Monday, May 11, 2009

Stories Preserved

My mother and I spent Mother's Day remembering Mamanina. She was my grandmother, my godmother. That is what Mamanina means and StoryCorps gave us an opportunity to perserve her story in a recording that will be in around as long as the United States of America stands.

It began with a story in the newspaper that StoryCorps was coming to our town to listen to the stories told by ordinary people. To give them the chance to tell their stories. Stories about events they witnessed or about people that were important in their lives. These stories would be recorded and stored in the Library of Congress and possibly edited and aired on NPR (National Public Radio). The call was to schedule an appointment during the visit of the StoryCorps mobile recording studio. I saw this as the perfect Mother's Day gift.

The airstream trailer was set-up with a small recording studio inside. We sat at a table with microphones. I interviewed my mom and she answered questions about her mother. Although we had decided on the questions ahead of time, we had not rehearsed and we let the conversation flow between us. My grandmother had lived with us for as long as I could remember so I was sure I knew most of what my mother would say. But I was surprised that I learned new things about Mamanina and about my own mother as well.

The interview was an hour long and when it was over, we received a CD of the recording. A tribute, a treasure, a moment captured in time. My intent is to make copies for my six siblings, sharing with them a piece of their history and the story of a woman we all knew and yet are about to discover.

My grandmother was a woman ahead of her time, possessing a strength of character that I now see in my own mother and yes, even in myself.

StoryCorps has recorded 23,000 stories from all around the country, from all 50 states. They now have 23,001 - the story of a courageous woman, a determined woman, an immigrant who became a citizen of this country and whose story truly belongs in the Library of Congress. Thank you

StoryCorps photos by ChrisPietsch/The Register-Guard
Pictured are Geneva Kesey, mother of Ken Kesey and granddaughter Sunshine Kesey

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