We Can Do It: How One Woman Found Independence During WWII
Growing up in San Antonio, Texas, Connie Rocha was the second of six siblings. She left school in the 8th grade to help provide for her family. Connie was 16 years old when the United States entered World War II, and like many women, she felt drawn to contribute to the war effort.
Connie Doria Rocha during her employment at Hickam Field in Hawai’i. Courtesy of Connie Rocha.
Connie began working at Kelly Field repairing airplanes as a sheet metal mechanic. After a year she applied for a transfer to another repair depot in Hawai’i, where she continued to work as an aircraft mechanic till the end of the war.
Women Mechanics known as “Kelly Katies” assemble for a photo. January 1944, at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas.
In 2008 Connie came to StoryCorps to record her memories for the Military Voices Initiative, to talk about the independence she gained through her work during World War II.
Top Photo: Connie Rocha during her StoryCorps interview in San Antonio, Texas on February 18, 2008. By Rose Gorman for StoryCorps.
Originally aired July 3, 2021, on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.
“I Took An Oath To Respond To The Needs Of My Nation”: An Army Chaplain Remembers The Height Of COVID-19 In New York City
As a military chaplain, Army Major Ivan Arreguin has seen many overseas deployments. But in April 2020, while serving with the 44th Medical Brigade out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he was deployed stateside for a mission unlike any other.
At the time, New York City had been dubbed the epicenter of the coronavirus. Hospitals were overrun with patients, and doctors and nurses were spread thin. Relief came in many forms, including military medical units, who were providing additional support and care.
Over StoryCorps Connect, Chaplain Arreguin told his wife, Aileen, what it was like to be stationed in New York City during the height of COVID-19.
Top Photo: Army Major Ivan Arreguin (center), and other soldiers, escorting the remains of a veteran who died from COVID-19 while being treated at the Javits New York Medical Station, in New York City, April 19, 2020. Photo by U.S. Air National Guard Major Patrick Cordova.
Middle Photo: Army Major Ivan Arreguin and Aileen Arreguin at their son’s wedding in Sanford, NC, in June 2020. Courtesy of the Arreguin family.
The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.
Originally aired November 14, 2020, on NPR’s Weekend Edition.
‘You Are Both’: A Chicano Arts Historian Celebrates His Mexican American Heritage
Tomás Ybarra-Frausto grew up in the 1940s, just outside of San Antonio, Texas, on a ranch that belonged to his grandfather. He was raised in a bilingual family, but when Tomás started elementary school, he was told that he and his classmates could only speak English — not Spanish.
At StoryCorps, Tomás told his longtime friend Antonia how the land he grew up on, coupled with his family’s emphasis on language and culture, helped him appreciate his Mexican American heritage.
After spending more than two decades in New York, working as a Chicano arts historian, Tomás returned to his roots and settled back in San Antonio, Texas.
Top photo: Antonia Castañeda and Tomás Ybarra-Frausto at their StoryCorps interview in San Antonio, TX on March 23, 2012. By Anaid Reyes for StoryCorps.
Bottom photo: Tomás Ybarra-Frausto at his StoryCorps interview in San Antonio, TX on March 23, 2012. By Anaid Reyes for StoryCorps.
Originally aired July 31, 2020 on NPR’s Morning Edition.
Completing the Circle: A Mother and Daughter Explore What Family Really Means
Dena Kohleriter had always planned on having a family. But, when she was 36 years old and hadn’t yet met the person she wanted to build one with, she decided to take matters into her own hands. Ten years later she came to StoryCorps in Dallas, Texas with her 8 year old daughter, Jori, to talk about that time.
Top photo: Dena Kohleriter and Jori Kohleriter at their StoryCorps interview in Dallas, Texas on November 8th, 2019. By Mia Raquel for StoryCorps.
Middle photo: Dena Kohleriter and Jori Kohleriter, courtesy of Dena Kohleriter.
Bottom photo: Dena Kohleriter’s great aunt Roszi and her daughter, courtesy of Dena Kohleriter.
Originally aired January 3rd, 2020 on NPR’s Morning Edition.
‘Everything Just Came Crashing Down’: A Mother and Daughter Grapple With Homelessness
Ten years ago, Sandy Baker left her troubled marriage. Using what money she could scrape together, Sandy checked into a motel with her teenage daughter, Ashley. They were homeless for the next two and a half years.
Recently, they came to a StoryCorps booth in Dallas to talk about that time.
Ashley and Sandy now have their own apartment. This year, Ashley graduated college, and Sandy now works to provide housing for others in need.
Top photo: Ashley Baker and Sandy Baker at their StoryCorps interview in Dallas, TX on October 19, 2019. By Eleanor Vasilli for StoryCorps.
This interview was recorded through a community partnership with Family Promise of Collin County.
Originally aired November 29, 2019 , on NPR’s Morning Edition.
