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Kite history and other stories


Yesterday it was a balmy California day and there was just enough wind to try out our new kite! We took it to the park and tried to get it up but by the time we got there and walked diagonally through the back-to-back ball games, the wind had mostly died down. We were unsuccessful this time but will try again - today is looking a bit breezy too...

I have a great memory of flying a kite with my mom. We took our kite to the local junior high school field out behind our house and I recall mom yelling, "O.k. now RUN, RUN, RUN!" And I ran and ran and ran and the kite was so high in the sky. I could feel the tug of the spool of string in my hand and I remember thinking, "I can't believe how high it is!" It was an exhilarating feeling to have gotten that kite up in the air.

I don't have a snapshot of this event except in my mind's eye so I cannot convey it in any way except through words. This is one of the reasons I love oral history so much. I love sitting down and listening to a story from someone who lived during a time way before I was born. The feeling of the event told shines through the words and conveys the event in the rise and fall of the voice and the emotion of the event always comes through.

Last year I got the chance to interview my dad through Storycorps, a wonderful oral-history project through NPR that gives two people the chance to sit down and have an hour-long interview. A Storycorps booth provides everything you need: a sound-recording system, a table, a dimmed, soundproof room, and a facilitator to help you through the technicalities. All you need is someone to interview and your questions. Afterwards, you get a CD of the interview and that interview also gets its very own spot in the Library of Congress, so your great-grandchildren or someone else who may need to do research on your family can listen to it someday too. NPR also has a Storycorps broadcast that you can listen to on your local public radio - that comes in podcast form too - my favorite way of listening!

Since I'm on the subject of the Library of Congress, let me include here the reason for its place on my side bar. The Library of Congress has this neat section called the American Memory Digital Library. All you need is what's in front of you: a computer with speakers. Listen to oral histories, folk music recordings, ex-slave narratives; see advertisements from the 1800's, maps from the Civil War, photos from the turn of the century...this place is a history lover's delight. Anyway, click on the link above and you can browse the collection by topic. This is where I'd be all day if I didn't have a thousand other things to do! Enjoy!

1 comment:

Aris said...

I love storycorps. When I am feeling down I take a listen and it reminds me that this world is full of beauty and kindness and every one has something worth saying. I listen and always end up with tears streaming down my face at the beauty of it all.
That's wonderful that you have taken part, I would love to as well, are they still doing it?