STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It is Friday morning, which is when we hear from StoryCorp, the project that has been recording conversations between friends and loved ones across America. And this final story of 2011 began in New York City 20 years ago. It was New Year's Eve. Isabel Sobozinsky had traveled from her home in San Francisco to celebrate in New York, and that's where she met her future husband, Scott Wall.

SCOTT WALL: I was single and feeling very lonely on New Year's Eve. I was actually wandering the streets of Manhattan, and I ended up in the Paris Cafe. There was this ravishingly beautiful woman, wearing a beautiful dress. And I introduced myself. But I was very surprised when you asked me for my ID.

ISABEL SOBOZINSKY-WALL: Because I had been told that Manhattan is so big and scary, and I wanted to make sure that your name matched up, and your birth date, and all those details.

WALL: I thought it was very cute and I said that I would like to see you in a day or two.

SOBOZINSKY-WALL: And then I called you and you took me to the airport.

I had a little Walkman at the time, a beaten-up...

Right.

WALL: ...Walkman. I commuted great distances into Manhattan, so I had time to make these tapes, like recorded letters.

(SOUNDBITE OF RECORDING)

WALL: This is Scott, here...

And I would interview the brakeman on the subway.

(SOUNDBITE OF RECORDING)

WALL: I'm making a tape that I'm sending to a friend in California.

SOBOZINSKY-WALL: I remember at one point, you had somebody play a song for me.

WALL: You know, when I was making these tapes for you, I just felt like you were this little angel on my shoulder wherever I was going. So, I was like, trying to show you everything I could.

SOBOZINSKY-WALL: You even took it to the dentist once when you were having dental work.

(SOUNDBITE OF RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Ooh, this is getting uglier.

SOBOZINSKY-WALL: You talked on one side of the tapes and you said, the other side is blank, so that you can respond.

WALL: Do you remember when you were recording while you were visiting your family?

SOBOZINSKY-WALL: Oh yeah, that was with Mom and I was telling them how excited I was about you. And so I asked them to say something.

(SOUNDBITE OF RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Hi Scott, how're you doing?

WALL: I realized you were really making an effort to share your world with me, and it was really a nice thing for me to hear.

SOBOZINSKY-WALL: I kept the tapes in a red box with a red ribbon.

WALL: I kept yours in a off-site storage area so that if ever there was an earthquake or a fire in the house, I would have them protected...

SOBOZINSKY-WALL: Oh dear.

WALL: ...in a concrete bunker.

SOBOZINSKY-WALL: Bunker.

WALL: Well, looking back over the 20 years we've been together, does anything surprise you about our relationship?

SOBOZINSKY-WALL: That we can still look forward to seeing each other, and having our love. That's a surprise to me. That's like a gift, because that says a lot.

(SOUNDBITE OF RECORDING)

SOBOZINSKY-WALL: Wishing you well, darling. This is San Francisco signing off.

INSKEEP: Isabel Sobozinsky-Wall with her husband Scott Wall at StoryCorp in San Francisco, where they both now live. Their conversation will be archived along with all StoryCorp interviews at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. And remember, the project's Podcast is at NPR.org.

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