StoryCorps in Brookside

Talk, talk, talk…how many conversations did you have today?  Anything out of the ordinary? Or was it the usual….how was your day? What’s for dinner? Stop fighting with your brother! Is your homework done?  My boss is a real __________ (insert adjective here). Did you make the sale? Was it just another day in the life?  Here’s your chance to have a different type of conversation.  One you will remember for the rest of your life.

What is that…  the shiny silver trailer parked in the lot just east of 63rd and Brookside Blvd? This is the mobile Story Corps booth, an oral history project that gives you a chance to record an interview with someone who is important in your life.  Most people using the booth have a conversation with a parent, child, co-worker, best friend or spouse, asking questions such as : How would you like to be remembered?  What life lessons would you like to pass on? Tell me about a very happy experience you’ve had.  Describe your first kiss. Tell me a special memory you have from school/childhood/your parents. Inside the StoryCorps booth, these are the type of  questions that get asked and answered between participants.  And it can be a very intimate, honest and emotional experience.

Three years ago I recorded a conversation with my (then) 13-year-old daughter at the permanent StoryCorps booth in Grand Central Station, New York City.  It was lively, funny, and yes, tearful.  It was fascinating to hear her answer some weighty questions and get her perspective on her life to that point: what did she want to accomplish in the future, what do you love most about your sister? What are your impressions of New York City?  This was  my daughter who I talk to every day…mostly banal conversations regarding school, homework, chores.  To take the time dive in deeper to her thoughts while recording–it’s a treasured conversation we can share from time to time  as we — I–get older and she grows into an adult.

StoryCorps was created by David Issay in 2003.  There have been over 35,000 interviews in all 50 states.  When you record a session in the booth, one disc is created for yourself to keep, and the other is archived in the Library of Congress. The StoryCorps booth will be in Brookside through October 3 and honestly, it’s tough to reserve a session.  There is no charge to record your story (although donations are appreciated); visit  the StoryCorps website and search for an open slot.  If all times are reserved—get on the wait list, there are cancellations. If you are lucky enough to score a reservation, prepare yourself for an emotional experience.  The recording area is very small, no windows, all is quiet.  Bring your questions, open up and listen.

StoryCorps is stopping in Kansas City for the second time, thanks to KCUR, our National Public Radio station at 89.3FM.  Thanks to the staff of the station for all of their hard work to bring Story Corps back to the area.   Also, thanks to these local Brookside businesses for their support of StoryCorps and KCUR:  Brookside Price Chopper, Blue Grotto, Mr. Goodcents, JULIAN, The Roasterie, Avenues Bistro, Sharps 63rd St Grill, Fiddley Fig, Brookside Barkery, James Hallmark, Brookside Party Warehouse.

You can hear recorded stories from the StoryCorps booth every Friday on KCUR; they are usually broadcast around 7:20am.  In addition, KCUR will broadcast select excerpts from the recorded Kansas City conversations through the Fall on air.

Thanks for reading my blog. You can contact me at mary.hutchison@prukc.com or please leave a comment.

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