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.
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“There Was Always Music In The House”: Memories Of Luis M. Moreno, A Father And Prolific Songwriter
When Luis M. Moreno was around six years old, he encountered a fayuquero or traveling vendor who had a little guitar up for sale. The family story goes that Luis wanted the guitar and the vendor, seeing that Luis was just a small child, told him the guitar was his if he proved he could play it. After fiddling with the strings for a while, Luis played a little tune, and the vendor gave it to him.
This moment marked the beginning of a lifetime of music for Luis.
He drew inspiration from all the things he lived. Born in 1899, he became an orphan at the age of 8 and grew up seeing other musicians perform in the cantinas or taverns of his native Mexico. Then, the family tales say he was conscripted to fight in the Mexican Revolution, and after being shot in battle, he immigrated to the United States, settling down in California in the first half of the 20th Century.
Photo: A young Luis M. Moreno
That is where he met his wife and creative partner, Carmen Moreno. Together they were known as Los Moreno or El Dueto de los Moreno, famous for the Mexican folk music they performed on the radio and in venues throughout the Los Angeles area.
More than a century after their parents’ birth, his daughters, Rosemary Selzer and Carmencristina Moreno, now 67 and 81, came to StoryCorps to share their memories of growing up surrounded by music, and the bittersweet legacy that their father left behind.
Photo: Carmencristina Moreno and Rosemary Selzer in March 2021
Top Photo: Carmen Moreno and Luis M. Moreno performed under the name of Los Moreno or El Dueto de los Moreno
Originally aired March 26, 2021, on NPR’s Morning Edition.
“They Don’t See The Innocence In You”: A Black Father Continues To Answer Tough Questions From His Son
When 9-year-old Aidan Sykes first sat down for StoryCorps to interview his dad, Albert, he had some serious questions. Their conversation touched on Albert’s experience raising three Black sons in Mississippi, why they go to protests together, and what Albert’s hopes are for his son’s future.
Five years later, with Aidan a month away from turning 15, they decided to have another conversation using StoryCorps Connect. This comes at a time when protests are being held worldwide after a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota killed a Black man named George Floyd.
Top Photo: Albert and Aidan Sykes in Jackson, Mississippi, 2020. Photo courtesy of Albert Sykes.
Middle Photo: Albert and Aidan Sykes at their original StoryCorps interview back in 2015. By Vanessa Gonzalez-Block for StoryCorps.
Originally aired June 12, 2020, on NPR’s Morning Edition.