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!
And 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.