DAVID GREENE, HOST:
It's Friday - time for StoryCorps. We're recording stories that shape the lives of everyday Americans. Today, we're hearing from 32-year-old Chloe Longfellow. When she was a child, her father died and her mom took on several jobs to support them, so Chloe spent a lot of time at her grandparents' house in Arizona and grew especially close to her grandmother.
CHLOE LONGFELLOW: She had red hair. It was red hair out of a bottle, but it was still red hair. And she was a spitfire. If you messed with her and she didn't think it was right, she would tell you. But I do remember that she always smiled with her eyes, even when she was angry, even when she was tired. She was my very first best friend. It's really surprising the amount of life lessons you can learn in a kitchen if you have the right teacher. She used to try to tell me about acceptance and how to be a good human being. She'd get all the ingredients for soup, and she'd look at it. And she'd go, now, see honey this is how the world works - some people are onions, some people are potatoes. It would be a really boring soup if you just put potatoes in there, wouldn't it? But if you add leeks, if you had some bacon, then you make this wonderful thing. And all these different people come together to make this wonderful thing called our world. And one time she had grown some beets. We brought them in, cleaned them off, and I got to move the page in the cookbook. And I had beet juice all over my hands, and I left a little tiny handprint on her cookbook. And I started to cry because I thought I had ruined it. That was grandma's favorite book. But she took a piece of beet, and she covered her hand, and she put her handprint on the other side and made our thumbs touching in the print and said, it's perfect now. If I really miss her, I just open the book and go back to that page. She touched it so often that it still smells like her, even all these years later. She used to tell me that the sky was black velvet and the stars were holes that been punched in the ceiling of heaven. And that was how our loved ones looked down at this and saw if we were doing wrong or if we were doing right or - just checking on us every so often. So every time I look up at the sky, she's there.
GREENE: Chloe Longfellow remembering her grandmother Doris Louise Rolison at StoryCorps in Seattle. Her grandmother's story will be archived at the Library of Congress, and you can do this too by using the StoryCorps smartphone app. The StoryCorps podcast is at iTunes and also at npr.org.
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