Oregon – StoryCorps
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From Dire Straits To Friends For Life: How Living On The Road Brought Them Together

In August of 2014, Kat Valentino was living in a run-down motel with her family. They eventually decided to move into a van — a blue, 1991 Ford Econoline.

She’d soon find a community of others living out of their vehicles, mostly those impacted by the Great Recession who had foregone traditional housing, seeking a different way of life.

Along the way she met Vincent Mosemann, who became her friend and later her roommate.

Kat and Vincent came to StoryCorps to talk about what brought them together.

Top Photo: Vincent Mosemann and Kat Valentino at their StoryCorps interview in Oregon on January 26, 2019. By Dupe Oyebolu for StoryCorps.

Originally aired February 4, 2022 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Everything Together

People often come to StoryCorps to reflect on life’s big moments. This week, we’ll hear from two families who have tackled some of those larger moments together, but with the kids leaving for college, are now entering a new phase in their lives more or less apart.

Sylvia Grosvold and her father, Josh Weiner, first came to StoryCorps in 2019. Sylvia was a junior in high school, and the two sat down to remember Sylvia’s mother (Josh’s wife), Kari Grosvold.

Sylvia Grosvold and Josh Weiner at their StoryCorps interview in Portland Oregon on July 9, 2021. Courtesy of Josh Weiner.

Josh Weiner, Kari Grosvold, and Sylvia Grosvold, age 4, in 2008. Courtesy of Josh Weiner.

In the summer of 2021, Sylvia and Josh returned to StoryCorps to talk about how each of them are preparing for another big change — Sylvia going away to college.

Sylvia Grosvold and Josh Weiner at their StoryCorps interview in Portland Oregon on July 9, 2021. Courtesy of Joshua Weiner.

Next we’ll hear from Jennifer Sumner, who brought Kaysen Ford, her youngest of seven children, to StoryCorps in 2015 to learn more about Kaysen’s experiences inside and outside the classroom.  

Jennifer Sumner and her son, Kaysen Ford, at their StoryCorps interview on April 17, 2015 in Birmingham, AL. Photo by Christina Stanton for StoryCorps.

Six years later, Kaysen and Jennifer came back to StoryCorps to reflect on their previous conversation and share their hopes for the future.

Kaysen Ford and Jennifer Sumner at their StoryCorps interview in Birmingham, Alabama on  June 17, 2021. Courtesy of Jennifer Sumner.

Kaysen also checks in with StoryCorps’ podcast host, Kamilah Kashanie, and shares an update on their college life thus far.

Top photo: Artwork by Rosalyn Yoon.

Released on September 21st, 2021.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help at 1-800-273-8255. Or text TALK to 741-741.

The 2019 interview was recorded with The Dougy Center in Portland, OR. It is part of Road to Resilience, a project from StoryCorps in partnership with the New York Life Foundation, which leverages the power of stories and storytelling to help children cope with the death of a parent, sibling, or loved one. 

“You are going your own way”: A Father and Daughter Reflect On Leaving the Nest

When Sylvia Grosvold was 16 years old she came to StoryCorps with her father, Josh Weiner. They remembered her mother, Kari Grosvold, who had died by suicide when Sylvia was five years old. 

Josh Weiner, Kari Grosvold and Sylvia Grosvold, age 4, in 2008. Courtesy of Josh Weiner.

Over the years, Josh and Sylvia have relied on each other more than your average father/daughter duo. Two years after their first conversation, Sylvia and Josh returned to StoryCorps ahead of Sylvia’s move from the family’s home in Portland, Oregon to begin her freshman year at Ithaca College. As Sylvia prepared for her big move, Josh reflects on living alone for the first time in his life.

They talked about the closeness they share, their hopes and fears for the future, and Josh’s sudden journey to single parenthood.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help at 1-800-273-8255.

The 2019 interview was recorded through The Dougy Center  for grieving children. It is part of Road to Resilience, a project with StoryCorps in partnership with the New York Life Foundation which leverages the power of stories and storytelling to help children cope with the death of a parent, sibling, or loved one. 

Top Photo: Sylvia Grosvold and Josh Weiner at their StoryCorps interview in Portland Oregon on July 9, 2021. Courtesy of Josh Weiner.

Originally aired August 27, 2021, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

‘I Would Look Out The Window And Talk To Her’: A Daughter Learns To Cope With Her Mother’s Suicide

Josh Weiner remembers his wife, Kari Grosvold, as friendly, glowing personality. She also struggled with bipolar disorder and manic/depressive episodes. In 2008, Kari died by suicide. 

Their daughter Sylvia was five and a half years old at the time. A decade later, Sylvia and Josh sat down at StoryCorps to talk about losing Kari, and the years that followed.

Top photo: Josh Weiner and Sylvia Grosvold at their StoryCorps interview in Portland, OR on March 27, 2019. By Beth Duckles for StoryCorps.
Bottom photo: Sylvia Grosvold with her mom Kari Grosvold in March 2008. Courtesy of the Grosvold/Weiner family.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help at 1-800-273-8255.

This interview was recorded through The Dougy Center for grieving children. It is part of Road to Resilience, a project with StoryCorps in partnership with the New York Life Foundation which leverages the power of stories and storytelling to help children cope with the death of a parent, sibling, or loved one. 

