Books by Dave Isay
NPR stories about Dave Isay
At its core, StoryCorps founder Dave Isay says, the project is about letting people know their lives matter and won't be forgotten. The result often means that listeners have a good cry on their way to work. As the oral history project marks its 10th anniversary, NPR will be revisiting some of your favorite stories.
If Dave Isay has learned one thing from editing his new book of StoryCorps conversations it's this: "No one should ever, ever give up hope on love," he says. "It seems like it's not in the cards for people, and then it just sneaks up behind you."
Peter and Jacqueline Headen's courtship story is one of ups and downs — spanning one war, three countries and four decades. It all started in 1958, at a roller-skating rink on the Indian Head naval base in Maryland.
As a teenager in the 1950s, Mark Sullivan worked in the tobacco fields of Connecticut. He'd come home so filthy that his mother would make him take off his clothes before going inside. The tar washed off, but the lessons he learned stayed with him.
When James Lacy was growing up, his father prospered by running a general store in rural Texas. But the merchant lost everything in the economic collapse of 1929. Though his dad spent decades paying off debts, Lacy says, he was rich in other ways.
Celedonia "Cal" Jones grew up in Harlem during the 1930s. When he was 9 years old, his family moved to a new neighborhood. Being the new kid on the block wasn't easy.
A decision to let her son enjoy a few moments of independence and beauty ended in tragedy. But out of Rich Stark's death in a car accident, Myra Dean managed to extract small comforts.
David Shea didn't know much about his father until one Memorial Day when Denny Shea took his son along for a ride to the cemetery. It was there that the father introduced his son to the people who had made a difference in his own past.
Bob Chase Sr. can't shake the memory of a spanking he gave his son 50 years ago. Though he views it as one of his greatest failings, his son urges his father to let the memory fade.
Wanda Zoeller, the youngest of six children, was so poor growing up that her family had to keep borrowing a light bulb from one room to light another. Zoeller says her mother, who was the most important person in her life, made sure they didn't feel poor.
Lyle Link left his father's farm after deciding that picking corn and shoveling manure wasn't for him. He met his future wife, Marion, at church and never looked back. Now 90, Link describes the life they lived together and his heartache now that she's gone.
When Rahsheed McKenstry, 10, and his mother Rhonetta McKenstry entered the StoryCorps booth in Memphis, Tenn., he quickly found his own interview style ... a style that uncovered hard truths.
Joe Buford, 63, has a high school diploma but kept a secret, even from his family: He couldn't read. He managed to fool others into thinking that he could. And he was terrified that his inability would be passed on to his kids.
Julio Diaz ends his daily subway commute one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner. One evening, his routine was broken when a teenage mugger took his wallet at knifepoint. But neither of them could have predicted what happened next.
Lucky Osborne grew up with his grandparents at the end of a country road in Mississippi. He remembers shooting alligators and ducking his grandmother's wooden spoon. And the story of an upside-down cafe sign that didn't need fixing.
After leaving the Marines, George Hill became addicted to drugs and alcohol, and found himself on the streets of Los Angeles. But a handful of change from a fellow homeless man sent Hill on the path to recovery and joy.
Peter Vincelli and Mary Beinert were high school sweethearts in Brooklyn in the 1960s. They fell in love when they met 40 years ago this week — on Valentine's Day. He says it was love at first sight. She says it was love at first kiss.
After Hector Black's daughter was murdered seven years ago, all he could think about was revenge. But after learning about the killer's troubled background, Black asked authorities to spare his life.
During their childhood, Melissa Wilbur and Janaki Symon's relationship was marked by bitterness and jealousy. But an unexpected sign of affection finally brought the sisters closer.
Anna and Joseph Wise, childhood sweethearts, were married for nearly six decades. Now 96, she has outlived him for 16 years and wonders how "you get through almost anything."
One day when she was in kindergarten, Cynthia Rahn realized she had forgotten to do an assignment. All hope seemed lost — until she made an unbelievable discovery on the kitchen table the next morning. What she found there revealed her mother's secret talent.
Ron Kroenke tunes pianos for a living. But when he stopped by a nursing home to work, he inadvertently made the residents unhappy. That's when a lady named Rose managed to say just the right thing.
Miriam Cruz and Oscar Colon were brought together nearly 50 years ago by a New York acting gig that never panned out. But the moment they met, at a restaurant on Broadway, "there was an electricity," Miriam says.
During the Korean War, a brutal nine-day trek through the Korean countryside left nearly 100 American prisoners dead. Wayman Simpson, one of those POWs, recounts the ordeal and his treatment at the hands of a ruthless Korean officer nicknamed The Tiger.
Since 2003, the StoryCorps project has recorded 15,000 personal conversations between family members and friends. A new book chronicles some of the stories, and two participants describe what it was like to share their private stories with millions of radio listeners.