I’ve always loved StoryCorps. I don’t remember the first installment I heard on Morning Edition, but over the years, I’ve fallen in love with feisty grandmas in New York, janitors in California, and a bank robber in Texas. A few weeks ago, I ugly cried listening to a 4th grader ask his father just a few simple questions.
The beauty of StoryCorps is that it makes clear everyone, in fact, has a story.
Since 2003, over 80,000 people have shared 50,000+ stories and conversations which are now archived in the American Folklife Center at The Library of Congress. Some are extraordinary, a few minutes that could easily play out on a movie screen. Some stick with you because they feel like you could have told them yourself.
It’s humbling to think that each person we honk at in traffic, brush past in the grocery store, and work with day after day has a story to tell. Most, you’ll never know.
But what about your family? What do you know about the people who have shaped who you are? How many stories have you been told about the people closest to you? How many stories do they have that are waiting to be told?
Last month, StoryCorps released an app to record your own oral history. With categories including “parents,” “grandparents,” “remembering a loved one,” and “war,” it provides anyone the opportunity to conduct their own interviews, anywhere. The interviews can be shared through the app to Storycorps.me and archived for future generations at the Library of Congress, joining the largest assembly of human voices that has ever been collected.
This weekend may be a good time to download it yourself and preserve a story or two with a mom/grandma/rockstar lady in your life. She’ll have plenty of them.