In our last week in La Crosse, Wisconsin Public Radio hosted a Listening Event and reception at the Pump House, to celebrate everyone who came and shared their stories with StoryCorps. It was a wonderful event that gave us all a chance to connect with others in the community over tasty treats graciously provided by the People’s Food Co-Op.
John Gaddo of WPR played a few locally edited excerpts from interviews highlighting the range of stories in the La Crosse community. Over the past month we heard from teachers, nuns, veterans, soldiers, activists, new parents, grandparents, immigrants, Peace Corps volunteers, doctors, and more. People shared their stories of trips, journeys, and discovery; leaving home and finding home; growing up on the farm and growing up in the city; first meetings, first loves, and first partners; finding strength in family and friends in difficult times, and their hopes for the future.
During the event it became clear that the conversations started in the StoryCorps MobileBooth didn’t stop when the recording ended. Participants spoke about sharing their CD and starting new conversations with their loved ones about one another. Library Director Kelly Kreig-Sigman also announced that the La Crosse Public Library will be receiving a full archive of all the stories recorded in La Crosse in the coming months so residents will be able to listen to each others stories whenever they want to.
While StoryCorps’ new team of Facilitators and Site Supervisors were training in our Brooklyn Office, our two Mobile Booths were preparing for their next stops in Fort Wayne, IN (East Booth) and La Crosse, WI (West Booth). Working with the Mobile East Team in Fort Wayne during their first week of recordings, I facilitated a conversation between business and life partners Harriet Miller and Monica Wehrle who talked about organizing an exhibition game with the former players of the Fort Wayne Daisies in their efforts to promote equality for women through the Fort Wayne Women’s Bureau.
A week later I joined our West Booth Team, new Site Supervisor Eloise Mezler and new Facilitator Jackie Sojico, for Opening Day in La Crosse, where we are partnering with WLSU Wisconsin Public Radio and the La Crosse Public Library in downtown.