Historias Archives - StoryCorps
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As Two Communities Clashed, A Lifelong Friendship Grew

When Jim Murphy was nine, his Irish-American family moved to the south side of Tucson, Arizona. They were one of many families who migrated to the city just after World War II. 

Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez and his Mexican-American family were already living there.

At first the groups clashed, and fights were frequent at Jim and Carlos’ school. But the students would still find themselves together each Sunday for church. 

Carlos and Jim came to StoryCorps to talk about their memories growing up on the south side, and how they had more in common than they initially realized.

Photo of All Saints Catholic School 8th grade graduating class, including Jim and Carlos, in Tucson, Arizona, in 1950. Courtesy of Jim Murphy.

 

Top Photo: Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez and Jim Murphy in Jim’s backyard in Tucson, Arizona on April 16, 2023. By Esther Honig for StoryCorps.

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 11, 2023 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Amor Eterno: Remembering Ana Guissel Palma on Día de los Muertos

Cesar Viveros in front of his altar in Philadelphia in 2022.
Photo by Neal Santos, courtesy of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

In 2016, Cesar Viveros and his wife Ana Guissel Palma set out to document Day of the Dead altars in South Philadelphia—a thriving Mexican and Central American community.  The pair went door-to-door, recording stories across their neighborhood in the hopes of creating a large community altar for people to visit and remember their loved ones. 

But two years into the project, Ana became sick, and passed away just before Day of the Dead, leaving Cesar to finish the project on his own. 

He came to StoryCorps with his niece, Kathy Lopez, to honor her.

A framed photo of Ana Guissel Palma at an altar created by Cesar Viveros. October 21, 2023 at FDR Park in Philadelphia. By Kayla Lattimore for StoryCorps.

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 October 27, 2023 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

“Motherhood Is Not A Solo Journey:” A Daughter Reflects On Her Childhood

Luz Kenyon grew up in Mexico City, Mexico and in the mid 1980s she took a trip to New York City to celebrate her friend’s college graduation. She had no idea she would fall in love with a Jamaican traffic agent on the corner of 42nd street, and never go home.

She came to StoryCorps with her daughter, Anna Paloma Williams, to talk about this unexpected start to their family, and how she navigated raising mixed kids in America.

Top Photo: Anna Paloma Williams and Luz Kenyon at their StoryCorps interview in Columbus, GA on October 30, 2021. By Sarah Padgett for StoryCorps.
Middle Photo: Abuela Lucha, Luz Kenyon and Anna Paloma Williams in Stone Mountain, GA, in the early 1990s. Photo courtesy of the Kenyon family.
Bottom Photo: Luz Kenyon with Anna Paloma Williams and family celebrating abuela Lucha’s 90th birthday in Mexico City in April 2022. She passed away in December 2022. Photo courtesy of the Kenyon family.

 

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 Aug. 4, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

Volunteering at the US-Mexico Border Helped This Nurse Find New Meaning in her Work

Content Warning: This story includes mentions of rape and sexual violence.


Angelina McCall found nursing later in life, and quickly discovered she felt called to helping save people’s lives.. She graduated from nursing school in spring 2020—the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Angelina and Matt McCall at their StoryCorps interview in Tucson, Arizona on April 17, 2023. By Chapin Montague for StoryCorps.

She got her first job at a busy emergency room in Tucson, Arizona, but left after a little over a year and questioned whether she was cut out for nursing. “I was very embarrassed and ashamed,” Angelina says.

She stayed home to recuperate and care for her young daughter, but soon after she began to ask herself if there was a way she could continue to help. As the daughter of a Mexican immigrant, Angelina is fluent in Spanish and knew that a humanitarian crisis was unfolding just over an hour away from her home.

“So I thought, ‘I can maybe help these migrants that are stuck at the border right now?’

Angelina McCall volunteering at the Kino Border Initiative clinic for migrants in Nogales, Mexico. Photo courtesy the participants. 

She came to StoryCorps with her husband, Matt, to share her inspiring experience volunteering at a clinic near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Top Photo: Angelina McCall after graduating from nursing school in the spring of 2020. Photo courtesy the participants. 

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 May 19, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

“I Thought You Knew:” A Love Story Like No Other

In the mid-90s, Chhaya Chhoum shared some high school classes with Eddie Rivera. Eddie was more interested in sports than school, but the two connected.

Eddie Rivera and Chhaya Chhoum early in their relationship after a 1996 snow storm in New York City. Courtesy of Chhaya Chhoum.

Chhaya grew up the daughter of Cambodian refugees in the Bronx, and Eddie came from a Puerto Rican family in Manhattan. Starting out as just a friend, Eddie won over Chhaya – and her extended family. Chhaya and Eddie came to StoryCorps to reminisce about how they met and some of the unexpected ways their cultural differences shaped their relationship. .  

Top Photo: Chhaya Chhoum and Eddie Rivera at their StoryCorps interview in the Bronx, NY on January 11, 2014. By Jill Glaser for StoryCorps.

