Growing Up Archives - StoryCorps

“It’s Like This Invisible Golden Lasso.” A Son Reflects on Coming Out, and His Mother’s Love

Corey Harvard has dedicated his life to advocating for LGBTQ+ youth in Mobile, Alabama through his organization Prism United

He was raised in Mobile, and grew up in a deeply religious home. But in middle school, he realized he was queer, and struggled to come out to his parents. 

Corey and Lisa Harvard at a skating rink in Columbus, Ohio in 1996. By Benjamin Harvard, courtesy of Corey Harvard.

Above all he worried it would change how much they loved him. But it didn’t.  At StoryCorps, Corey sat down with his mother, Lisa Harvard, to reflect on that time.

Lisa and Corey Harvard out to dinner together in Mobile, Alabama on May 3rd, 2016. By Jennifer Clark-Grainger, courtesy of Corey Harvard.

Top Photo: Corey and Lisa Harvard at their StoryCorps interview in Mobile, Alabama on October 29, 2023. By Chapin Montague 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 26, 2024, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

“Try to be happy.” : A Father Shares his Wisdom

Tchin, an artist and metalsmith, has built a distinguished career. He’s an established Indigenous artist, even creating pieces for brands like Cartier.  

Tchin and Xiao Hui Star in Santa Fe, NM in 1985. Photo courtesy of Xiao Hui Star.

Growing up in foster homes across Virginia and Rhode Island, Tchin was often one of the few Indigenous people in his community. But he made a life as an artist while raising four daughters in New York City.

At StoryCorps Tchin sat down with his daughter Xiao Hui Star Chin to reflect on all he’s learned.

Xiao Hui with her parents Tchin and WanWoo Chin in Brooklyn, NY in 1988. Photo courtesy of Xiao Hui Star
Top Photo: Xiao Hui Star and Tchin at their StoryCorps interview in Philadelphia, PA on September 16, 2023. By Kayla Lattimore 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 12, 2024, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

“He Inherited The Very Same Name”: Remembering Joseph Kahahawai

In 1931, five young Hawaiian men were wrongfully charged of raping the white wife of a U.S. Navy officer stationed at Pearl Harbor. Her name was Thalia Massie, and she alleged it happened around midnight when she decided to go for a walk and get some air. The case was declared a mistrial after the jury was unable to reach a verdict, and the men were released.

In what became known as the Massie trials, the family of the accuser—including her mother and husband—then kidnapped and killed one of the five accused men in January of 1932. He was a Native Hawaiian boxer named Joseph Kahahawai.

Portraits of Joseph “Joe” Kahahawai circa 1931 (left) and his brother, Joseph Kahahawai circa 1954. Photos courtesy of the Library of Congress and the Kahahawai family.

The Massie’s were tried and sentenced to ten years in prison for manslaughter… But under threats of Martial Law from Congress, they were pardoned by the territorial governor of Hawaii, who commuted their sentence to one hour in his office. The Massie family fled to the mainland, and never returned.

After decades of silence, the Kahahawai family has started speaking publicly about the case, and the impact “Joe” Kahahawai’s murder had on their family and the broader Hawaiian community.

At StoryCorps, his nieces, Kim Farrant and Joy Kahahawai-Welch, remember their uncle, and how the family has kept his name and legacy alive.

Joseph Kahahawai’s gravesite, at the Puea Cemetery in Kalihi, Honolulu, HI, on January 8, 2022 (the anniversary of his murder). Courtesy of the Kahahawai family.
Top Photo: Kim Farrant and Joy Kahahawai-Welch at their StoryCorps interview in Honolulu on June 17, 2022. By Ben DeHaven 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 Jan. 5, 2024, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

How a Teacher’s Act of Kindness Bound her Student and Family Together

In 1958, John’s Cruitt’s mother fell ill and passed away shortly before Christmas. His third grade teacher, Cecile Doyle, gave him a kiss on the forehead after class, and told him he didn’t have to be alone.

John never forgot that moment, and 54 years later wrote a heartfelt letter telling her how much she meant to him. Not long after, they came to StoryCorps to reflect on how they became so close.


The letter John Cruitt wrote to his former third grade teacher, Cecile Doyle, in 2012.
Photo by Julia Kirschenbaum for StoryCorps.

 

Cecile passed away in 2019. But John had also grown close to her daughter, Allison Doyle. At StoryCorps, they discussed how John’s reunion with his teacher brought them together.


John Cruitt and Allison Doyle looking through Cecile Doyle’s  scrapbook on December 10, 2023.
Photo by Julia Kirschenbaum for StoryCorps.
Top Photo: John Cruitt and his third grade teacher, Cecile Doyle, reuniting for the first time in 54 years in 2012. Courtesy of Allison Doyle. 

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.

Original broadcast aired December 28, 2012, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Update aired December 22, 2023 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

At The Lesbian Switchboard, Empathy Was On The Other End of the Line

The Lesbian Switchboard was a helpline for queer women that operated from 1972 to 1997. Denise Tuite volunteered to spend hours at night sitting in the cramped offices of the Switchboard, taking calls from women with no one else to talk to about their sexuality.

Some of these calls were casual, asking where to meet women in NYC. Others were from people in need of advice and consolation.

