There’s just something about certain stories you hear on the radio that make you feel as if you know the person speaking, even after listening to them for only a few minutes. It’s part of the power of the human voice. At StoryCorps, we feel like we’ve met countless friends over the years, and in this episode we go back and visit with a few of them.

First, we check back with Mary Johnson-Roy, who first recorded an interview with Oshea Israel in 2011. Theirs is one of the most often discussed and remembered stories we’ve ever aired, because the chance of the pair ending up sitting across from each other in the first place was so unlikely. In 1993, Oshea Isreal, who was then a teenager, shot and killed Mary’s son, Laramiun Byrd, at a party in Minneapolis. After Oshea served 15 years in prison for the murder, he and Mary recorded a conversation for StoryCorps.

We have an update on Mary’s story. We stayed in touch with her after that first interview, and in in 2014, she let us know that she was getting married. Like Oshea, her new husband, Ed Roy, also served time in prison, and, like Mary, he also lost a son.

Last week, we learned that one of our earliest participants on the mobile tour, Cherie Johnson, had passed away. To remember her, we revisit the story she and her cousin James Ransom told back in 2005 about their larger-than-life neighbor and Sunday school teacher, Miss Lizzie Devine. Cherie will be sorely missed, and will always be part of the StoryCorps family.

Episode released January 31, 2017.

Like the music in this episode? Support the artists:
Alan Singley – “Taking Dark Matters Lightly ”
Blue Dot Sessions – “Grey Grey Joe”
Peter Rudenko – “Inhale Part 2”
Ketsa – “Escape the Profane”
Abdullah Ibrahim – “Mannenberg Revisited”
Yeyey – “Tiptoe Instrumental”