There are many people you may walk by every day and never know their story. Including people like Kathleen Payne, who’s worked here at StoryCorps for over a decade. Many of her colleagues didn’t know her story — until she brought Corinthia Isom to a StoryBooth in 2015.

Corinthia was only a child when her mom, DeSeane, died from an AIDS-related illness in the mid-90s.

DeSeane had been raising Corinthia alone, but before she passed, she’d arranged for her daughter to be cared for by a couple she’d met in an LGBTQ gospel choir in New York City.

Kathleen was one of the women who took Corinthia in, and they sat down together to remember DeSeane, and the start of their relationship.

Top photo: Kathleen Payne and Corinthia Isom at their StoryCorps interview in New York City, New York on September 29, 2015. By Carolina Escobar for StoryCorps.

This interview was recorded in partnership with the The Recollectors, a storytelling site and community for families left behind by parents who died of AIDS-related illnesses.

Originally aired July 12, 2019, on NPR’s Morning Edition.