Remembering Family on the Fourth

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Families on the Fourth

Marie DeSantis, 78, with her grandson, Mark, and daughter, Mary Lu Hayes.

Marie DeSantis, 78, recently visited the Grand Central Booth with her grandson, Mark, and daughter, Mary Lu Hayes. StoryCorps hide caption

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DeSantis recalls her father, a shoemaker from Sicily, becoming a U.S. citizen.

Leon Leykin, 57, and his wife, Slava, 51

Leon Leykin, 57, and his wife, Slava, 51, visited the StoryCorps MobileBooth when it was parked at the Library of Congresss in Washington, D.C. StoryCorps hide caption

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The Leykins discuss Leon's decision to develop an automatic hot dog vending machine.

The Fourth of July brings to mind fireworks — and summer celebrations. For 85-year-old Miriam Kerpen, something she discovered hidden in the pages of her great-uncle's dictionary created some sparks when she went to summer camp at 13.

As she tells her daughter, Lisa Shufro, Kerpen's fascination with her discovery led to a meeting with the camp counselor. The two discussed the tale in the flagship StoryCorps booth in New York.

American Stories

Family lore also figures into the conversation Marie DeSantis had with her daughter, Mary Lu Hayes, and grandson, Mark. During a session at the Grand Central booth, DeSantis recalled how her father, a shoemaker from Sicily, became an American citizen.

That process is one that Slava and Leon Leykin went through 16 years ago, when they left Ukraine. The pair, married for some 30 years, also have a daughter, Victoria.

Next week, the StoryCorps mobile booths will be in Minneapolis, Minn., and Columbus, Oh. Stories from the StoryCorps oral history project can be heard every Friday on 'Morning Edition'.

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