Veronica Fischmann – StoryCorps
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A Daily Dose of Humanity

Whether you are new to StoryCorps or have been with us since the beginning, take a few minutes to explore some of our favorite uplifting, inspiring, and laugh-out-loud stories.


 

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"Do you have any different take on that story?"
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A Family That Knows How to Laugh at Itself

Laura Greenberg grew up as part of a gregarious family in Queens, New York. Her upbringing that couldn’t be more different than that of her husband, Carl. At StoryCorps, they told their daughter about those early days — terrible first kiss and all.
Read the full transcript here.


 

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"If you need me to hold your hand, I'm there."
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A Good Day on NYC Public Transit

Subway conductor Paquita Williams brings extra TLC to the line she runs on New York City transit. Laura Lane, one of her passengers, took her to StoryCorps to remember the day they met.
Read the full transcript here.


 


Two by Two

Two identical brides. Two identical grooms. Two unique love stories. Hunny and Elliot Reiken reflect on 61 years of marriage.
Read the full transcript here.


 

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"When I first bought the building, everybody thought that I was crazy."
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Making a Comeback, Brick by Brick, After Katrina

Burnell Cotlon remembers taking a chance: opening a grocery store in New Orlean’s Lower Ninth Ward, where food was not available to local residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Read the full transcript here.


 


The Temple of Knowledge

For avid readers, spending a night in a library might be a dream come true. Growing up, Ronald Clark lived in one — a branch of the New York Public Library, to be exact.
Read the full transcript here.


 

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"We see each other every day, every minute of every day."
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A Three-in-One Package

Sometimes it takes a kid’s perspective to brighten your day, so today we’re bringing you three. These triplets have spent their entire lives together, and shared everything from a birthday to a bedroom.
Read the full transcript here.


 

To R.P. Salazar, With Love

Rachel P. Salazar and Ruben P. Salazar were living 9,000 miles apart and completely unaware of each other. Then a typo brought them together, and their love story began.
Read the full transcript here.


 

Clean Streets

Sanitation workers Angelo Bruno and Eddie Nieves worked together for nearly 10 years on the same garbage route in Manhattan’s West Village and became fixtures in the community.
Read the full transcript here.


 

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"By the time I was in the second grade, everyone was calling me Raymond."
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Facundo the Great

Ramón  “Chunky” Sanchez remembers how teachers at his local elementary school Anglicized the Mexican American students’ names. One classmate proved to be the exception to the rule.
Read the full transcript here.


 

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"Why are you asking these questions?"
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Why Can’t We Own A Rollercoaster?

Nine-year-old Isaiah Fredericks and his younger brother, Josiah, used their StoryCorps interview to ask their dad, Kevin, some hard-hitting questions.
Read the full transcript here.

Celebrating the Stories of Chicago

Goodbyes are bittersweet. After more than eight years — and many wonderful interviews — in the region, StoryCorps is closing its operations and recording booth in Chicago in September 2021.

We’re proud to have had a booth and exhibition space at the Chicago Cultural Center and to have partnered with WBEZ 91.5 FM to preserve, share, and broadcast this city’s stories.

We want to especially thank our Chicago-based staff for their thoughtfulness, care, and excellence throughout the years.

Listen to the voices of Chicago

Since we first opened the recording booth, we’ve been bowled over by the heart of our Chicago storytellers. We’ve rounded up a few favorites below, but there are so many more to listen to in the Chicago Collection. 

Gloria Allen and Charlene Carruthers

Charlene and Gloria talk about growing up in Chicago, their sexual orientations and gender identities, and how LGBTQ terminology has changed over the years. Gloria shares stories about being gay and then transitioning, and living an out life in both Chicago and New York.

Alaa Basatneh and Zainab Khan

Zainab interviews Syrian human rights activist Alaa about her experience using social media to aid protesters on the ground in Syria, a passion that resulted in a death threat from the Syrian regime. Alaa’s parents taught her that even though she was living in Chicago, she should never forget the people in Syria.

