Friday, February 9, 2007

Every Friday morning, NPR runs a brief segment called "StoryCorps: Recording America" during NPR's Morning Edition. I absolutely love this segment, and I am conveniently in my car both times that the NPR affiliate airs it, 6:30am and 8:30am. Here is a brief description from

"StoryCorps is roaming the country, collecting the stories and legends of everyday
America. The first-person accounts that emerge are a record of the way we live today -and how we got here."

These stories are also archived in the Library of Congress. In my undergraduate Speech Communication work, I often referred to Walter Fisher's Narrative Paradigm communication theory. Fisher's theory simply states that "all meaningful communication is a form of story-telling, or to give a report of events, and so human beings experience and comprehend life as a series of ongoing narratives, each
with their own conflicts, characters, beginnings, middles, and ends."

I love this theory and I believe in it because it is so evident in the world around us. The film and recording industries make billions of dollars each year because of this theory. Friendships and relationships are built around this theory. The whole Web 2.0 phenomenon andMySpace, Facebook, Friendster, etc - these seem to be so popular because they give people the opportunity to connect with one another and share their lives.

I can remember staying up until the wee hours of the night at sleepovers with new friends, shortly after we moved from Dallas to Houston when my sister and I were in the sixth grade. The only way for us to convey who we were, what our family was like, what our life experiences had been up until that point - the only way we could express this was by telling stories. My dad has always been a fantastic story-teller - he absolutely loves to tell tales (albeit, sometimes tall ones) and entertain us. I
think this is just one of the many reasons I love Chad so much - he's clearly been bitten by the story-telling bug, too.

So, in honor of Mr. Fisher and out of inspiration from StoryCorps - I am going to try and post a story every Friday. It will be a true story that I've either heard or experienced at some point in my life. Until my first story next Friday, let me leave you with a transcript from today'sStoryCorps on NPR. This morning story came from a husband and wife in Little Rock, Arkansas. They shared some accounts of their
life together, like their decision to marry when she was 70 and he was 58. The article doesn't really do the recording justice - but it is still heartwarming nonetheless.

Morning Edition, February 9, 2007 ·
When she was heading to college, Jo Ann Chew's father gave her two choices: She could take secretarial courses, so she'd have a career; or study home economics — because, her father said, "You'll besomebody's wife. You're too cute not to be somebody's wife."

She chose home economics, explaining, "I wanted to be somebody's wife."

Since 1995, that somebody has been Bob Chew. The two met in 1994, and after Bob overcame Jo Ann's resistance — she didn't think it was a good idea for him to marry an older woman — they got married.

Jo Ann is now 82; Bob is 70. And in December 2004, Jo Ann was diagnosed with dementia. One year later, she was told she was in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

As a result, Jo Ann says, "My doctor told me he did not want me to cook, and that was music to my ears."

So, Bob does most of the cooking now. "He's turning out to be quite a professional," Jo Ann says.

With their 12th anniversary arriving in October, the couple discussed how they met, and how they're coping with Jo Ann's condition.

As for regrets, Jo Ann only has one.

"Not having control of everything, of my thoughts, or my actions," she says. "And I don't think it's fair to you, either."

"You know I'm going to take care of you, don't you?" Bob asks.

"I do know that," Jo Ann says. "But you could have some cute little chick that you could be running around with, 10 years younger."

Bob's answer: "I have my princess right now."

"You're wonderful."

"You know I still love, you, right? More than ever?"

"I like to hear it."

Produced for 'Morning Edition' by Katie Simon.
The senior producer for StoryCorps is Sarah Kramer.

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