Have you heard of Story Corps?

If not, it’s high time you did.  I, for one, had never heard of this non-profit organization committed to recording people’s personal stories and filing them in the Library of Congress for posterity.

They encourage family members to interview family members, using a list of questions provided to prompt them or using your own questions, making the interview as personal and as specific as you want it.  What a fantastic idea!

storycorps_2And maybe you’ve heard some of the recordings on National Public Radio?  I’m ashamed to say I hardly listen to NPR any more.  Making cell phone calls while driving has taken precedence over listening to “All Things Considered”, I fear.

But Diane Huhn of Bayou Grace Community Services had a vision and brought that vision to life.  She is a big fan of the Story Corps recordings she’s heard on NPR while driving, sometimes laughing, sometimes brought to tears.  It is Diane who is responsible for their recent visit to Bayou Country, where they afforded locals the opportunity to record interviews with questions based on “How did the BP oil spill affect you?”

Diane invited Termite and me to participate, and I accepted pending Termite’s approval.  I was a little surprised when Termite was willing to spend an afternoon of his fall break from school to drive two bayous over and do this interview, and it goes without saying I was pleased.

He was provided a list of possible questions regarding the oil spill, but when the interview started, he surprised me by asking more personal questions about my younger years, how I met his dad, and the like.  The interview lasted a total of forty minutes, and within five minutes of completion, the technician handed us a CD of the interview and reminded us that a copy would be filed in the Library of Congress for Termite’s grandkids to listen to.

Less than twenty-four hours later, someone from Natural Resource Defense Council was calling to see if we would be willing to be shadowed by a photographer all day in order to put together a photo essay to go along with the interview.  NRDC had partnered with Story Corps and Bridge the Gulf to use some of these interviews on their web site, and they wanted to use our interview for that purpose.

Freelance photographer, Craig Fritz, a personable and talented thirty-eight year old, made me very comfortable.  Unless we were chatting, I never even knew he was there.  He climbed in and out of the boat with me while I worked on the trolling motor, and up and down the camp steps as I cleaned it.  He literally followed me around from 9 a.m. to about 6 p.m., including coming to our home to wait for the boys to get off school and photographing me cooking supper and serving them.

The end result is pretty amazing, and with NRDC’s permission, I would like to share this interview/photo essay with you.  I hope you enjoy it and in some way can understand a little more of how our lives have been affected by the oil spill.

Humbled,

BW

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Comments

Have you heard of Story Corps? — 37 Comments

  1. I came across Story Corps last year and was pleased to find someone encouraging people to share and record their personal histories. This is what makes families strong – proud of their heritage & culture – or simply understanding where they came from and how they arrived there.

    Nice to hear that you & Termite had a first hand experience – sounds like it was a well deserved education for ye both! Looking forward to hearing/seeing it.

    BTW, had a look at Mr. Fritz’s website and kudis to him – someone who shoots wedding photos worth looking at – not the typical-1000-like-it shots, artistic and truly telling the personal story of the people involved.

    • Hi John, I was having technical difficulties with the video link, but I have it up and running now. If you can’t view the video, would you please let me know? And I agree with you . . . Craig and his wife do amazing wedding photos.

  2. What a wonderful, wonderful video. It’s working just fine.

    I first heard of Story Corps about three years ago, when I was introduced to NPR’s “This I Believe” series. I wrote an essay for “This I Believe”, and eventually it was selected for broadcast on Houston Public Radio. It was a wonderful experience, and my first experience of having something “published” – a joy which you certainly understand!

    The video is just stunning – perfectly edited. What a thrill for you and Termite, and what a blessing for the rest of us to have this!

    • Yes! You absolutely should do this with your mom. And if you want, your girls could be there, too!!! All I know about personal interviews is what I read on their site since I didn’t set any of this up myself!! I just showed up and started answering questions!

  3. You are extremely well-spoken BW and your and Termite’s interview was so moving. What an honor to be selected for the day-long shadowing. Your ancestors will be so proud of great-great-grandma Wendy. You truly must continue working on that book of yours that you’ve shared so generously with us. Your recounting of the meeting between you and The Captain has whetted my appetite for more big helpings of romance and life obstacles. You all are a strong and inspiring family. Thank you.

    • Well, I hate to disappoint you, but the life obstacles just might outweigh the romance when you come right down to it!!! Real life does have a way of stripping off the romance, ya know? LOL!

      • “but the life obstacles just might outweigh the romance when you come right down to it!!! ”

        Never BW,just makes it stronger,we have been through it all from losing our home to fire to being regulated out of three different fisherys after large investments and years spent learning.

        January will be 26 years for us,we had Shelly tested for Alzheimer’s this year and fortunately it was negative but it is some form of dementia.I have learned to bite my tounge so to speak and now have to tend to almost every detail of our business but we still hold hands everywhere we go.

        • Yes, I have learned a lot of new ways to help keep the peace. But I will stop there because I DO NOT want this blog to become all about Alz. (No offense, and I know what we go through is real and needs talking about.) but writing this blog is one way I keep my semi-sanity. BW

    • Musingegret – I keep telling Wendy she needs to finish that book. I think she can be the Linda Greenlaw of Louisiana. I think the book would be an extremely interesting read based on what we’ve read so far!

  4. I have enjoyed your stories of southern Louisana for many months now.The love of the Gulf coast that you share with us is almost like standing right there next to you,you describe everything with eyes of a poet,Anyone who sees the video can see the love your young but wise son has for his wonderful Mom.May your blessings be many.

  5. I’d heard of this program a couple of years ago, but also forgot about it too. Y’all did a very admirable interview. Congrats.
    BTW, I’m waiting (as well as others) on that next installment of “This Is Your Life, Captian Wendy”.

  6. Very moving interview. Having never met you but following you thru the blog is wonderful but, now that I have watched the video, it is much, much more personal. Almost as if I was there listening as you spoke. And I must say, you have a beautiful, soft voice that conveys your love of your family and the bayous. Termite is a very aspiring and smart young man. From your blog, I can see you have a family to be proud of. And a very nice looking family also.
    My very best to you and may the tours flourish.

  7. What a great treasure for not only us, but your family! I am moved to tears. Thank you for sharing your life with the world, Wendy. You give much needed insight into living in our coastal communities.

    • I don’t know if you could tell, but right near the end I had to sort of recover my “voice”. The interview lasted 40 minutes, and he didn’t get to the oil spill questions until near the end. Some of them were so poignant, I got choked up trying to answer them. NRDC chose what they wanted to share in the final video . . . so I hope something came through that might impact someone, somewhere. Thanks for your sweet words, Kelly.

  8. Very nice. You better get T. to teach them Feds how to take pix.
    Maybe he can co-op with them.

    Man I am hoping not to record my legacy. I hope it just stands as a long line of spontaneous combusted women, dazed and zombie like men and leagues of fished out water.

    I’ll check that site out.

  9. I learned of your blog and this wonderful Story Corp photo essay from Shoreacres’ blog on Wunderground. You’ve got a new fan. I’ve never seen a bayou and probably never will, but your story, and I think your blog in general, will take me there whenever I stop by. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

    • Thank you for stopping by the bayou, Wild Rose, and for taking the time to leave a comment. For some reason, I found it in my spam queue today! I saved you from the delete box, though! Please come back often . . . sometimes we do games and contests with cool bayou type prizes! BW

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