Yvonne Orr-El and Kimberley Rudd

Yvonne talks to her friend Kimberley about the impact that her revolutionary parents have had on her life. She talks about finding truth under layers of family secrets, what her activism looks like today, and the importance of “thriving instead of just surviving life.”

Nancy Faust Jenkins and Beth Finke

Nancy talks to her friend Beth about her career as an organist for the Chicago White Sox. They talk about how Nancy’s music helped Beth follow baseball games after she lost her sight, and how they met and became friends.

Raymundo Gomez Hernandez and Alexander Ewers

Raymundo talks to his husband Alexander about growing up in Mexico City knowing at an early age that he was gay, even before he knew there was a word for it. He talks about heroes, his experience at a “church camp” (actually conversion therapy) in Mexico, his religious beliefs, and how their first date ended with Alexander uttering, “Bye, I love you,” which they laugh about now.

Vishal Bhuva and Parag Bhuva

Brothers Vishal and Parag talk about their family role models and the cultural principles that influenced their career choices in public service. They discuss the challenges and fulfilling aspects of their work, and how they balance work, family, and personal growth. Vishal reads a poem he wrote after a 30 hour shift at the ER at Cook County Hospital.

Ashley Galvan Ramos and Christian Diaz

Christian interviews his friend Ashley about her activism in the Logan Square community. She also shares her family’s story of displacement, and talks about carrying on with the Chinelos’ traditions.

Wanda Bridgeforth and Beth Finke

Wanda Bridgeforth is interviewed by her friend Beth Finke about growing up in Bronzeville, Chicago, her time at DuSable High School, and her love of writing.

Cindy Alvarado and Astrid Tamer

Cindy and Astrid are friends and fellow advocates at Mujeres Latinas En Acción. They have a conversation about their work as volunteers in the Sexual Assault Program, and they also talk about the friendship they have forged.

Tania Cordova and Emmanuel Garcia

Emmanuel interviews his best friend Tania about the challenges as a Trans Latinx woman. Tania also talks about her new project called “SER el cambio,” a transitional housing center for the Trans community of Chicago.
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"Mauricio was able to teach us to live in the moment... life is a party. Enjoy it."
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Jessica Valdivia and Jorge Valdivia

Jorge Valdivia and his sister Jessica Valdivia honor the memory of their older brother Mauricio Valdivia who died in Chicago of COVID-19. They reminisce about their favorite memories growing up with someone full of life who “went out of their way for their family.” They also discuss their experience with grief and loss during the pandemic. Read the full transcript here.

Our booth in Chicago may be closed, but it’s never been easier to record a StoryCorps interview with the important people in your life. Find out how to record your conversations remotely with Storycorps Connect.

Teacher Appreciation Week #GoogleDoodle Featuring StoryCorps Stories

We are kicking off Teacher Appreciation Week 2021 in partnership with Google to honor educators and highlight the voices of teachers and students.

You can find five StoryCorps stories in an interactive, animated Google Doodle here. These stories feature voices from across the country, and touch on everything from the struggles a young man faced as one of the first Black students to integrate his high school to two teachers reflecting on how COVID-19 has affected their work. The common thread across all of them is the incredible and lasting impact that these educators have had on their students’ lives. 

Listen to all five original stories below.

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"There was nothing more that I wanted to do than to protect you."
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“I didn’t know what a good teacher was until I saw the way you taught.”

In the second of two stories in this audio clip, 19-year-old Jose Catalan, who is studying to become a math teacher, sat down with his former high school teacher Carlos Vizcarra to talk about how they became friends. Read the full transcript here.
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“I think you should get half my diploma.”
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“I think you should get half my diploma.”

Cole Phillips, who had recently become blind, started high school with an adult following him from class to class. Rugenia Keefe, or Miss Ru, was a paraprofessional who assisted Cole with many of his most difficult subjects — and over time became a friend and confidant.  Read the full transcript here.
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“I realized, wow, somebody else has these feelings. This isn’t just me.”
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“You probably had no idea the impact you were making.”

