Portland Archives - StoryCorps

How A Tiny Gift Shop Became a Refuge for Queer People

The storefront of Drop Me A Line in Portland, Maine in 1990. By Roger Mayo.

Young gay couple Roger Mayo and Jim Neal opened Drop Me A Line, a tiny gift shop in Portland, Maine, in 1990. Although Portland in those days could be unfriendly for queer people, they chose to carry greeting cards and books that catered to LGBTQ customers. At StoryCorps, the former romantic partners reflected on how the store became so much more.

Bottom Photo: Jim Neal with transgender actress Lady Chablis at a book signing at Drop Me A Line in 1997.

Originally aired March 8, 2024, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Wil and Olivia Smith Update

Note: StoryCorps remembers Wil Smith, who recorded a conversation with his daughter, Olivia, about being a single dad in college. At the time of their first interview in 2012, Wil had just been diagnosed with colon cancer. He died on February 22, 2015 at 46 years old.

For our 10th anniversary, we’re revisiting some favorite stories.

At 27, Wil Smith’s age wasn’t the only thing that set him apart from other college freshmen. He was also raising his infant daughter, Olivia. At StoryCorps, they looked back on their college days.

Just before recording, Wil found out he had cancer. Recently, they came back to tell us how they’re doing now.

Originally broadcast October 23, 2013.

Theresa and Dennis McLaughlin

Dennis McLaughlin was born in 1948 with spina bifida, a birth defect that left him unable to use his legs.

But his mother, Theresa McLaughlin — a single mom who worked at a local paper mill– knew that “from the neck up, he’s just fine.” So she treated Dennis just like any other kid.

At a StoryCorps mobile booth, Dennis payed tribute to the way Theresa raised him.

Originally aired May 11, 2012 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Rebecca Fuller and Jenny Francis

Rebecca Fuller (left) and her sister Jenny Francis remember their younger brother, Marine First Lieutenant Travis John Fuller, who died in Iraq.

Originally aired January 26, 2007, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Stephanie Butler and Joyce Butler

Joyce Butler and her daughter Stephanie remember Joyce’s mother and Stephanie’s grandmother, Dot, who worked in a shipyard during World War II. Dot was raising four children on her own and shipyard work was a high paying, so she quit her job in a department store and started working nights enabling her to spend her days with her family.

Originally aired December 15, 2006, on NPR’s Morning Edition.