When I drive to work in the morning I listen to NPR,which means that every Friday at 8:30 am, I am going to cry. That’s when the weekly StoryCorps segment airs. As soon as I hear the intro music, I know my mascara is doomed.
In the StoryCorps recordings, everyday people conduct interviews with friends and family, resulting in intimate, honest conversations that express extraordinary humanity. It doesn’t matter how different the person’s experiences are or how long ago or far away they happened; the stories they tell are incredibly moving. Some that have recently started me sobbing are:
- Being Positive: Love And Life After An HIV Diagnosis
- Homeless At 60: ‘A Bullet I Didn’t See Coming’
- Living To Tell The Horrible Tale Of Pearl Harbor
- Slain Priest: ‘Bury His Heart, But Not His Love’
- Soul Singer Helps Shoeshiner ‘Get On The Good Foot’
Did you know that Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has its own StoryCorps archive? As the page explains:
In 2006, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh partnered with DUQ 90.5 FM to become the first library to host a StoryCorps Mobile Booth recording studio. The StoryCorps oral history project allows everyday people to share and record their personal stories for posterity and is the largest oral history project ever undertaken. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh was host location and received digital copies of these stories to share. These files are also archived at the Library of Congress. More than 150 local stories are available for your listening pleasure.
This is wonderful. Not only can I seek the same inspiration among my neighbors that I experience from the national radio interviews, but my inner nebby Pittsburgher can scan through the pages hoping to find someone I know.
Here are some of the CLP StoryCorps episodes I’ve enjoyed (interviews are listed alphabetically by the subject’s last name):
- Lillian Allen talks about: Alaska, beauty shop, United Airlines, Bali, biography
- Deborah Brooks talks about: bike riding, God nature, Adirondacks, self-taught painter
- Ali A. Masalehdan talks about: Iran, Farsi, San Francisco, English, revolution
- James A. Ryan talks about: spirituals, black history, parenthood, marriage, pastor
These interviews dedicate the time and attention to people close to us that we normally reserve for celebrities and cultural heroes. Listening to them reminds me to treat people with a little more compassion and to take a little more interest. Every person is walking around with a story inside that is rich in history and full of heart.