Russ King, a cabaret performer, talks with his elementary school music teacher, Paige Macklin, about a choice she made 50 years ago, and how it changed his life. Read the full transcript here.
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"You have this unique ability to — even in the darkest times — just tell people it's going to be okay."
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“I don’t think, without your energy, I could have made it teaching through this whole pandemic.”

High school English teacher Alexia Dukes speaks with her mentor and colleague, Maria Rivera, about teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full transcript here.

Lessons Learned

From the first roll call of the 1964 school year, Dr. William Lynn Weaver was targeted and harassed by the faculty of his previously all-white high school. Then a former teacher stepped in and saved his life. Read the full transcript here.


#ThankAnEducator this May and June

This Doodle kicks off our #ThankAnEducator effort. This May and June, StoryCorps wants to spark a moment of gratitude for the educators who have been working tirelessly to adapt to our collective new normal while supporting and teaching students of all ages and needs.
It hasn’t been easy, but educators have continued to change millions of lives every day in virtual and in-person classrooms. Honor an educator in your life with a StoryCorps interview and show them just how much they mean to you. You can record a conversation remotely using StoryCorps Connect, or record in person with the free StoryCorps App. Find out more about our Thank an Educator effort here.

To discover more stories featuring teachers and students, explore a collection of interviews from the 2021 State Teachers of the Year. You can also read reflections on recording by Tabatha Rosproy, 2020 National Teacher of the Year, and listen to her conversation with her best friend about one of their favorite teachers here.

Thank you

Thank you to the participants for sharing your stories with us, and thank you to teachers across the country for the tireless work and support over the past year.

Thank you to our partners at Google for celebrating teachers during a time when their work and dedication has never been more important.

StoryCorps is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Commemorating the Lives Lost During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In recognition of this unprecedented time and the many lives lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, StoryCorps would like to create a space for reflection and remembrance.

StoryCorps invites families and friends to record a conversation celebrating the life and legacy of loved ones who have died. Each conversation will be archived at the Library of Congress, where family members can access these memories for generations to come.

Your conversations can center around memories of the person who has died — what they mean to you, how they changed you, or anything else you’d like to share. You might describe the person’s character, what brought them joy, or the impact they had on your life. You may complete your tribute by uploading photos as well.

We hope these conversations can bring comfort and space for reflection by helping families and communities mourn. We acknowledge that people process loss in different ways and on different timetables and hope this guide can be helpful as you consider recording a memorial conversation.


Preparing Yourself for a Memorial Conversation

• There is no right or wrong way to have this conversation. All feelings are welcome.

• Be curious and open to surprises. Conversations about grief can go in unexpected directions.

• What you discuss is up to you. You don’t have to share anything that you don’t wish to talk about.

• Listen closely to one another. Repeating back what your partner says can be affirming for them and helpful in forming your next question.

• It’s okay to move on from certain questions, have moments of silence throughout your conversation or try recording another day.

• Allow your partner to talk about their experiences in their own words; try asking general, open-ended questions that don’t assume answers.

• Remember to check in with each other before, during, and after your conversation.


Suggested Questions for COVID-19 Memorial Conversations

Here are some questions to ask, though we also welcome you to make up your own. The person you record with will naturally shape the direction of the conversation.

• What advice would you offer to others who are going through this experience?

• What do you miss most about _____________?

• Do you have one or two favorite memories of _____________?

• Is there anything else you want the world to know about _____________?

Download (PDF): Access more resources for recording a COVID-19 memorial, including additional suggested questions, in this printable guide.

