Decatur Archives - StoryCorps
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Mother and Daughter Reflect On the Bill of Rights That Helped Shaped Their Bond

Growing up in a small rural town, Margaret Powell developed a toughness and learned how to stand up for herself. Her daughter, Folashade Alao, remembers admiring her boldness as a child, and she saw how hard her mother worked as a single mother to give her as many opportunities as possible.

Folashade never wanted to disappoint her mother, but this didn’t mean she never asserted her own views. In elementary school, Folashade wrote and presented her own Bill of Rights with amendments stating what she thought was fair and unfair. 

Margaret Powell and Folashade Alao at Sea World around the time she drafted her Bill of Rights.

“What came out of it was you telling me you’re not my friend, you’re my mama and that we each have an important role in supporting our household,” Folashade remembers.

Folashade and Margaret came to StoryCorps to reflect on how they shaped their relationship and what it takes to raise a child.

Top Photo: Margaret Powell and Folashade Alao at their StoryCorps interview in Decatur, GA  on January 31, 2023. By Kevin Alarcon 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 April 14, 2023 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

How An Unexpected Deportation Cut A Young Musician’s Career Short

Decio Rubano still remembers the day he learned to play the drums. He was 12- years-old and playing stickball outside his home in Bridgeport, Connecticut, when his uncle Jimmy pulled up in his car. It was the start of WWll and Jimmy, a working musician, had just lost his drummer to the Army. Rubano remembers his uncle saying, “Hey kid, I need a drummer tonight, so you’re going to play.” Jimmy took out two spoons and showed Rubano how different beats were played.

From that first performance, Rubano says he got “the bug” and couldn’t stop making music. After high school, his career as a drummer was taking off until one night, when he was visiting his grandparents, a pair of immigration officers knocked on the door—Rubano was quickly deported to Montreal, Canada.

Middle Photo: At 17 years-old, Decio Rubano began his professional drumming career when he was scouted to play on the Arthur Godfrey radio show in Miami. Courtesy of Gina Livingston.

Rubano had been born in Montreal because his opera singer mother had taken a job for the season at the Montreal Civic Opera while pregnant with Rubano. As a young man, Rubano was shocked to learn he was not a U.S. citizen.

Rubano signed up for the U.S. Air Force and served in the Korean War. While he continued playing the drums for many years, he never returned to the music business. At StoryCorps, Rubano tells his daughter, Gina Livingston, “I did one thing right in my life. I raised you. You’ve been a joy as a daughter. Everybody should be as lucky as I am.”

Bottom Photo: While stationed on Johnston Island with the US Air Force, Decio Rubano hosted a jazz radio station in his spare time.  Courtesy of Gina Livingston. 

Top Photo: Decio Rubano and Gina Livingston at their StoryCorps interview in Decatur, Georgia on October 31, 2022. By John St. Denis 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, 2022, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

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