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Participants Going Mobile

Posted on Friday, October 16th, 2009.

StoryCorps participants arrive at our MobileBooths from all across the country. Usually their residence corresponds with where our MobileBooth is parked. But don’t tell that to these recent participants in Colorado Springs, Colorado!

Five days before her scheduled appointment, Kara Durland (middle) emailed her parents to invite them to join her at the StoryCorps MobileBooth in Colorado Springs. Gene & Jeannine Ross jumped in their car and drove to meet her—1700 miles from their home in Chantilly, Virginia.

“Well, when I found out about it, my first inclination was ‘Yeah, I want to go. And I want to drive…because we like to drive a lot,'” Eugene says. In the MobileBooth, the couple described to their daughter their different childhood experiences; their Italian, Irish, Slovak & Czech ancestry; and their love for the road.

Although he was scheduled to fly back home to New York City from Colorado Springs only two hours after his early morning StoryCorps appointment, the time crunch didn’t stifle Ed Riegelhaupt’s enthusiasm for participating. Ed happened to be in Colorado Springs visiting his daughter, Stacey Bloomfield, when she asked him to participate. Stacey wanted to record a specific period in her father’s life. In 1960, Ed quit his job because his wife Joyce Firstenberg Riegelhaupt, a cultural anthropologist, wanted to study villages in Portugal.

“I was working for Union Carbide Corporation…and I knew she had to go into the field as part of her PhD. I knew about this from the very beginning, but wasn’t worried about leaving my job because I knew I could get another job as a financial analyst. I felt really very comfortable and enthusiastic about going overseas with her. It was a chance for a great adventure…”

I first caught a glimpse of Cem Salahifar (above, left) outside of the MobileBooth talking into his cell phone while pointing it left, right, up, down and every direction. He told me later that he was making a video for his fiancee Yesmin in Istanbul. Cem makes his home…everywhere. He’s currently getting his MBA in Colorado Springs, but flies to work in Italy, and from there travels to Istanbul to visit Yesmin. In the MobileBooth, he told me the story of how he rekindled his relationship with Yesmin, a lifelong friend with whom he had lost touch. He talked about their reunion in Turkey only a few months ago, his proposal at Rome’s International Airport, and their plans to marry in Istanbul. At the end of his recording, Cem told Yesmin how much he loved her, both in English and Turkish. He’ll be giving her a copy of the interview soon…when they meet in Istanbul next month.

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