How to Record a Memorial Conversation

  1. Find someone with whom you feel comfortable speaking about your loved one, and set aside time to record an intentional conversation. Together, review our list of memorial questions, and choose 5 to 10 to begin your conversation. Decide on a date and time to record.
  2. If you two are social distancing, record on StoryCorps Connect. If you are physically together, record with the StoryCorps App. You’ll need an account to start, so create one ahead of time.
  3. Discuss the privacy settings with your partner. Your interview may be public, private, or available only to the StoryCorps online community. You can agree ahead of time; you can also choose after finishing your conversation. Additionally, you’ll be able to change your privacy settings at any time.
  4. Start the memorial by sharing your names and the date. Then introduce the name of the person you’re remembering, their relationship to you and the other person recording, and when and where they died. For example, “My name is Rhonda Petrovic, and my name is Jovan Petrovic, and we’re recording on June 24, 2020. Today we are remembering our mother, Dragana Petrovic. She passed away from COVID-19 on May 19, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York.”
  5. Continue by asking questions of one another and sharing important memories. You can find additional interview tips below.
  6. After your interview, enter your summary, title, and keywords, including the keywords COVID MEMORIALS and your loved one’s name.
  7. Thank your partner for sharing this experience with you. Share your memorial with people who knew your loved one and might want to listen to the conversation. You can also share your memorial on social media, and tag #COVIDMEMORIALS and @StoryCorps.

 


Selected Stories About Loss

Watch, listen to, and share the stories below about loss and love:

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"I heard her say, 'Don’t you be no sad mama for my grandbaby!'"
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Walking in a Mother’s Legacy

Sada Jackson, who lost her mother, Ileana Watson, to breast cancer, just before becoming a mother herself, sits down with her mother’s best friend to look back.
Read the full transcript here.

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“I thought “you know if you don't try, you’ll always regret it”. So I wrote her a letter…”
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The Risk That Led Him To The Love Of His Life

Eddie Chang talks to his youngest daughter, Tria, about the week that sparked a romance that would last four decades, and about all that he still loves about his late wife, E. F. Wen.
Read the full transcript here.

 

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"His hands were those of someone who worked since the age of six."
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His Grandfather, the Gardener

Santiago Arredondo honors his grandfather, Jose Guadalupe Enrique Sanchez, whose portrait he has tattooed on his arm.
Read the full transcript here.

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“It’s really surprising the amount of life lessons you can learn in a kitchen if you have the right teacher.”
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A Grandmother’s Wisdom

Chloe Longfellow remembers the happy memories and life lessons taught to her by her grandmother, many of which took place in the kitchen.
Read the full transcript here.

 

Reflecting on the Murder of George Floyd & the Spring 2020 Black Lives Matter Demonstrations

StoryCorps has created a space for reflections about the murder of George Floyd and the demonstrations that followed. We invite you to record a conversation which can be archived at the Library of Congress, where future generations can listen to and learn from this moment in the struggle for racial justice.

We each process events in different ways and on different timetables. People may feel energized, activated, angry, cynical, or every shade in between. We welcome the entire constellation of emotion and perspective. Regardless of circumstance, StoryCorps strives to provide a safe environment to share your stories.

We encourage you to talk with a loved one or friend, recording your perspective about how race has informed your life and your feelings about the events of Spring 2020. We honor the opportunity to hold, preserve, and share your story.

Overview of the Interview Process

Here are the steps to record. You can also access them, along with suggested questions, recording pairings, and framing for your conversation in this downloadable document.

  1. Choose a person in your life with whom you’d like to share a reflective discussion on the topic.
  2. Familiarize yourself with StoryCorps Connect or with our App. On each platform, you can review our question list and hoped-for outcomes, and decide on which questions you’ll ask one another. Feel free to create your own questions as well.
  3. Agree on a time when you will meet for your interview and enjoy your conversation.
  4. When filling out your post-interview information form, tag the interview with the keyword “George Floyd Protests 2020
  5. Share your interview with friends and family or on social media.

 

 

Download (PDF): More Resources for Talking About the Murder of George Floyd & the Spring 2020 Black Lives Matter Demonstrations

Suggested Questions To Start Your Conversation

Here are some questions to ask, though we also welcome you to make up your own. The person you record with will naturally shape the direction of the conversation. We encourage intergenerational pairings: someone who is older and has had experiences that they are willing to share with someone who is younger. We also invite you to have a conversation with a peer or friend with whom you have shared experiences that impacted you both.

Click here for even more question suggestions.

