As a kid, Camaran Henson would stay up late listening to his grandfather, Leonard Simmons, tell stories about his experiences as police officer in Newark, New Jersey.
Leonard worked undercover for “The Bandit Squad” — a group of detectives who investigated armed robberies in the 1970s — and Camaran was convinced that his grandfather was a real-life superhero. Camaran’s mom, Toni, knows the feeling because she grew up hearing these tales as well.
Leonard died in 2013, but Toni and Camaran came to StoryCorps to pass his stories on — since long conversations are something of a family tradition.
Originally aired March 10, 2017, on NPR’s Morning Edition.
Top photo: Camaran Henson with his grandfather, Leonard Simmons, ca. 1994. Courtesy of Toni Henson.