After Giving Up Baby, Reunion Sparks Second Chance at Motherhood
Janie Bush was just 19 years old in 1968 when she discovered she was expecting a child.
After careful consideration, she decided to give her daughter up for adoption.
In 2014, Janie came to StoryCorps in Dallas, Texas with her daughter, Tracey Bush, to talk about what happened next.
Top photo: Janie and Tracey Bush at their StoryCorps interview in Dallas, TX on December 8, 2014. By Callie Thuma for StoryCorps.
Bottom photo: The first photo taken of Janie and Tracey Bush, when they reconnected on Janie’s porch when Tracey was 12 years old. Courtesy of Janie Bush.
Originally aired on November 8, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.
For a Father’s Last Meal, the Main Ingredient Is Love
Juan Reyes grew up in a small town in Mexico and immigrated to the United States in the 1940s. He eventually settled in Texas, where he raised his two daughters, Estela and Candi Reyes.
In Juan’s later years, his struggle with diabetes intensified, and he became more sick. At StoryCorps in El Paso, Estela and Candi remembered caring for him in his final days.
Top Photo: Candi and Estela Reyes at their StoryCorps interview in El Paso, Texas in 2012. By Anaid Reyes for StoryCorps.
Bottom Photo: Juan Reyes in the early 1970s. Courtesy of the Reyes family.
Originally aired June 14th, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.
Pearls of Wisdom
No matter where you grew up, it wasn’t easy being out in the 1950s or ‘60s. Back then, being gay was still classified as a mental illness, and that wouldn’t change until 1973.
Kids who identified as LGBTQ were often isolated and afraid to come out — and many still are. But in this episode of the StoryCorps podcast, we’ll hear about role models who helped two kids feel comfortable in their own skin.
Our first story comes from Alexei Romanoff, who grew up in New York City. Alexei sat down for StoryCorps with his husband, David Farah, to remember someone who made a big difference in his life: an older gay man he called “Mother Bryant.”
Like Alexei, for years, Dee Westenhauser also felt like she couldn’t be herself. As a transgender woman growing up in El Paso, Texas, Dee felt misunderstood by almost everyone around her, except for one person: Dee’s beloved Aunt Yaya.
Top photo: Artwork by Michael Caines.
Middle photo: David Farah and Alexei Romanoff at their StoryCorps interview in Los Angeles, CA. By Jill Glaser.
Bottom photo: Dee Westenhauser and Martha Gonzalez at their StoryCorps interview in El Paso, TX. By Nicolas Cadena.
Released on May 28, 2019.
Like the music in this episode? Support the artists:
“Overture” by Patrick Wolf from the album Sundark and Riverlight
“City Limits” by Blue Dot Sessions from the album Albany, NY
“Filing Away” by Blue Dot Sessions from the album Crab Shack
“Paloma” by Fabian Almazan and Linda Oh
In the US 50 Years, a Man Reflects on His Arrival from Honduras
A half-century ago, Roy Daley was 23 years old and living in the capital of Honduras when a friend offered him a job in the United States. So he immigrated with little more than two shirts and a change of pants.
Roy came to StoryCorps with his wife, Ana, and his daughter, Lucy, to talk about his early days in America.
Top photo: Roy Daley with his wife, Ana Smith-Daley (L) and his daughter Lucy Figueroa (R) at the StoryCorps MobileBooth in Austin, TX. By Savannah Winchester for StoryCorps.
Originally aired November 23rd, 2018, on NPR’s Morning Edition.
A Trump Supporter Finds a Surprising Ally at an Anti-Trump Rally
It was days after the 2016 election when Joseph Weidknecht, a Trump supporter sporting a sign that read “Proud to Be Deplorable” and a “Make America Great Again” cap showed up at a march protesting the election of Donald Trump in Austin, Texas.
Amina Amdeen, a Muslim student at the University of Texas, was one of the marchers who came to the peaceful rally that day before part of the protest broke into violence.
Though they come from opposite ends of the political spectrum, they came to StoryCorps to remember a moment that day that unexpectedly brought them together.
We’re presenting this conversation through One Small Step, StoryCorps’ new national effort to encourage people to engage in a conversation with someone they may not agree with politically. Learn more and participate.
Top photo: Amina Amdeen and Joseph Weidknecht pose near the Texas State Capitol building, where the two initially met when an anti-Trump protest turned violent on November 13, 2016. Photo by Catalin Abagiu for StoryCorps.
Middle photo: Amina Amdeen speaks to a crowd at an anti-Trump protest on November 13, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Photo courtesy of Dave Creaney/American-Statesman.
Bottom Photo: Joseph Weidknecht holds a poster reading “Proud to Be Deplorable” at an anti-Trump protest on November 13, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Photo courtesy of Dave Creaney/American-Statesman.
Originally aired September 28, 2018, on NPR’s Morning Edition.