Selected Stories

Watch, listen to, and share stories about racism experienced by Black Americans in these animations:

Traffic Stop

Note: The audio contains graphic descriptions of violence and the web post with the transcript contains a graphic photograph.
Alex Landau, an African American man, was raised by his adoptive white parents to believe that skin color didn’t matter. When Alex was pulled over by Denver police officers one night in 2009, he lost his belief in a color-blind world—and nearly lost his life.
Read the full transcript here.

A More Perfect Union

When Theresa Burroughs came of voting age, she was ready to cast her ballot—but she had a long fight ahead of her. During the Jim Crow era, the board of registrars at Alabama’s Hale County Courthouse prevented African American people from registering to vote. Undeterred, Theresa remembers venturing to the courthouse on the first and third Monday of each month, in pursuit of her right to vote.
Read the full transcript here.

Lessons Learned

From the first roll call of the 1964 school year, William Lynn Weaver was targeted by white teachers at the Tennessee high school he and thirteen other black students integrated. A few weeks later, Weaver, a former high achiever, brought home a failing report card. What happened next still moves him.
Read the full transcript here.

School’s Out

Reverend James Seawood grew up in the 1950s in Sheridan, Arkansas, and attended an all-black school. The town’s main employer and landlord was a lumber mill. Following the federal mandate to integrate the public schools, the mill forced its African American employees and tenants out of town. As the population diminished, James’ mother became his school’s principal, janitor, and whatever else was needed.
Read the full transcript here.

Silvia’s Legacy

Ellaraino experienced a common teenage reaction when she learned she’d have to leave Los Angeles to spend the summer in Louisiana with her great-grandmother, Silvia. Less common was Ellaraino’s realization that Silvia had lived through the Civil War, and had a lot to teach her great-granddaughter about the true meaning of freedom.
Read the full transcript here.

 

Celebrate Graduation with StoryCorps

Who were you when you started school?
Who are you now?
Who helped you get there?

Graduation is going to look a little different this year. As a way to help celebrate the achievements of students everywhere, StoryCorps is encouraging them to record a StoryCorps conversation with one of the people who helped them reach this exciting milestone.

Record their stories

Invite the students in your life to record a StoryCorps story with one of the people who helped them reach this exciting milestone.

Students’ interviews will be archived at the Library of Congress, becoming part of American history. Hundreds of years from now, future generations will listen in.

Great Questions Are a Great Place To Start

Not sure where to start? Here are some Great Questions to ask. You can download the full list here, use one of the selected questions below, or make up your own!

 

 

Stories Celebrating Milestones and the People Who Helped Along the Way

Listen and share from our selection of stories:

Lessons Learned

From the first roll call of the 1964 school year, Dr. William Lynn Weaver was targeted and harassed by the faculty of his previously all-white high school. Then a former teacher stepped in and saved his life.
Read the full transcript here.

Double Major

When Wil Smith enrolled as a freshman in college, he brought an unusual roommate with him — his infant daughter. Wil and Olivia look back together on their days as college roommates.
Read the full transcript here.


Growing up, it was rare for Raymond Blanks to have teachers who looked like him — until he walked into Sean Lloyd’s 7th grade classroom. Now a middle school math teacher, Raymond tells Sean how he influenced Raymond’s life’s work.

 

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"Everywhere we went my mother would make sure that they enrolled us in school."
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Everywhere We Went, My Mother Would Make Sure That They Enrolled Us In School

Lourdes Villanueva talks to her son Roger about growing up in a family of migrant workers, and the dedication and hard work she put in to get her GED—and her desire to graduate before her own children got their diplomas.
Read the full transcript here.

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"I told you that one day, you were going to go here to Stanford."
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I Told You That One Day, You Were Going to Go Here to Stanford

Francisco Preciado, who dreamed of one day becoming a teacher but was forced to drop out of school due to financial demands, and his son Frankie came to StoryCorps to talk about their relationship and their time together at Stanford — one as a maintenance man, the other as a student.
Read the full transcript here.