NPR StoryCorps

This episode of StoryCorps originally aired in 2015.

Chloe Longfellow, 32, remembers her close relationship with her grandmother, Doris Louise Rolison, who taught her to cook in a kitchen that also served as a classroom for Rolison's life lessons.

"It's really surprising the amount of life lessons you can learn in a kitchen if you have the right teacher," Longfellow said.

Lillian Bloodworth lives up to her name, so to speak.

Over the course of nearly five decades, the 92-year-old has donated 23 gallons of blood, starting in the 1960s. (The average person's body contains about 1.5 gallons.)

"When I first started, I would have donors read my name tag and ask if that was really my name or was that a gimmick for the blood bank," she said.

During a StoryCorps conversation recorded in January 2010 in Gulf Breeze, Fla., Lillian told her late husband, John, about why it was important for her to give blood as often as she can.

Ruth Owens, 93, has lived in the same small town in the mountains of Tennessee her whole life. It's her compassion for others that led her to want to take care of her community.

Before she retired at age 85, Owens inspired several of her children and grandchildren to follow in her footsteps into nursing, including her grandson, James Taylor.

"It takes a special person to be a nurse," she told Taylor, 41, during a StoryCorps interview in April. "That was the most rewarding profession that you could have. So I'm real thankful for that."

Fifty years ago, federal postal workers walked out in a strike that lasted eight days, spanned more than 30 cities and prompted President Richard Nixon to declare a national emergency. The effort won postal workers living wages.

Tom Germano was one of them, picketing in the middle of New York City alongside fellow letter carriers and clerks. As a strike leader of Branch 36 of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Germano helped rally support.

When Rep. James Clyburn — the highest-ranking African American in Congress — endorsed Joe Biden's 2020 bid for president, it helped propel the candidate to crucial victories in the South Carolina primary last month and on Super Tuesday.

Clyburn, elected to Congress in 1992, has served two stints as House Majority Whip, a post he currently holds. At StoryCorps in 2007, Clyburn talked to his granddaughter about success and failure.

Click the play button to hear their conversation.

Audio produced for Morning Edition by Anita Rao.

Olivia Hooker was a 6-year-old in Tulsa, Okla., when a race riot destroyed her community as well as her own home.

In less than 24 hours, mobs of white men destroyed more than 1,000 homes and businesses in the Greenwood District, an affluent African American neighborhood of Tulsa. It's estimated as many as 300 people were killed.

As they wrecked her own home, she and her three siblings quietly hid under a dining room table, careful not to make a sound.

Shig Yabu was 10 years old when he and his family were forced from their home in San Francisco and relocated to an internment camp in Wyoming.

In 1942, two months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 authorizing the detention of anyone deemed a potential threat to the country. Roughly 120,000 people of Japanese descent were forcibly relocated to internment camps as a result — the Yabu family included.

Eddie Chang and his three daughters lost a wife and mother when E.F. Wen died of colon cancer 10 years ago.

They're still grieving but are comforted when they read her old journals and share stories.

Eddie Chang visited StoryCorps in 2017 with his youngest daughter, Tria, now 36, to tell her the story of how he first met her mother.

Kevin Craw always encouraged his children to embrace the unexpected.

His daughter, Kate Quarfordt, the eldest of his three children, was in high school the first time she truly understood the spirit of her father's philosophy.

In a conversation at StoryCorps last month, Quarfordt told her dad how he inspired her to take more risks in life.

It all started with her vocal talent.

Quarfordt grew up in Connecticut with a passion for singing. In high school, she starred in several musicals, but was also interested in performing other kinds of music.

Derrick Storms and his little brother Raymond grew up in southern Florida in a troubled, at times unstable, home.

When they were in high school, their mother died of cancer.

The brothers didn't really have each other, either. Derrick held a lot of anger and tormented Raymond.

"I just remember you being so cruel," Raymond told Derrick.

In a conversation at StoryCorps this month, the two sat down to talk about how they reclaimed their relationship.

Derrick would play malicious tricks on him, Raymond said.

At six years old, Jerry Morrison is already shooting for the stars.

"I want to live on another planet," Jerry told his uncle, Joey Jefferson, at StoryCorps in November. "There's so much sights to see: nebulas, hot Jupiters and supernova remnants. They look so beautiful."

Jefferson, 29, also fell in love with space at an early age. It started with a wind-up space shuttle toy his mother gave him when he was a kid. Today he's a mission operations engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, where he commanded the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Cassini spacecraft to Saturn.

Rep. John Lewis is the last living speaker from the March on Washington, the 1963 landmark civil rights protest that culminated with Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

But before Lewis dedicated his life to fighting for racial equality, he grew up in Troy, Ala., with dreams of becoming a different kind of orator.

"When I was very young, I wanted to preach the gospel," Lewis said on a visit to StoryCorps in February 2018.

He wanted to be a minister. His nearest congregation was the family livestock.

As a young boy growing up in Minneapolis during the 1970s, Russell King knew he wasn't into the things most other boys liked.

