Life in Progress: A weblog by Heidi Price
6/6/2006

A story to tell

A few months ago, I wrote about Danny and Annie Perasa.

I first heard the story of their lives and this incredible love they share for each other on "StoryCorps", a program of National Public Radio.

One thing I love about StoryCorps is its format, families members and loved ones interviewing each other. No reporters. And they don't rush it, giving the ones doing the talking enough time to tell it right.

Now is your chance.

In partnership with WDUQ (90.5), the "StoryCorps" mobile booth will be in front of the main entrance to Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh beginning Thursday and for the next two weeks. It is part of a nationwide tour to collect oral histories.

If you, a family member or your partner have a story to tell, I say go. The best part is that you, or the person you drag along with you, gets to do the interviewing. The storytellers seem more at ease with this format, and it's some of the best storytelling I've heard in a while.

There is no formal fee, but each story costs about $200 to record so please try to give more than the minimum $10 donation.

To make reservations, call 800-850-4406 or click here for more information and such.

I've been thinking about a story my grandma has told me many times, about the time she was 15 and rode with her sister and her sister's new husband from Carmichaels to Detroit.

"They had a car with a rumble seat in the back like a trunk," she told me. "I got in that. No hat. No scarf and rode to Detroit, Mich. from Carmichaels.

"How long did it take?" I asked.

"Hours."

After a few months, she talked he way into a job at the Ford Factory.

"I went for an interview. He asked me my age. I said I was 18. It didn't come out good. I stuttered and stomped. He knew I was lying," she said.

She's a great story teller, describing the inside of the factory and what it was like to work on an assembly line. The year was 1937.

"They were coming out of the depression," she told me, explaining that families arrived in droves from Kentucky and Tennessee in search of jobs. "A lot of them came to work with a pancake sandwich for their lunch. They took it so gallant, like a big joke. They'd laugh when they took out their pancake and jelly sandwich."

By the time she turned 17, she was back in Carmichaels, married to my grandfather and pregnant with their first child.

Hopefully, I'll be able to convince her to tell it one more time.

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