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The First Week

Posted on Monday, October 20th, 2008.


Tina Olson and John Heinsius

A guy could get used to this. After my first week as a Facilitator at the San Francisco StoryBooth, I have already had the pleasure of meeting people with truly inspired stories. The interesting thing is, I have almost started to look back on their stories as if they have been a long lost memory of my own.

Of course, they’re not. They are Jack Heinsius’s memories of his mother from when he was a child, and Tina Olson’s stories of her father hiding in haystacks to avoid capture by German soldiers. They are Peter Nathan Roberts recounting the old Union songs his parents would have him sing at the dinner table when he was young. I never took a bus to the March on Washington in the 1960s as Peter did, nor have I ever started an organization to raise money for hungry children around the world as the Fredricks family has.

Parker and Fredricks

Shirley Fredricks and Lisa Parker

And yet, as I sat listening to these amazing stories – the quirky anecdotes and inside jokes, the somber tales of a loved one departed – I couldn’t help but feel a part of something a little bigger than myself. Shirley Fredricks and her daughter Lisa Parker’s memories of Lisa’s late father, Robert Fredricks, a man who truly lived to help others and was a source of inspiration for his own family; Julie and Michael Berlin’s attempts to realize what art means in their own lives. These are their personal stories, not mine. But they speak volumes about the human condition and life in the 21st century. No, none of these are my stories, but they are all our stories.

To read more about what’s going on at our San Francisco StoryBooth at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, check out the Museum’s blog.

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3 Responses to “The First Week”

To preserve the StoryCorps mission and experience for our readers and participants, comments are subject to the StoryCorps Terms of Service. Comments may be held for moderation or removed if deemed offensive or off-topic. Please do not resubmit your comment if you don't see it right away, it will be approved as soon as possible. Thank you.

  • Sounds like a great start to StoryCorps San Francisco, can’t wait to hear more!

    Comment from Chaela on October 21, 2008 at 11:48 am - Reply to this Comment
  • ALEX! This is a wonderful first blog of many I hope!

    Comment from Nina on October 20, 2008 at 8:32 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • Hooray, San Francisco! Can’t wait to hear more!

    Comment from Whitney on October 20, 2008 at 7:01 pm - Reply to this Comment

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