Telling a Tale, by Maureen Taylor

Got a story to tell? That’s what the StoryCorps wants to hear. It’s a national oral history project started by award winning radio producer Dave Isay.  Almost three years ago, Isay built a booth in Grand Central Terminal in New York with the aim to interview anyone and everyone. Now you can stop being nervous about interviewing Great-Grandma Ethel. The StoryCorps will help you. It’s a great way to keep those kids from driving you crazy on school vacation. What are you waiting for?

If you live near a StoryCorp booth or one of their mobile trailers is in your area then make a reservation and stop by with your Granny to see how easy it is. Go to their website www.storycorps.net, click on Participate, followed by Record an Interview and set up an appointment. In February StoryCorps began a six month 10 city tour. A list of cities being visited by their mobile studio is on their website. More than 5, 000 people have participated in the tour thus far. That’s a lot of tales.

When you arrive a facilitator will get you started and explain the interview process. For forty minutes you can talk about anything you want with your Grandma. It’s your chance to ask her all the questions you’d like answers to-from the serious genealogical inquiry (What was your mother’s maiden name?) to the mundane (What was your favorite type of candy as a kid?). You’ll leave a piece of history behind. A CD of the recording will go home with you and another goes to the American Folk Life Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps preserves the memories of the nation through the stories of each and every one of us.

StoryCorps website also includes instructions for a do-it-yourself interview. All the information you need is there from recording equipment to questions to ask. This is a great summer activity for the teens in your family. A minimal investment in a tape recorder gets them started. A more expensive option is to rent a Storykit from StoryCorps. It’s $100.00 for a seven day rental plus a security deposit. Each kit comes with a MiniDisc recorder, two MiniDiscs, a professional-quality microphone, studio-grade headphones, and a StoryKit User’s Guide. It’s enough for two interviews but you can add more for an additional fee. 

Saving your family history usually focuses on documents, photographs and data, but recording the words of relatives who won’t always be with you keeps their memories alive. Getting teens involved is one way to maintain a connection during those difficult years. They’ll see their elderly relatives in a different way when they recount their war experiences or talk about the love of their lives. When your teen turns the mic on you it’s a chance to tell the story of their life through your recollections. Who knows what you’ll learn about each other?

The motto of the StoryCorps is “Listening is An Act of Love.” All across the country their volunteers are busy documenting the early twenty-first century not in words and pictures but in sound. If you listen closely, you’ll hear the nation talking.
 

6 thoughts on “Telling a Tale, by Maureen Taylor

  1. MTo Whom it may concern or who would be interested!!!!

    A few years ago I found an old photo album in a tourist office while we were moving buildings, it was in a heap of rubbish. To date
    I did not have time to trace the owners of this album but from the net I have now discovered that are are strong links, such as
    photos of AH Louis Store, Motz Style Shop, The White house Grocery, Weishars City Pharmacy, Townsend Coffeeshop,all dated
    and marked the 1930′s. A photo of a young lady on a float with a banner saying “Pioneer Bay Queen!, Becky McAdams, October
    1936. A picture of a float of San Luis Obispo Junior College,

    I have too many photo’s to mention but it is like someones family tree album. Some are beautiful photos and I along with another
    work make would love to trace this back to the next of kin.

    We know that all these people are now dead but there must be one out there who would love this album of their ancestors.
    Photo’s include children, schools, graduations days, parades, young couples, even an opengrave.. From our research it seems like your area, ie
    photos in the net and the album.

    Can you give me some contact names and names of local newspapers who might like to help in tracing the next of kin.
    I can email some of the photos if you would like to seem them next week when I am at work as I have them copied on to a file.

    Regards
    Siobhan O Rourke
    Co. Kerry

    Irelandy home email is siobhancorourke@eircom.net

  2. To Whom it may concern or who would be interested!!!!

    A few years ago I found an old photo album in a tourist office while we were moving buildings, it was in a heap of rubbish. To date
    I did not have time to trace the owners of this album but from the net I have now discovered that are are strong links, such as
    photos of AH Louis Store, Motz Style Shop, The White house Grocery, Weishars City Pharmacy, Townsend Coffeeshop,all dated
    and marked the 1930′s. A photo of a young lady on a float with a banner saying “Pioneer Bay Queen!, Becky McAdams, October
    1936. A picture of a float of San Luis Obispo Junior College,

    I have too many photo’s to mention but it is like someones family tree album. Some are beautiful photos and I along with another
    work make would love to trace this back to the next of kin.

    We know that all these people are now dead but there must be one out there who would love this album of their ancestors.
    Photo’s include children, schools, graduations days, parades, young couples, even an opengrave.. From our research it seems like your area, ie
    photos in the net and the album.

    Can you give me some contact names and names of local newspapers who might like to help in tracing the next of kin.
    I can email some of the photos if you would like to seem them next week when I am at work as I have them copied on to a file.

    Regards
    Siobhan O Rourke
    Co. Kerry

    Ireland

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