But through all of them, Denise could recognize the same emotions she’d once felt..

At StoryCorps, Denise shared what brought her to the Lesbian Switchboard.

Originally aired December 15, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

Top Photo: Denise Tuite at her StoryCorps interview in Tinton City, NJ on November 1, 2023. By James Eustace for StoryCorps.

“It’s important to look after people.” A Big Brother Reflects on What His Younger Brother Taught Him.

The Rigano family lived just north of New York City in New Rochelle. There were five siblings: Denise, Phil, Lola, Adele, and Robbie, who grew up in a loving home in the 1960s. But Robbie held a special place in their hearts. 

Left to Right: Phil Rigano school portrait at age 6; Adele, Rob, and Phil Rigano in the 1960s; Lola, Rob, and Denise Rigano on a family vacation to Lake George, NY in 1971. Photos courtesy of Lola Rigano. 

Robbie is developmentally disabled, and from a young age was known for getting into sticky situations.  He was especially drawn to cars, which led to a number of what his brother Phil described as “shenanigans.”

Phil and Rob Rigano during a visit to California in 2014. Photo courtesy of Phil Rigano.

In 2006 Phil brought Robbie to record a conversation together when theStoryCorps Mobile Tour stopped nearby.  Knowing Robbie’s love of cars, Phil knew he’d get a kick out of recording in the iconic Airstream trailer. He came back 17 years later to reflect on that first recording.

Rob Rigano at his job at the Department of Public Works for the City of Larchmont in 1987. Photo courtesy of Lola Rigano.

 

Top Photo: Rob and Phil Rigano at their StoryCorps interview in San Diego, California on February 11, 2006. By Piya Kochhar 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 December 8, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

As Two Communities Clashed, A Lifelong Friendship Grew

When Jim Murphy was nine, his Irish-American family moved to the south side of Tucson, Arizona. They were one of many families who migrated to the city just after World War II. 

Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez and his Mexican-American family were already living there.

At first the groups clashed, and fights were frequent at Jim and Carlos’ school. But the students would still find themselves together each Sunday for church. 

Carlos and Jim came to StoryCorps to talk about their memories growing up on the south side, and how they had more in common than they initially realized.

Photo of All Saints Catholic School 8th grade graduating class, including Jim and Carlos, in Tucson, Arizona, in 1950. Courtesy of Jim Murphy.

 

Top Photo: Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez and Jim Murphy in Jim’s backyard in Tucson, Arizona on April 16, 2023. By Esther Honig 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, 2023 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Mother And Daughter Remember How A Thunderstorm Transformed Their Lives

The odds of being struck by lightning in a given year is less than one in a million, according to the CDC.

But that’s exactly what happened to Donna Salemink the summer of 2014.

Donna was solo parenting her two teenagers in Colorado, when a freak accident altered her life forever. 

She came to StoryCorps with her daughter, Melissa, to remember the split second when everything changed. 

Melissa Salemink and Donna Salemink in Lafayette, Colorado in 2018. Photo courtesy of Donna Salemink.

 

Top Photo: Donna Salemink and Melissa Salemink at their StoryCorps interview in Loveland, Colorado on September 19, 2023. By Zanna McKay 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 October 20, 2023, on NPR’s Morning Edition. 

College Roommates Find Lasting Friendship In A Time of Transition

In 2016, Trey Phillips set off for his freshman year at Connecticut College. Itching for independence, he moved cross-country from his hometown of Los Angeles, California.

Trey’s roommate, Andre Thomas, ventured away from his home state of Illinois.  

The freshmen had emailed over the summer, but neither knew the impact they would have on each other in the coming year. 

Trey and Andre came to StoryCorps to reflect on that time, and all they’ve learned from one another.

Top Photo: Trey Phillips and Andre Thomas at their StoryCorps interview in New London, CT on January 21, 2018. By Aisha Turner 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 October 6, 2023 on NPR’s Morning Edition.

A family’s legacy of service, sacrifice, and fatherhood after 9/11

Top photo: Joseph Vigiano and John Vigiano Jr. with their father, John Vigiano Sr. circa 1994. Courtesy of Joseph Vigiano.

We’re celebrating our 20th anniversary by revisiting classic StoryCorps conversations from our first two decades and sharing updates on participants. 

(Left) Detective Joseph Vigiano, Firefighter John Vigiano II circa 1996. (Right) Police Officer Joseph Vigiano, Police Officer James Vigiano in April of 2023. Courtesy of Joseph Vigiano.

John Vigiano Sr. came to StoryCorps in 2007 to talk about his sons, Joseph and John Vigiano Jr., who both died in the line of duty during the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center. 

Joseph Vigiano with his father and brother, James Vigiano circa 1998. Courtesy of Joseph Vigiano.

In 2023 his grandson, Joseph Vigiano, came to StoryCorps to reflect on fatherhood and his family’s legacy.

Joseph and Kathleen Vigiano circa 1989. Courtesy of Joseph Vigiano. 

 

Jennifer and Joseph Vigiano with their son and Police Commissioner Edward Caban in March of 2023. Courtesy of Joseph Vigiano. 

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 on September 11, 2009. Rebroadcast with update on September 8, 2023 on NPR’s Morning Edition.