storycorps

StoryCorps Animation: The Human Voice

May 16, 2016

The great oral historian Studs Terkel was an inspiration to StoryCorps, and he was also an early participant in the project. In this animated short, he speaks out on what has been lost in modern life and where he sees hope for our future.

Francisco Preciado came to California from Mexico as a young child. By the early 1980s, he was raising a young family of his own in the U.S. and working as a groundskeeper at Stanford.

On a recent visit to StoryCorps, his son, Frankie, recalls, "Since I was around 9 or 10, I would come sometimes with you to help you on campus."

"I told you that one day, you were going to go here to Stanford," answers Francisco.

A years and a half ago, Patricia Mishler was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. The condition, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, attacks the cells that control muscle function — and it is considered terminal.

"Most doctors will tell you three to 10 years, but nobody really knows," Mishler, 73, tells her two daughters, Suzanne and Janette, in a StoryCorps conversation for Mother's Day.

With that diagnosis comes a sense of impending loss, she says — not simply the prospect of death, but the loss of many abilities once taken for granted.

Sharon Long found her calling later in life. Back in the 1980s, she was a single mom trying to support her two kids, holding down several jobs at once — none of which she liked much.

"I worked at the Dairy Queen, and I cleaned a dentist's office, and I was a secretary," Long recalls, on a recent visit with StoryCorps. "I hated every morning I got up."

But, as she tells her colleague Steve Sutter, everything changed for her at age 40. When she she took her daughter to register for college, a financial aid officer persuaded Long to enroll herself.

Vito de la Cruz practices law in Washington state, but his roots actually rest in Texas, where he grew up in a family of migrant farm workers. When de la Cruz was 5, he began working the fields himself in the 1960s.

"The family, we used to migrate. We traveled the migrant farmworkers' circuit," he tells his wife, Maria Sefchick-Del Paso, on a recent visit with StoryCorps. "It was equal parts hardship and poverty."

At first glance, a posting for the job of bridgetender might not be the most attractive you've ever seen. For 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the person at the controls of the Ortega River Bridge in Jacksonville, Fla., must sit in a tiny booth, opening and closing the bridge so boats can pass.

Sounds like an awful job, right?

Some accidents have deadly consequences. And sometimes it's the thing you didn't do — didn't say, didn't see — that leaves you with the most guilt.

For 25 years, retired Army Col. David Taylor has carried feelings of guilt over the death of one of the soldiers in a maneuver he was leading.

In 1991, during one of the final battles of the Gulf War, Army Spc. Andy Alaniz was killed by friendly fire in Iraq. A U.S. tank unit fired rounds at the group of vehicles Alaniz was in, mistaking them for the enemy. He was one of 35 Americans killed by friendly fire in the war.

After a long, desolate winter devoid of bats and balls and more than a few questionable called strikes, big-league baseball is finally once more upon us. And while the action on the diamond is the main attraction, it's by no means the only competition that rages in ballparks across the country.

For a glimpse of another battle entirely, just look to the stands. There, in the aisles, you'll find vendors roaming the stadium selling refreshments, vying with one another to end each game as the day's top seller.

John Graziano, a second-grader in 1986, was diagnosed with HIV in a Chicago suburb called Wilmette. He had contracted the disease from his biological mother, but he had been adopted by the Graziano family.

"John was one of the first children in the state of Illinois to be diagnosed as HIV-positive," his adoptive father, Tom, remembers. Tom Graziano recently spoke with John's elementary school principal, Paul Nilsen, on a visit with StoryCorps.

Marge Klindera spent decades teaching home economics to kids in Illinois. But in the early 1980s, after she had retired, she was looking for another way to pass along her knowledge.

That's when she decided to join a Thanksgiving call center — where thousands of panicked home cooks call every year, hoping for last-minute guidance in cooking their dinner.

"We like to say we kind of deal with turkey trauma," Klindera, now 79, tells her longtime coworker, Carol Miller, on a recent visit with StoryCorps.

Carlos Rocha grew up in Chicago and became a gang member like his brothers. In 1998, he was arrested for weapons possession and sent to prison.

Right before he was to be released on bond, Carlos, now 40, got into a fight with another inmate and killed him, resulting in an additional 24 years behind bars.

Ties That Bind A StoryCorps 10th Anniversary Special

Oct 11, 2013

 This Columbus Day, October 14, WUIS' Illinois Edition invites you to listen to this special broadcast, Ties that Bind: StoryCorps 10th Anniversary Special

There are questions we would answer, if only we were asked. How did we grow up? What do we remember about home? What about our family? Celebrate the first decade of StoryCorps, with a special retrospective hosted by NPR’s Scott Simon and StoryCorps founder Dave Isay.

10/14/13 | 12 Noon & 7 pm.

As he was approaching 40, Bryan Echols realized he was almost half his father's age, and he became curious about the man who raised him.

"What were you like at 40?" Bryan asked his 80-year-old father, Lindberg Echols, at StoryCorps in Chicago.

"Well, I had seven kids," said Lindberg, who worked at a ceramics factory in Gilberts, Ill., to support his family, which included Bryan and his six siblings, plus two daughters from a different marriage. "And I guess I was pretty tough on the boys," he said.

"It was a relationship that got better," Bryan said.

In some families, a specific talent seems to be passed down through the generations. That could be the case for Ledo Lucietto and his daughter Anne, who share a passion for mechanical engineering.

The Luciettos owned a tool and die shop in Illinois for 50 years. Ledo's father was a mechanical engineer who emigrated from Italy. Their shop was called the Byron-Lambert Co.; they made wire forms and metal stampings.

And as a little girl, Anne was a regular in that shop, asking her grandfather, Luigi, what he was doing as he made parts.

Mothers and Daughters, and a Blessing

Jul 3, 2008

Sue Hyde lives in Cambridge, Mass., with her wife, Jade McGleughlin, their daughter, Jesse, 14 and their son, Max, 12.

The makeup of their household is not as rare as it once was — and certainly not as rare as it was when Hyde was growing up, in a small town in rural Illinois.

Asked by her daughter about the differences between their childhoods, Hyde's response is, "I grew up in one of those very typical families, with a mom and a dad. And there were seven kids."

StoryCorps Griot: Field of Dreams

Oct 16, 2007

This week's installment of StoryCorps Griot features William and Glen Haley.

They remember their father, Joseph Howard Haley, who founded the Jackie Robinson West Little League in 1971 on the South Side of Chicago.

Although the league only had one team at its inception, it fostered the talents of ballplayers who later played in the major leagues. Such players include Emil Brown, Marvell Wyne and Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett.

In the 2007 season, the 12- year-old team was ranked third in the state of Illinois.

A Return to the Roots of Childhood

Dec 15, 2005

At 68, Barb Fuller-Curry lives across the road from the farm where she grew up, in Whiteside County, Ill. In her youth, Fuller-Curry's father and mother took turns working the fields in order to make ends meet.

After raising her own family elsewhere, Fuller-Curry returned to the farm after 40 years to care for her mother, who passed away earlier this year. The house Curry lives in is one her parents built.

Speaking with her 34-year-old son, Craig, Fuller-Curry recalled the sacrifices her parents made -- and how little she thought about it at the time, when she was just 7.