Sunday, February 05, 2006

Storycorps, NPR and Olvera Street




When I lived in Chicago (a mere 8 months ago) my favorite radio station was WGN. I loved the quasi-liberal banter and the frequent, but not too frequent news and traffic reports. Having moved to Philadelphia, I have found no replacement, so I have returned to NPR, my favorite station when I lived in the Ozarks. This year, NPR has been engaged in a wonderful activity they call "Storycorps." People from across the country are doing brief interviews with friends and family members- one on ones- that shine like little gems in an otherwise bleak radio landscape. I encourage you to tune in to your local station or check out NPR's website to listen to a few of these pieces. (Please excuse the run on nature of this post as I am having trouble with my "carriage return" for some reason.) Tonight I went on NPR's site to see if I could track down a "Storycorps" piece I heard on Friday. One quote stuck with me in particular. The woman was remembering her mother's last months and said that as she left one day, her mother said, "It's been nice knowing you." Not a flip comment but a heartfelt, genuine reflection on how good it had been to know her daughter. It came to mind again tonight as I read RevBirdSong's post on her own mother. (See http://revsongbird.typepad.com/set_free/) Unfortunately, I could not find the story I was looking for, but instead found a piece on Olvera Street in Los Angeles. Oh, Olvera Street! As a child, this was the place they took you for a fifth grade field trip. Our family also went several times and it is like no other place I know. It's just one street, several blocks. The oldest street in Los Angeles. But what amazed me the most, is that when I returned there after 30 years- it smelled the same! A wonderful smell of leather goods and really good Mexican food. My sister and I could hardly wait to find an open restaurant! The food was so good we refused to swap tastes and I think we scraped the plates clean! There are days I long to go back there just to have one more taste. It was that good. Or maybe it is the memories that make it taste that good.

4 comments:

Teri said...

You might try checking storycorps.net, the "official" website. You can often find the stories there sometime around the time they air. There are also pages and pages of other stories you can listen to. Very touching. I check it out at least once a week now that I don't live in the right nation for NPR. I love StoryCorps

Lutheran Zephyr said...

carriage return? Nice reference to ye olde typewriter . . .

And I'd love to get to Olvera Street - sounds absolutely magical in a perfectly ordinary, authentic, everyday kind of way. One of the lame things about living in the heart of Philadelphia's lilly white suburbs is that I am insulated from genuinely "other" cultural experiences such as olvera Street. Just Starbucks, Gap and Friendly's for me . . .

LutheranChik said...

You know, it's funny...since I've slouched into middle age, I find myself reminiscing more about my childhood and young adulthood...I was fortunate to have grown up as a farm kid, so I have a lot of good memories about that, and since that life is fast disappearing it would be nice to be able to share my experiences with others. I'm not sure, though, that I'm ready to have younger people tell me, "Oh, LutheranChik, tell us about what it was like back in the 70's!..."

RevHRod said...

So, tell US the stories! I love to hear people's growing up stories. I have two students working for me and every so often I have to say, "Oh that's right, you weren't born yet." But we sure have fun telling stories to each other.