StoryCorps gathers real stories in Salinas.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
All too often the stories of the past are left there. StoryCorps – in collaboration with National Public Radio, the National September 11th Memorial and Museum, the American Folk Life Center at the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian National Museum – is on a mission to change that.
So are two frail, older locals in their 70s who show up in Salinas excited to tell their stories at the last stop in StoryCorps national tour.
“We’re only going to live so long,” said the white-haired woman to her companion. “It’s important that the next generations hear our stories, even after we’re gone.”
The small team of dedicated StoryCorps historians have set up shop in front of the Steinbeck Center, waiting for anyone who wants to tell their stories.
“Our stories, the stories of regular people,” says StoryCorps Founder Dave Isay, “are the most interesting and important stories of all.”
Since 2003, StoryCorps traveled the country, recording tens of thousands of interviews. National Public Radio’s Morning Edition broadcasts story excerpts weekly, and the entire catalog is easily accessible at the StoryCorps website. Whoever signs a waiver has their story archived in the Library of Congress.
The interview area in the Corps trailer feels well designed to cultivate easy conversation about difficult subjects like losing a home, or lighter topics like a stolen childhood kiss: It’s cozy, with a small table, two mics, and lighting dim enough for a romantic dinner date. During an interview session, the interviewer and interviewee are joined by a trained facilitator.
Let the storytelling commence.