Interviews at the StoryCorps Mobile Booth begin with a question, but the exciting part is the answer. Because, whether it’s from someone we know and love, or from someone we’ve just met, the answer tells us something we didn’t know.
StoryCorps is celebrating 10 years of recording the stories of average Americans. We thought it would be a good time to listen back to some of the stories we recorded when the StoryCorps Mobile Booth came to Concord in 2007, and Berlin in 2009.
Four years ago, Marco Ferreira was riding his motorcycle down an isolated road in Los Angeles when he hit some grout and had an accident.
Though he was wearing a full helmet, leather pants and jacket, Ferreira suffered a traumatic brain injury.
When he woke from a six-week coma, his wife, Wendy Tucker, was there.
"You didn't walk, you didn't talk, and you couldn't feed yourself for seven months," she says during a visit with the 48-year-old Ferreira to StoryCorps in San Francisco. "Since then, it's just been getting better all the time."
After the marriage between James Hanson-Brown and Lisa Combest ended, something unusual happened: Their relationship deepened.
"We got married Jan. 11, 1986, and the minister who married us told me, 'You guys are the best-matched couple I've ever talked to,' " Lisa recalls. "But I guess we were in our marriage for about a year when I started thinking that something was wrong. Emotionally I was supported, but it was the physical side of things."
At the same time, James was trying to figure out what was going wrong, as well.
A store burns during the Los Angeles riots in April 1992. Three colleagues at a local radio station watched the riots from their studio on Crenshaw Boulevard, as listeners called in to share their own stories.
Karen Slade, general manager of KJLH radio.
Eric "Rico" Reed opened the phones to listeners.
Arthur Williams watched a priest risk injury to stop a beating.
It's been 20 years since the Los Angeles riots shook that city — and the nation. On April 29, 1992, several white Los Angeles police officers were acquitted in the beating of black motorist Rodney King during a traffic stop.
News of the acquittals sparked unrest across the city. The fires, looting and violence lasted for several days and devastated neighborhoods — many in the city's African-American communities.
This spring, Les and Scott GrantSmith will mark their 25th wedding anniversary. The couple raised two daughters along the way. But 15 years ago, they hit a crisis that nearly shattered their family. Les was keeping a secret, and that became a problem. But they solved it as a family, in a way that kept them together and happy.
In the weeks leading up to that day back in 1997, Les was certain of two things: She was a mother who loved her daughters — and she was also transgender, the term for someone born in a body of the wrong sex.
When Grant Coursey was a toddler, he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a cancer often found in young children. A tumor had wrapped itself around Grant's spinal cord and had grown so that it pushed against his lungs.
Now 12, Grant is cancer-free; he received his first "clean" scan 10 years ago in March 2002. He had to undergo several procedures to rid his body of the cancer.
Recently, Grant and his mother, Jennifer, sat down to talk about his young life and how cancer has affected it.