Originally aired December 6, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

This Is Where I Leave You

It’s never easy to say goodbye to the people we love, but in this episode of the podcast, we’ll hear from four families as they navigate some of the most difficult conversations imaginable and, in the process, they remind us that even in death, there is life.

The first story comes from Patricia Mishler who moved to the United States from England in the late 70s with her two daughters, Suzanne and Janette. In 2014, at the age of 72, Patricia was diagnosed with ALS–also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. At StoryCorps, she sat down with her daughters to talk about living with the disease and knowing that it would one day take her life.

Next, you’ll hear from Eva Vega-Olds and how she used the StoryCorps app to record her final conversation with her father, Leonardo Vega, while he was receiving hospice care at home. 

You’ll also hear Natalie Colvin interviewing her 88-year-old grandfather, Willy Weeks, who, after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, made the decision to end his life on his own terms using a drug prescribed by his doctor. 

Our final story comes from 25-year-old Mark Carles, who came to StoryCorps with his older brother, David, to talk about how living with a rare form of liver cancer has impacted both of their lives.

Top photo: Artwork by Lindsay Mound.
Middle Photo: Patricia Mishler with her daughters Suzanne and Janette Lynch on March 28, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. By Erika Romero for StoryCorps
Middle Photo: Eva Vega-Olds with her father, Leonardo Vega, on her wedding day in May of 2009. Courtesy of Eva Vega-Olds.
Bottom Photo: Mark Carles and David Carles at their StoryCorps interview in New York City on November 6, 2019. By Mia Warren for StoryCorps.

Released on December 3, 2019.

Like the music in this episode? Support the artists:
“Heat and Memory” by Jarrett Floyd
“Untitled #2” by Yusuke Tsutsumi
“John Stockton Slow Drag” By Chris Zabriskie
“Siloed” By Matt Stevens
“Photosphere” By Charles Atlas

 

How Sheep Farming Helped an Injured Army Vet Overcome PTSD

Mickey Willenbring has always been a fighter. She grew up being shuffled between her family on reservations in the upper Midwest, family on the West Coast, and in the foster care system.

The Army called to her as a way to take control of her life, and at the age of 20, she enlisted.

What she didn’t know was that her biggest fight would lie not on the battlefield, but in coming home.

She came to StoryCorps in Eugene, Oregon to remember.

WillenbringExtra1

Over the past nine years, Mickey has owned and operated the Dot Ranch Navajo-Churro sheep farm in rural Oregon. She says she hasn’t had a major episode related to her PTSD since starting the ranch.

Top photo: Mickey Willenbring poses at her StoryCorps interview in Eugene, Oregon on January 26, 2019. Photo by Dupe Oyebolu/StoryCorps.
Bottom photo: Mickey Willenbring at work on her ranch with one of her Navajo-Churro sheep. Photo by Tim Herrera.

Originally aired March 1, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Father Noel Hickie and Marcia Hilton

Father Noel Hickie was working as a hospital chaplain when he met Marcia Hilton, a bereavement counselor, at a hospital in Eugene, Oregon. For 25 years, they often worked together on the hospice team, helping patients and their families through illness and death.

But when they first started, neither was sure if they were cut out for the work.

Marcia retired in 2013, Father Noel in 2015.

Originally aired July 28, 2017, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

This interview is part of StoryCorps Legacy, which provides people of all ages with serious illness and their families the opportunity to record, preserve, and share their stories.

John Matlock and Carol Matlock

In their early days, most computers were used for mathematical work, but a few were also used to help people find love.Matlock

John and Carol Matlock met in what was a precursor to online dating—computer dating—where potential partners filled out a questionnaire and then mailed it in.Then, a person would create a punch card out of their answers and feed it through a giant computer that would spit out a few perfect matches. In just weeks (or sometimes months), that information would then arrive back in their mailbox.

In 1964, John was working in electronics and frequently on the road without much time to date. Carol was a single mother concerned about finding someone who would love and accept her 2-year-old son, and while she wanted to date, she certainly wasn’t looking to get married. After filling out his profile, John remembers receiving the names and photographs of three women. But Carol stood out from the others with her attractive red hair worn in a French roll to one side so he picked up the phone and asked her out.

Carol hadn’t received her matches in the mail and didn’t even know what John looked like when she accepted the date, but she knew that if her family didn’t like him, she wasn’t going anywhere with him. When John arrived at Carol’s house, he was surprised to find 16 other people waiting to meet him. Fortunately, he received a good report, and they were married less than a year later.

John and Carol, who will have been married 52 years in December, recorded their first interview earlier this year using the StorpCorps app when their daughter, Karyn Servin, talked them about how they first met (you can hear that conversation below). More recently, they came back to StoryCorps to continue the conversation.

Originally aired August 12, 2016, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Above Photo: Carol and John Matlock on their wedding day, December 26, 1964, courtesy of the Matlock family.

Maya Leonard-Cahn and Michael Cahn

Michael Cahn who was brought up in an unhappy home with an alcoholic father and a mother who “kept a low profile,” talks with his daughter Maya Leonard-Cahn about becoming a parent and raising children.

Originally aired October 8, 2009, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Paul Mortimer and Shawn Fox

Prisoners at the Oregon State Penitentiary, Paul Mortimer and Shawn Fox, discuss their friendship and share stories about the people in their lives that provide them strength and support as they serve time for drug related robbery and aggravated murder.

Originally aired on January 20, 2006, on NPR’s Morning Edition.