"I didn't really like sports, and I liked to play with the girls," King, now 57, said on a visit to StoryCorps this past November. King liked dolls, but he got the message early that because he was a boy, he wasn't supposed to.

Dena Kohleriter had always planned on having a family. But when she was 36 years old and hadn't yet met the person she wanted to build one with, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She met with a reproductive endocrinologist in 2010 and gave birth to her daughter, Jori, the following year.

That it's just the two of them is what makes their family "a little bit unique," Dena tells 8-year-old Jori at StoryCorps in Dallas.

In 2015, Asma Jama was dining out with family at an Applebee's restaurant in Coon Rapids, Minn., when she was attacked by another customer. Jama, a Somali American, was wearing a hijab and speaking Swahili when a woman in the next booth demanded she speak English.

The woman, Jodie Burchard-Risch, then hit Jama in the face with a glass beer mug. Burchard-Risch pleaded guilty to felony assault charges, admitted she acted out of bias and served time in jail for assault.

Drew Lanham grew up in Edgefield County, S.C., on the farm his grandfather built in the 1920s.

Lanham, now 54, says his father felt a responsibility to stay on the land and care for the animals and crops planted there. "I saw my father, in large, through the land, and I saw the land as my father's heart," he said on a visit to StoryCorps earlier this month.

To Lanham, that family land was intertwined with his fascination for the critters around him.

Jessica Kibblewhite grew up the daughter of an astronomer. Her dad, Edward Kibblewhite, invented, among other things, a system that allows scientists to take clearer pictures of stars.

Given his background, Jessica asked him for help finding clarity on a different subject: starting a family.

The world, Jessica told Edward at StoryCorps last October, seemed like an especially difficult place, and she and her husband had been struggling with the idea of bringing children into it.

She felt scared for the future.

Edward, now 75, asks her what the alternative is.

This story is part of StoryCorps' Road to Resilience project, which leverages the power of storytelling to help children cope with the death of a parent, sibling or loved one.

Sylvia Grosvold was 5 years old when her mother died by suicide.

Now 16, Sylvia recently sat down with her father, Josh Weiner, 52, at StoryCorps. They talked about the day Sylvia's mother, Kari Grosvold, died and the years that followed.

The day before Ashley Baker turned 16 years old, she moved into a Dallas motel with her mom. They were newly homeless.

Sandy, Ashley's mother, then 44, had just left a troubled marriage, scraped together what money she could and left home with Ashley.

For the next two and a half years, they were homeless. They recounted the challenges they faced during a recent StoryCorps interview in Dallas.

"One of the first places that we lived was [an] InTown Suites Hotel," said Sandy, now 54. "And there was nothing sweet about it. It was crazy bad."

Ever since they were kids growing up on Staten Island, N.Y., David Carles and his younger brother Mark Carles have been inseparable.

But in October last year, they were dealt a huge blow: Mark, now 25, was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer called fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma.

The brothers, just a year apart in age, still don't know how much time they'll have together; they only know that they want to spend as much of it as they can side by side.

It was 1965 when Winfred Rembert, then 19, says he was almost killed by a group of white men.

"I'm 71. But I still wake up screaming and reliving things that happened to me," Winfred, now 73, said.

During a 2017 StoryCorps interview, Winfred told his wife, Patsy Rembert, 67, about the traumatic incident he's still grappling with today.

Ever since he was a child, Michael Menta looked up to his uncle Sal Leone for becoming a Marine. Menta would eventually follow in Leone's footsteps to serve his country, enlisting in the Navy during his senior year of high school.

Their shared veteranship brought them closer.

"We spoke the same language," Menta said, when he and Leone visited StoryCorps last month.

In 1967, when Janie Bush was 19 and discovered that she was pregnant, she decided to place her baby for adoption.

But when Janie's daughter — whom she named Tracey Jane — was born with spina bifida, a potentially fatal birth defect, the planned adoptive family backed out.

Janie couldn't afford the expensive specialized care that Tracey's condition required. A social worker told Janie that her daughter might die if the child didn't receive appropriate medical care and that a state residence might be her best option.

Growing up, Arguster and Lebronze Davis and their 14 siblings worked alongside their parents on the family's 40-acre farm in Wetumpka, Ala.

The brothers remember lessons that their father, Ben Davis, passed down to them.

Now 70, Lebronze recalls how at one point, nine kids lived at home, with all eight of the brothers packed into two beds in one room.

"Two slept at the head, two slept at the feet," he says during his recent StoryCorps interview. "And there was one thing about them feet, you washed them feet before you went to bed."

Eli Brown and Natalie Guice Adams first met as third-grade classmates, when their school in Winnsboro, La., integrated in fall of 1970. Although they would share a similar academic trajectory, Brown and Adams lived very separate experiences.

"I feel like we missed knowing each other," Brown, a 56-year-old African American man, told Adams, a 57-year-old white woman, during a StoryCorps conversation recorded earlier this month.

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