Texas Archives - StoryCorps
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“I Have To Go, Girl”: A Mother And Daughter Get Real About Death

StoryCorps recording booths are places for people to look back on their lives, and sometimes to look ahead to a time when they’re no longer here.

That’s what Nidera Brown chose to discuss with her 66-year-old mother, Conchetta Brown. Conchetta has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD, and uses oxygen.

They came to StoryCorps to discuss their close relationship in life, and in death.

Top Photo: Nidera and Conchetta Brown at their StoryCorps interview in San Antonio, TX on November 17, 2022. By Manuela Velasquez 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 January 19, 2024, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

“You Are Seriously Fearless”: A Niece Thanks Her Favorite Aunt For Her Wisdom and Friendship

Menaja Obinali was born in 1948 and grew up in Franklin, a small Louisiana town. She was one of eleven children, and loved dancing, reading and making art as a teenager. One day an unexpected event shifted the course of Menaja’s life.

Undaunted, Menaja went on to get a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, and later moved to Dallas to get a master’s degree in theology. That’s when she moved in with her sister Connie and 5-year-old niece, Jarie.

Jarie, who still lives in Dallas, interviewed Menaja for StoryCorps when the Mobile Tour passed through in 2014.

Photo: Jarie Bradley and Menaja Obinali at their first StoryCorps interview in Dallas, Texas on December 13, 2014. By Callie Thuma 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 June 23, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

It Took 47 Years for These High School Sweethearts to Find Each Other Again

 Jimmy Neeley first met his high school sweetheart, Becky, in Spanish class at their high school in Longview, Texas. The year was 1969 and Becky was a sophomore while Jimmy was in his last year of school and getting ready to enlist in the Navy. 

 Middle photo: High school senior year portraits of Jimmy Neeley in 1969 and Becky Neeley in 1971.

When Becky turned 15, Jimmy took her on her first date and when he shipped off they wrote letters. Jimmy knew he was in love and even bought an engagement ring, but Becky had reservations. 

“My mom did not want me to be involved with anyone in the military during the time of Vietnam, because you don’t know what’s gonna happen,” she remembers. 

Becky declined Jimmy’s proposal and later sent him a “dear John” letter, breaking it off between the two of them. From there, their lives went in different directions. It took 47 years for them to be reunited.

Top Photo: Jimmy and Becky Neeley at their wedding in Rockwall, Texas, on Valentine’s Day of 2020.

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 17, 2023 , on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

“It Feels Like a Gift”: How Taking a Name Kept One Man’s Legacy Alive

In 1981, the death of 21-year-old Cameroonian man Acha Mbiwan devastated his family. Losing Acha — known for his mischievous sense of humor and prodigious intelligence — sent shockwaves through the family’s tight-knit community.  

For more than 40 years, they found it difficult to even speak about Acha. But little did they know that Acha had befriended an American man in college named Atiba, who was so moved by Acha’s death that he took his friend’s last name, Mbiwan, as a tribute.

In 2012, Acha’s sisters Didi Ndando and Egbe Monjimbo learned of Atiba’s existence after stumbling across him on the internet. All three sat down for StoryCorps to talk about what happened next.

This story was adapted from the StoryCorps Podcast. To hear the full story, listen to the episode: “One Who Is Understanding

Top Photo: Didi Ndando, Atiba Mbiwan, and Egbe Monjimbo at a reunion for Atiba’s family in Atlanta in 2014. Courtesy of Egbe Monjimbo.
Middle Photo: Acha Mbiwan posing in a photo booth in 1980 in Paris, France. Courtesy of Egbe Monjimbo.

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 December 2, 2022, on NPR’s Morning Edition

Your support makes it possible for StoryCorps, an independently funded nonprofit, to collect, archive, and share the stories of people from all backgrounds because everyone’s stories deserve to be heard.

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One Who Is Understanding

Family names bind one generation to the next. But what if that name is lost? In this episode, a grieving family learns their legacy is being kept alive by a stranger from far away.
Artwork by Lyne Lucien.
Released on November 22nd, 2022.

Your support makes it possible for StoryCorps, an independently funded nonprofit, to collect, archive, and share the stories of people from all backgrounds because everyone’s stories deserve to be heard.

Donate

After Four Decades In The Classroom, A Texas Teacher Is Keeping History Alive

Nelva Williamson grew up in a small town near Cape Cod, MA. Her mother was a teacher for 52 years and her father was a career military man.

Nelva Williamson (center) poses with her mother, Vird Ella Williams (left), and her father, Harold Williams (right), at Nelva’s college graduation. 

Nelva grew up with a love and respect for learning that she carried with her throughout her life. As a young woman she found herself drawn to the classroom, and 42 years later that’s still where you will find her. When faced with the option of retiring, Nelva instead decided to help found a public high school in Houston, Texas. The school is an all-girls institution serving predominantly Black and Hispanic students.

Nelva came to StoryCorps with her son Timothy J. Harris to reflect on her 42-year career and the importance of teaching ‘the whole history.’

Top Photo: Nelva Williamson and Timothy J. Harris at their StoryCorps interview in Houston, Texas on May 26, 2022. By Jey Born 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 August 26, 2022, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

“This Isn’t Normal At All”: A Mother And Son Reflect On A Culture Of Mass Shootings

In 2018 Dezmond Floyd, then 10  years old, came to StoryCorps with his mother Tanai Benard-Turner to talk about what goes through his mind during what was becoming increasingly familiar, active shooter drills at school. 

(L) Tanai Benard-Turner and her son Dezmond Floyd at their StoryCorps interview in 2018, (R) Dezmond Floyd and his mother Tanai Benard-Turner at their StoryCorps interview in 2022. By Jud Esty-Kendall and Danny Reeves for StoryCorps.

Four years passed and Dezmond and Tenai, from Houston, Texas, were still having conversations about the effects of gun violence on American children.

After the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, mother and son returned to StoryCorps to reflect on the emotional impact these drills and shootings are having on children across the country.

Top Photo: Dezmond Floyd and his mother Tanai Benard-Turner at their StoryCorps interview in Houston, Texas on June 4th, 2022. By Danny Reeves for StoryCorps.

Originally aired June 10th, 2022, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

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.

“We’re Just Big Guys Dancing”: How One Man Found His Calling As A Mavs ManiAAC

When Rob Maiden was a kid, he was a little bigger than some of his classmates. And during one summer, he shot up from 5’6” to 6’3”, becoming the tallest one in his family. His father — a huge football enthusiast — couldn’t wait to watch Rob play football.

But Rob found his calling in another sport: a hip hop dance group of self-proclaimed “beefy” men who perform during Dallas Mavericks basketball games.

Mavs ManiAACs at a Dallas Mavericks game performance. Courtesy of Daniel Jacob.

Rob came to StoryCorps with his friend Daniel Jacob, to talk about how they both ended up as part of the Mavs ManiAACs, and how Rob’s father eventually saw him do what he was “born to do.”

Top Photo: Daniel Jacob and Rob Maiden at their StoryCorps interview in Dallas, TX in 2014. Photo by Liyna Anwar for StoryCorps.

Originally aired April 22, 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.