StoryCorps 487: In the Long Run

We recently dove into our archive with the idea of finding people for whom things once looked bad, but ultimately worked out in the long run. These are stories about taking the long view and sticking it out, and times when persistence and patience paid off.

winstonOur first story comes from Bob Heft (pictured above). He was interviewed at his home in Saginaw, Michigan, surrounded by dozens of American flags. Bob has a particular claim on our current flag: he designed it as a high school student for an American history class assignment. There was a problem, though—Bob’s flag had fifty stars on it, and, at the time, there were only 48 states. He had a hunch that more would be added soon, and it turned out, Bob was right. Bob went on to become a public school teacher, college professor, and mayor of Napoleon, Ohio, before he passed away in 2009.

Today, it’s commonplace for people to change jobs or careers at some point in their lives, but it wasn’t always that way. Arthur Winston stayed at his job for 77 years. He was born in Oklahoma—before it was a state—and as a young man he hopped a freight train headed west, ending up in Los Angeles, where he got a job doing maintenance on city buses, a job he remained in until 2006.

headen_lgJust a week before retiring, when he was 99, Arthur came to our mobile booth for an interview with his great nephew, Eric Givens (pictured together above), where they talked about the secret to working so long, and Arthur’s thoughts on modern life. Arthur has since passed, but we recently caught up with his nephew Eric on the phone.

Our final story might give a little hope to anybody out there suffering from heartbreak. It started in 1958 at a roller-skating rink on the Indian Head naval base in Maryland, where Peter Headen met a girl named Jackie (pictured together at left). He introduced himself, and so began a love story that spans one war, three countries, and four decades.

Like the music in this episode? Support the artists:
Nick Jaina – “Mississippi Turn-Around”
Broke for Free – “Only Knows”
Podington Bear – “Saunter”
Blue Dot Sessions – “Filing Away”
Dlay – “halves & quarters”