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 March 3, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

With your support, StoryCorps is able to record more stories that help lift up underrepresented voices, bridge political and social divides, and preserve personal histories for the future.

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Transcending Blindness, a Marathon Runner Thanks His Daughter for Her Support

Jason Romero suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that causes progressive blindness. In 2015, he was forced to stop driving and quit his job, which plunged him into a deep depression. But Jason was most concerned about how it would impact his family. “The most important thing to me is to be a good dad to you and your brother and your sister, and I just didn’t know how I was going to be able to do it if I couldn’t see,” he said.

Jason Romero and his youngest daughter, Sofia Romero, in San Diego, California in August 2022. Courtesy Jason Romero.

Jason turned to running as a way to prove that he could push his body past what people thought possible. After becoming an ultramarathon runner, he had the seemingly crazy idea of being the first blind person to run across the United States. So he hit the road.

Jason Romero in his 2016 run across the United States. Courtesy Jason Romero.

In 2016, he set off on a 3,063 mile, 59 day run from Los Angeles to New York City. But while he was away, he thought about his family – especially his youngest daughter, Sofia.

Top Photo: Sofia Romero and Jason Romero in Denver, Colorado on January 4, 2023. By Esther Honig for StoryCorps.

Originally aired January 6, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 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.  

With your support, StoryCorps is able to record more stories that help lift up underrepresented voices, bridge political and social divides, and preserve personal histories for the future.

Donate

A Neighbor’s Promise — A Blended Family Remembers Their Journey

In 2016, Glendon “Junior” Booth and his three young kids moved into an apartment building for families facing homelessness in Austin, Texas. Soon after, Jennifer Hidrogo, a single mom of five, became his neighbor.

The two families started leaning on each other. Jen’s kids would play with Junior’s, and the parents would stop and chat, while leaning up against their doors.

But within the year, Junior was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. 

Jen came to StoryCorps with her daughter, Charlee, and her neighbor’s daughter, Lily Rose, to talk about what happened next.

Kristopher Rios, Desiree Martinez- Iturralde, Emma Booth, LilyRose Hidrogo-Booth, Jennifer Hidrogo, Kayla Rios, Charlee Rios, Dalton Booth, and Azriel Rios the day of the adoption ceremony at the Travis County CourtHouse on August 16th, 2019.
Top Photo: Charlee Rios, Jennifer Hidrogo, and LilyRose Hidrogo-Booth at their StoryCorps interview in Austin, TX on March 13th, 2022. For StoryCorps.

Originally aired June 3rd, 2022, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Her Aunt Saw Her for Who She Truly Was

In 2018, at the age of 63, Dee Westenhauser came out as a transgender woman. But growing up in El Paso, Texas in the 1950s, she remembers having a hard time fitting in.

At StoryCorps, Dee sat down with her friend, Martha Gonzalez, to remember the one person who made her feel comfortable in her own skin.

Photo: Dee Westenhauser and Martha Gonzalez at StoryCorps in El Paso, TX. By Nicolas Cadena for StoryCorps.

Originally aired April 5, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition. It was rebroadcast on March 11, 2022 on the same program.

‘A Package Deal’: Two Brothers Face Mortality Together

David Carles and his little brother, Mark Carles, were best friends.

David and Mark Carles at a family wedding in 2002. Courtesy of Mark Carles.

Growing up on Staten Island, the two did everything together. But in 2018, at the age of 24, Mark’s life was upended by a rare form of liver cancer called fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma.

David Carles’ Tinder profile. Courtesy of David Carles.

A year after that diagnosis, the brothers sat down at StoryCorps in New York City to talk about the ways Mark’s illness had changed their lives.

Mark died on February 24th, 2022. He was 27. David came back to StoryCorps to remember him, just a few days after his death.  

Top photo: Mark Carles and David Carles at their StoryCorps interview in New York City on November 6th, 2019. By Mia Warren for StoryCorps.

Listen to David and Mark’s original 2019 conversation:

Originally aired November 22nd, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition. An edited version was rebroadcast on March 4, 2022 on the same program.

Siblings Remember Their Father, A Combat Pilot Who Served In Three Wars

Growing up in the 1930s, Lt. Col. Miguel Encinias wasn’t sure if his dream of becoming a military pilot was in reach. In those days, combat pilots of Hispanic heritage were almost unheard of. 

But Encinias was accepted into the Air Force cadet school, and would go and serve as a combat pilot in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He flew around 240 combat missions in all.

Miguel Encinias in Saigon, Vietnam, in 1961. (Courtesy of the Encinias family)

He died in 2016, at the age of 92.

Two of his children, Isabel and Juan Pablo Encinias, came to StoryCorps to remember him and his love for flying.

Juan Pablo Encinias and Isabel Encinias in 2016. (Courtesy of the Encinias family)
Top Photo: Miguel Encinias crouched beneath a F105 aircraft in 1967.  (Courtesy of the Encinias family)

Originally aired November 5, 2021, on NPR’s Morning Edition.