Separated by Time and Distance, Best Friends Reunited After More Than Three Decades
Pak Yan and Joe Chan grew up in the same neighborhood in Hong Kong. They developed a close friendship, learning to ride bikes without training wheels and walking each other to school every day. Then, in 1962, Joe’s family moved to the U.S., seeking refuge amidst the Great Chinese Famine.
Pak Yan (left) and Joe Chang at a StoryCorps interview in San Francisco on September 18, 2014. By Geraldine Ah-Sue for StoryCorps.
An ocean between them, the two sent handwritten letters weekly via airmail. But after several years, as they moved and their addresses changed, the two lost contact. Pak often wondered what had become of his friend, and when he was 30 years old he also moved to the U.S. Years later—in 2000, when the internet was still relatively new—Pak decided to use Yahoo to search for his friend. He found 108 Joe Chan’s and called them one by one, leaving voice messages until he finally reached Joe on the 104th call.
“It’s like we just picked up where we left off,” Joe said. In 2014, the two men came to StoryCorps to remember their reunion.
Top Photo: Pak Yan (left) and Joe Chan (right) at Friendship Park in Richmond, CA soon after they reunited. The text on the rock reads ‘friendship’ in Chinese.
This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Originally aired November 25, 2022 on NPR’s Morning Edition.
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Even Though He Wasn’t A “Tough Guy,” This Purple Heart Vet Made His Mark In Vietnam
As a child, Richard Hoy dreamed of becoming a hero, like the ones he saw in Hollywood movies. Growing up sheltered from the outside world, he wanted a life of adventure. So when he was 18 years old, he enlisted in the U.S. Army.
By 19, he was serving as a medic in Vietnam, and what he encountered in the field challenged his notion of being a “hero.”
Richard Hoy (left) at his new assignment after recovering from a gunshot wound to his abdomen, and a concussion by a grenade. He is applying a fresh dressing on a patient shot with an AK-47. Circa 1971, Fort Ord Hospital, CA. Courtesy of Richard Hoy.
One day, his unit surrounded a village in Vietnam, and Richard remembers seeing a North Vietnamese soldier staring at him 50 feet away. Presented with the opportunity to shoot, he didn’t. He questioned if he was cut out for war.
Five decades later, he came to StoryCorps with his daughter, Angel Hoy, to share how being a medic on the front lines of war shaped him.
Originally aired March 5 on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.
Top Photo: Richard and Angel Hoy in Seattle, WA on Feb. 22, 2022. Courtesy of Richard Hoy.
This interview was recorded in partnership with KUOW as part of StoryCorps’ Military Voices Initiative.
No More Questions!
Kay Wang was a strong-willed grandmother who was brought to StoryCorps by her son and granddaughter. Though Kay was reluctant at first, she still had stories to tell—from disobeying her mother and rebuffing suitors while growing up in China to late-life adventures as a detective for Bloomingdale’s department store. Kay passed away just weeks after that interview, and her son and granddaughter returned to StoryCorps to remember her gentler side, which she kept to herself.
Originally published on July 19, 2015
“I was embarrassed that you drove a taxicab. But not anymore.”
Mohammad Ashraf Faridi and Muhammad Faridi
Mohammad Ashraf Faridi immigrated from Pakistan to the United States in the 1980s. He settled in New York City, and his family joined him almost a decade later. By then, Mohammad was earning a living driving a cab.
His oldest son, Muhammad, opens up to him about growing up as the son of a taxi driver.
Presented as part of our animation season “Moments that Define,” in which StoryCorps participants share the turning points that have shaped them.
Listen to Mohammad and Muhammad’s original StoryCorps interview.
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