Modeled after the WPA of the 1930s, the Story Corps project is gathering oral histories of ordinary Americans. The recordings will be housed in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Forever. HOW COOL IS THAT??

I first heard about this project while I was lying in bed one morning listening to public radio. Hard to say WHICH day, as that is how I start every day, and sometimes the mornings blur one into the other….

KPBS, the San Diego radio affiliate station announced that a mobile story corps booth would be in San Diego starting on February 9 and the idea of interviewing my sister about my mom started to gel. To me, it represented a way to honor my mother. Then it started to take hold, like a pit bull with a bone. I couldn’t let go.

When I first broached the subject with my sister, I sort of tossed it out there in the middle of making dinner. Casually. She responded the same way, saying “Sure” in that if-I-don’t-have-anything-better-to-do tone. I let it drop for the moment, plotting my strategy, biding my time, laying in wait for the opportunity to 1. Schedule an appointment once the StoryCorps people started accepting calls and 2. Nailing my sister down to commit to a time she would A. be in town and B. be available to go with me.

Whew. I did it. It wasn’t easy, but after some frustrating internet time of “Sorry, This Page Is Unavailable At This Time Please Try Later” and then some “Um could you call back. Um our computers are down?” phone calls, I finally prevailed. I’ll be interviewing my sister on February 23. I have 27 questions to ask her….


My mom was 27 when she had me…. here are 27 questions I want to ask me and my sister:

1. What’s your earliest memory of Mom?
2. What traits do you think you inherited from Mom?
3. What traits do you wish you inherited from Mom?
4. What do you think you missed out on most because Mom died so young?
5. Why do you / don’t you have any pictures of Mom in your house?
6. How do you think you would be different, as a person, if Mom were still alive?
7. Do you think you would be friends with Mom, or would she drive you crazy?
8. Do you think Dad would have been different had Mom lived?
9. What was your relationship with Mom like?
10. Do you ever dream about Mom?
11. How do you think Mom would want to be remembered?
12. If you could talk to Mom right now, what would you want to say?
13. What are the hardest times?
14. Do you have any traditions to honor Mom?
15. What is the image of Mom that persists?
16. Can you recall your last interaction with Mom?
17. What do you miss most about Mom?
18. What has been the hardest thing about losing Mom?
19. What is your happiest memory of Mom?
20. What is your most vivid memory of Mom?
21. How would Mom’s friends describe Mom?
22. Was there anything you disagreed about, fought over, or experienced some conflict around?
23. What about Mom makes you smile?
24. Were there any jokes Mom used to tell?
25. Was Mom religious?
26. Did Mom believe in an afterlife?
27. What don’t you know that only Mom could tell you?