STEVE INSKEEP host:
On Fridays we listen to StoryCorps. This project brings friends and families together to record interviews with each other. They sit in a specially designed booth and once the door closes, many people have no trouble getting started.
Ms. MAY HERLANDS: My first memory of you was at camp when we were 12-years-old. I think you were wearing white shorts.
INSKEEP: That's May Herlands, she's sitting across the table from Sheila Lepelstat.
Ms. SHEILA LEPELSTAT: I don't know what color shorts you were wearing, but I do remember that even though you were completely different from me, we hit it off immediately.
INSKEEP: Lepelstat and Herlands grew up near each other in the Bronx. They're now in their 70's and they spoke about a friendship that began nearly 60 summers ago.
Ms. LEPELSTAT: What was your best memory of childhood?
Ms. HERLANDS: My best memory of childhood was not within my home. It was being in your house with a family. Things that I just never had. I don't really have pleasant memories of my childhood.
Ms. LEPELSTAT: You were a child of divorced parents and in the '40s and '50s that was pretty much a scandal to have a mother who was divorced.
Ms. HERLANDS: Yeah.
Ms. LEPELSTAT: At first you were embarrassed by it and then you hid it. You said your father was a traveling salesman.
Ms. HERLANDS: Probably that's why I have such good memories with you, Sheila, and my other friends.
Ms. LEPESTAT: What did you do for fun?
Ms. HERLANDS: Oh, what did I do for fun? I taught you how to smoke. Forced you to smoke.
Ms. LEPESTAT: My memory of that was that you went out to California to see your father and you came back home with flaming red hair at 15 and smoking, and I thought this was the best thing that ever happened to anybody.
Ms. HERLANDS: Well, this is what I did. I took you and a few other girls to my house. I bought a pack of every brand possible and everybody was sick and they were choking and I said you're going to learn and you're going to do it right. And they all came out unfortunately and smoked.
Thank goodness most of them stopped, and I have a little emphysema. But other than that I'm fine.
Ms. LEPELSTAT: Well, that was a very funny time in our lives.
Ms. HERLANDS: And we've had many funny times as adults.
Ms. LEPELSTAT: I don't think we've ever really spoken about how much our friendship means to each other, but each of us has no sisters, so in that respect we are family.
Ms. HERLANDS: We can talk five times a day and always have something to say.
Ms. LEPELSTAT: And we know that we're there for each other when there's nobody else.
Ms. HERLANDS: Agreed. Agreed.
(Soundbite of music)
INSKEEP: May Herlands and her friend Sheila Lepelstat at the StoryCorps booth in New York City. All of the StoryCorps interviews are archived at the Library of Congress and you can learn how to record your StoryCorps interview by going to our Web site, npr.org.
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