Bowden and Nicole Hycock, pictured above) shared their struggles with being "trapped in the system," and their simple wishes to get out of jail, get an education, and make an honest life with a family of their own. In the photo below Shane Hall showed us his tattoos, which he designed himself.
Portland has a thriving art scene, and is home to many galleries, theaters, music venues, and even a ballroom dancing school. On the "First Friday" art walk, all the local cultural organizations came outside to celebrate Portland. Some dancers tangoed on the stage outside the booth. Good things come in pairs: tango dancers, StoryCorps participants, and mobile facilitators!
On a rainy night this week in Portland, Teddi-Jann Covell brought in her great-aunt Mildred for an interview. Mildred was a member of the WAVES, or "Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service" during World War II. She brought along with her her original uniform (designed by Christian Dior!) and this photo of her younger self.
Among the highlights of opening day in Portland was 93 year-old Austin West, who made his way to the MobileBooth with a nifty walking stick. He spoke with his wife, Dierdre Nice, about working his way out of homelessness through his self-published poetry.
After a lovely drive through Vermont and New Hampshire, the MobileBoothEast is now safely tucked away in downtown Portland, Maine. The booth’s home for September is right underneath the historic Eastland Park hotel, which has been kind enough to provide lodging for our Storycorps facilitators as well. Opening day awaits!