What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

Telling Stories


Many years ago, when I was studying video production, I had a passion project I hoped someday to make a reality. It was inspired by the loss of my childhood babysitter and friend, Annie. She was from the shipping town of Cobh, in Ireland, and her stories were endlessly fascinating to me. Annie was the eldest girl in a large family of dock workers. The family wanted to better themselves, so they scrimped and saved to purchase passage to America for their eldest son. But something happened to the son – I confess I no longer remember what it was – the night before the ship was to leave. So the family packed up 16-year-old Annie, who had never been out of Cobh, and unceremoniously put her on the boat. Though she knew no one, on the boat or in America, the teenager was expected to find a place to live, get a job, and send back money for the family. Annie met some interesting characters on the ship, including her future husband, who looked after her during the voyage. The pair were married a few months after they landed in the US. Annie found a job as a housekeeper, and her husband worked on the docs in New York. They were eventually able to send back enough money for members of both families to join them, but you can imagine the hardship they endured.

I always wanted to record Annie’s stories, and that led me to what I thought of as The Oral History Project. I wanted to capture the stories of those among us whose stories were in danger of being lost. I never got it off the ground, but StoryCorps originator David Isay had a similar idea, and he ran with it. I have written about StoryCorps videos before, but I’ve never explored their origin story. Today, Dave is telling us in his own words how it came to be.

Because of Covid, their Grand Central Station recording booth is gone, but you an still hire StoryCorps for a day of recording. Wouldn’t that be a great idea for a family or school reunion?

You can learn more about StoryCorps on the organization’s website.

Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

8 thoughts on “Telling Stories

  1. StoryCorps should always come with a “keep tissues handy” warning. Sniff. Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love StoryCorps. It never fails to move me on some level. I listen to it on NPR but you’ve reminded me about the YouTube series too.

    Your friend Annie sounds like a remarkable woman and I bet she had many compelling stories to share.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I often wish we had ask more questions of my grandparents. But then my Mothers mother would always say ” Why do you want to know…it doesn’t matter” and 9 times out of 10 she never answered. We still have questions not answered.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I had to stop and think if I wanted to reply. My mom died when I was three years old. My grandmother raised me. She worked to raise me. She gave me house and food. But, I grew up on my own. Today, I am still a “loner”. But, for Donna I did write her about my youth in private. I have left behind my brief story of my life for my family. Hal

    Liked by 1 person

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