There is a lot of love in Pensacola, Florida. I don’t remember the last time so many pairs of fiancées came to the MobileBooth to talk about their impending nuptials.
Amanda Miller and Scott Greenberg met at the party of a mutual friend. Amanda had just returned from the Czech Republic and was not looking for a relationship, but Scott was not daunted, he wooed her until they became “official” three months later. The true test of the relationship came a few years later when the couple moved to Miami and had to manage job searches, law school, and living on a tight budget in an expensive city. “It was easy for the relationship between [Amanda] and me,” says Scott. “It was just the external circumstances that were difficult and we teamed up and made it through.” Amanda agreed, “That was the hardest point for me, but I think that it was the best time too because it was when I actually realized that when things did get hard we were going to be fine.” Amanda and Scott get hitched on April 10, 2010.
When Penny Steffens first met Melissa Featherstone she thought, “OOOOH! I can’t stand her!” Melissa thought Penny looked at the world through rose-colored glasses, but eventually, with the help of their mutual friend Pearl, the two got to know each other a little better and started going on sailing adventures and beach excursions. Now those rose-colored glasses are one of the things that Melissa loves about Penny the most. “We had no idea that we had a future together beyond friendship,” says Melissa. Penny and Melissa say “I do” on June 11, 2010.
After meeting at a photo shoot, disc jockey Dallas Peel and journalist Keri Holt had a very rocky start to their relationship. Dallas served as the model for the photo shoot and Keri wrote the article that accompanied the photos. She misspelled Dallas’s name in the article and when he discovered the error he told the listeners of his radio show that he would give a pair of concert tickets to the first person who identified the mistake. Apparently there was more than one mistake, which led to heavy criticism of the article on the air. Keri fought back in a fiery response article, and the war was on. After a few weeks of battling over the air waves and via the printed word, Dallas offered an olive branch and asked Keri and her coworkers to a conciliatory dinner at an Italian restaurant. Keri’s coworkers bowed out at the last minute but Keri forged ahead. It was over dinner that Keri and Dallas buried the hatchet and on June 26, 2010 they’ll be tying the knot.
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!
The East MobileBooth made its way to the Panhandle and is now parked in downtown Pensacola, Florida. Spain, France, Great Britain, the Confederacy, and the United States have all claimed the city at one time or another during its 450-year history, which is why Pensacola is now known as the “The City of Five Flags.”
Opening day was hosted by both First United Methodist Church and our friends at WUWFÂ 88.1 FM and featured guest speakers Nancy Fetterman, a community activist and coordinator of the Public History program at the University of West Florida (UWF), and UWF Associate Professor of History, Dr. Patrick Moore. Both speakers shared their thoughts on the value of telling stories and the impact the practice has made on their lives and on the communities in which they have worked.