StoryCorps Founder David Isay

David Isay

hide captionIndependent radio producer David Isay has collected thousands of personal stories as mobile Airstream-based sound studios traveled around the country.

A year ago, an ambitious oral-history project called StoryCorps set out from Washington, D.C., to record and preserve extraordinary tales from ordinary Americans.

StoryCorps Interviews

The project's founder, David Isay, talks about recording true-life tales, on the anniversary of StoryCorps' first cross-country tour. The project has sent two Airstream trailers around the nation, recording conversations between family members and their loved ones.

StoryCorps may be the most ambitious oral-history project ever undertaken in the United States. Like the Works Progress Administration interviews of the 1930s, StoryCorps seeks out ordinary Americans, the people who rarely make it into the pages of history textbooks. Their stories will be preserved in a special archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Two in a Million: Danny and Annie Perasa

Danny and Annie Perasa on their wedding day.

hide captionDanny and Annie Perasa on their wedding day: April 22, 1978.

Perasa Family

The story of Danny and Annie Perasa — how they met, and how they've stayed in love — inspires many who hear it. Their joy in life, and in one another, was celebrated recently in New York, where a crowd gathered to honor Danny and Annie.

A Sad Note

Danny Perasa passed away Friday, Feb. 24 at 2:30 p.m. ET. Perasa, who had been fighting pancreatic cancer, died in his sleep.

Please scroll below for letters about the Perasas and details of the funeral.

The Perasas are a memorable couple. In person, they come off like a pair of favorite grandparents, with thoughtful wisecracks and stories that take unpredictable turns. They say their affinity for one another was always obvious — Danny proposed marriage on their first date.

Bonus Audio

The Perasas have expressed surprise at their story's popularity. A recent example:

When the Perasas launch into a story, their joy in telling it is obvious. Married since 1978, they have a sweetness about them that makes everyday items — like notes left around the house — seem exciting. On the radio and in person, Annie and Danny's infectious enthusiasm draws listeners in, making them strain to hear what the couple have to say.

Their enthusiasm has now been honored in a tangible way. The StoryCorps oral history project has dedicated its booth in Grand Central Terminal to the Perasas. On Friday, Feb. 10, a plaque was unveiled that dedicated the booth to the Perasas.

The plaque reads: "This booth is dedicated to Danny and Annie Perasa, who recorded their story here on January 6, 2004. Their humor, heart, eloquence and love will never be forgotten."

The couple made the trip to the ceremony despite Danny's illness: Suffering from pancreatic cancer, he is currently in hospice care. Their visit was a treat for those present, as the Perasas revisited the conversation they had that day in 2004, and the life they've shared since 1978.

In addition to its New York booths, StoryCorps is traveling the country to give people the chance to discuss their lives and preserve stories for future generations. Each interview is archived at the Library of Congress. And excerpts are aired Fridays on Morning Edition.

The Perasas in 2004

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: