StoryCorps

The folks with StoryCorps travel around the country recording brief oral histories to preserve in the Library of Congress (details HERE). The format is interesting: the subject is interviewed by a friend or family member for about 30 minutes. I’m a fan of the project.

They were in our nearby town in October, in conjunction with a “local history/local food” event at our community center/farmers market. An invitation went out looking for people willing to do the interviews, and asking that the topic be somehow related to local food culture.

So I interviewed my Mama, focusing on her childhood. She became the lead cook in her family at age 7. In those days that meant cooking on a wood stove. Quite a job for a little girl.

Our local history organization has collected 2 1/2 minute snippets of the interviews HERE (click on the audio tab). For any interested in hearing a couple of minutes of my mother’s recollections, here we are.

Advertisements

26 comments on “StoryCorps

  1. DM says:

    Love it! It is neat to “meet” your mom! I had coffee just this week with my mom and we were reminiscing about life. Precious memories. You and I have both been blessed!

    Like

    • Bill says:

      You’re right about that DM.

      Yesterday I had coffee with my other Mother (it’s complicated). Our reminiscing included stories of her childhood in Appalachia. It’s so important, I think, to keep those stories alive.

      I’ve had you on mind lately as I’ve been working on a project I’ve delayed for years–going through and sorting out 100+ years of farm records, photos, letters, etc. rescued from our family home. Once I finish that and a few other “winter projects” I want to start a new writing project and I’m tentatively planning to do something on local history. I’m actually kind of excited about getting started on it. The idea I like the most so far is to write a history of the community in 1918, in the hopes of publishing it in 2018. We’ll see….

      Liked by 2 people

  2. What a terrific way to preserve our heritage! That way of life is rapidly disappearing and it’s nice to see it being preserved in some manner.

    Like

  3. NebraskaDave says:

    Bill, very nice interview with your Mom. My Mom passed away back in 1997 at a young age of 69. My mother in law is 90 and still doing well. She claims to have been the chief cook at age 8 because her mother had to work in the coat factory. She lived in New Jersey. Her Dad raised 10 acres of tomatoes for Campbell soup company and used the kids as the labor force. Eighty years ago life was much different that it is today. I can remember visiting my Great Grandma. She always had the wood cook stove fired up baking or cooking some thing. She had a big garden and fruit trees to preserve every year. Her outside income was a check from the government called “Old Age Pension”. Social Security, Food stamps, utility assistance, or Medicaid wasn’t in place yet. It was a total of $69 a month. If it hadn’t been for family and friends helping her out she wouldn’t have been able to survive. It was a time when communities made sure everyone was taken care of. It’s a sad thing to see people shifting to the government dependency of today.

    Have a great Mom memory day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      You’re right Dave. Communities aren’t what they used to be.

      We covered a lot of things in the interview related to her childhood on the farm. It’s nice to know that some future generation will be able to hear her tell the stories if they like.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. LOVE listening to you and your Moma ♥ Your soft southern accents remind me of listening to my grandmother . Thanks for bringing back those memories.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Oh thanks. Your comment makes me smile.

      When I went away to college I was embarrassed by my accent so I learned to hide it. I feel like it’s mostly gone now, and that makes me a little sad.

      Like

  5. Ed says:

    I always listening to those on NPR!

    Like

  6. avwalters says:

    This is a treat, to preserve the stories and voices of our heritage.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      I like the work they’re doing and especially appreciate that the stories are preserved in the voices of those telling them. As I said to Dave, I like the idea that future generations will be able to hear her tell her story, in her own voice.

      Like

  7. Annie says:

    With a mama like yours, I can see why you chose to return to your roots. She’s a special lady.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Aw, thanks for that kind comment Annie. She’s a kind and compassionate woman, deeply devoted to family. She’s also got a powerful work ethic. A special lady, for sure.

      Like

  8. shoreacres says:

    I first heard about StoryCorps back in about 2008 or 2009, and was so taken with the concept. I never imagined I’d know someone who participated. It was fun to hear you and your mama. I wish now I’d had the chance to talk with my grandparents, and even my own folks, but I was too young to be interested, and our family wasn’t given to much storytelling.

    I don’t know what’s the matter with me, that I can’t get started on either of the two books I’m carrying around in my head. I have to have as much free time as you do, and maybe more. If I don’t get at it, I’ll be dead and they still won’t be done! Your idea sounds wonderful — I got plenty of ideas, but a lot of anxiety about figuring out the mechanics of the whole process.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      We were contacted by someone who wanted Cherie and I to talk about our farm and our story. I suggested that it be me and my mother instead. Glad I did it. I too often wish I’d spent more time listening to stories from those who have already gone on, even if it mean coaxing the stories out of them.

      I hope you write your books. You’re a great writer and I’m sure the books would be wonderful. Having one under my belt makes the process seem less intimidating to me. If I do another one I’ll probably self publish. There were benefits from having a publisher, but there were downsides too. Self publishing is easy and inexpensive these days, and increasingly popular.

      Like

  9. I came from folks who called the noon meal “dinner” too. Wonderful to hear your voices.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      When I was growing up we only called the midday meal “lunch” when we were at school. Otherwise it was dinner. I think “breakfast-lunch-dinner” is becoming uniform now. I say “breakfast-lunch-supper” and that doesn’t confuse people since they know that supper is the last meal of the day. “Dinner” as the midday meal seems to be vanishing. Here the only exception seems to be Sunday. If someone invites you to “Sunday dinner” you know they mean the midday meal.

      Like

  10. Michelle says:

    I love listening to StoryCorps on public radio; so cool that you interviewed your mom for this!

    Like

  11. BeeHappee says:

    Beautiful, Bill, thank you for sharing.

    Like

  12. Thank you for sharing, Bill. Listening to your mother’s voice, I could picture a strong, proud lady.
    Long time reader, first time commenter. Thanks for your writing.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Thanks for your kind words and for taking the time to comment. I’m sincerely surprised that so many people read my ramblings, but nice comments like this help motivate me to keep doing it. 🙂

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s