Copyright ©2007 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


This week is Thanksgiving, a time when families get together and share memories. That's just what African-Americans across the country have been doing at StoryCorps Griot. Each Tuesday, we bring you a story from this project.

Today, we hear from Gregory and Lloyd Porter. They came to StoryCorps in New York City to remember their mother, Esther Thompson, who passed away in 1994.

Mr. LLOYD PORTER: Tell me about mom.

Mr. GREGORY PORTER: If you were sick, stressed out about something, or whatever, I remember many times mom coming in sometimes in the middle of the night. She loved waking you up in the middle of the night. Maybe she had a dream about you, or was thinking about you so you'd be sitting up at the end of your bed and she'd put that hand on your back, take your head and bring it to her bosom, you know, rub your back, counterclockwise.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. G. PORTER: And it was just like, why did my troubles seem so miniscule right now? Somehow, that back rub made it, like, I'm okay. (Unintelligible) ordered a fried egg sandwich for two. Do you remember I went to Africa and it was just like a thousand degrees. I was stressed out, and I just woke up one morning, like, I need my momma's fried egg sandwich. I got to get out of here.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. G. PORTER: I was ready to go home that day. I said, I have to go home and eat egg sandwiches.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. L. PORTER: The egg sandwich represented home.

Mr. G. PORTER: Yeah.

Mr. L. PORTER: It represented comfort and mom, you know?

Mr. G. PORTER: She so permeated my life that it's difficult for me to write a song that doesn't have something about her in it. So okay, I had this relationship go bad. I wrote a song, and I'm like - this is the finest(ph) thing from my mother. The song - my mother she crept into the lyrics.

(Singing) I feel just like a kite but one without a string. One that is floating around. I don't know what tomorrow would bring. I wish my momma was here, a strong, a strong steady rose. She would know what to do, what to say, how to pray to make things better.

I didn't even write these lyrics. When I went to record the song, that just came out.

CHIDEYA: Gregory and Lloyd Porter at StoryCorps in New York City. The StoryCorps Griot booth is currently at Memphis. Next stop is Harlem, New York.

All the Griot initiative recordings are archived at the Library of Congress. A copy of each interview will also go to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Find out how to record your interview and to hear more from StoryCorps Griot at

(Soundbite of music)

CHIDEYA: That's our show for today. Thank you for sharing your time with us.

To listen to the show or subscribe to our podcast, visit our Web site, No spaces, just To join the conversation or sign up for our newsletter, visit our blog at

NEWS & NOTES was created by NPR News and the African-American Public Radio Consortium.

Tomorrow, the legacy of Chicago's first black mayor.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the 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.