WBEZ | StoryCorps http://www.wbez.org/tags/storycorps Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 'I was not marching in the street, but I was marching in the business.' http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/i-was-not-marching-street-i-was-marching-business-111447 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 150123 Ron and Dave Sampson bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Ron Sampson&rsquo;s story reads like a real-life episode of &ldquo;Mad Men.&rdquo;</p><p>In the 1950s and 1960s Sampson worked at advertising agencies that marketed all sorts of products, from fast food to cars. But Sampson is black and the agencies where he worked early in his career were almost all-white.</p><p>&ldquo;My mindset was to be professional but not give up my blackness,&rdquo; Sampson says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps. &ldquo;I was not marching in the street, but I was marching in the business.&rdquo;</p><p>In December, Ron Sampson, 81, sat down with his son, Dave, 52, to talk about his career, and how the advertising industry has changed with respect to African-Americans.</p><p>Ron started his career at the same time the Civil Rights Movement was beginning, and he felt that many white executives were interested in understanding it better. &ldquo;Even if they wouldn&rsquo;t make a sale with me, they wanted to hear it. So I became a conduit for them to learn what black folks were about.&rdquo;</p><p>Ron&rsquo;s son, Dave, explains that back then, in marketing to African-Americans, many companies simply replaced white faces in advertisements with black ones. &ldquo;Particularly in print,&rdquo; Dave says, &ldquo;it was not written in a way that reflected who we were. The language was wrong, the situations were wrong. There was not much of a connection.&rdquo;</p><p>Ron says that when he started working at one agency in Chicago, the only other black person at the company was the shoeshine man. Yet Ron felt compelled to be in the agency world,&nbsp; &ldquo;to point out these things that people had no sensitivity to,&rdquo; Dave says.</p><p>In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. Ron remembers the day vividly.<br />&ldquo;The city went up in flames on the West Side,&rdquo; Ron says, &ldquo;and people ran like scared chickens out of the downtown area here in Chicago. I looked around and the whole agency was empty.&rdquo; Ron was disappointed that none of his colleagues had anything to say about how their clients should respond in the wake of the incident. He wrote a memo to the head of the agency and expressed his dismay. A week later, executives started coming in to see him. One-by-one they expressed their disappointment at the behavior of the company and talked about how they would begin to see things differently.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody who is advertising a product is in it to make money,&rdquo; Dave says. Over time, with the help of pioneers like Ron Sampson, companies learned that African-Americans &ldquo;aspire to many of the same things as white people but the language and culture to get there are different.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 10:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/i-was-not-marching-street-i-was-marching-business-111447 Transgender teenager named Prom Queen http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/transgender-teenager-named-prom-queen-111411 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 150116 Reyna Ortiz A bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When he was 12, Ray Ortiz packed a blue duffel bag and prepared to leave home forever.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s just no way in hell that I&rsquo;m going to live a life that I&rsquo;m not happy with,&rdquo; Ortiz remembers thinking.</p><p>&ldquo;At the time I didn&rsquo;t know what transgender was,&rdquo; Ortiz says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps. Kids at school called him &ldquo;Gay Ray,&rdquo; so he assumed that he was gay.</p><p>He wrote his mom a letter saying &ldquo;not only was I gay, but that I wanted to be a girl.&rdquo;<br />She was supportive and gradually Ray transitioned to living life as a female, going by the name Reyna and using female pronouns. &ldquo;I just made a mental decision like: I&rsquo;m going to do what I want. And I don&rsquo;t care what anybody else has to say.&rdquo;</p><p>Ortiz has three brothers, one older and two younger. And they provided a lot of support when it came time for her to attend Morton East High School in Cicero.</p><p>Other students were &ldquo;horrendous,&rdquo; Reyna said. She told her older brother and she says he went to her high school, into her classroom and confronted her bully. She says kids never bothered her again.</p><p>Ortiz became friends with the most beautiful girls in school. &ldquo;And they were willing to fight and slap somebody if they disrespected me,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But eventually people just got used to me. By my junior year, I can honestly say, I ruled that school.&rdquo;</p><p>Emmanuel&nbsp;Garcia was a sophomore at Morton East when Ortiz was a senior. Garcia was struggling to come to terms with his identity as a gay Latino man. &ldquo;Seeing someone who was so open and out with their gender identity, it was intimidating,&rdquo; Garcia said in an interview recently. &ldquo;She carried herself so fearlessly.&rdquo;</p><p>During Reyna&rsquo;s senior year, she was nominated for Prom Queen. She went without a date, and sat by herself when the court was announced.</p><p>Then, they announced the winner: &ldquo;&rsquo;And the winner of Prom Queen of 1998 - Ray Ortiz.&rsquo; And I just remember everybody coming to the stage. When I turned around it was just flashing lights and paparazzi. Pictures everywhere and people applauding.&ldquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We always hear that the Latino community is full of machismo and we never hear about a community embracing their own,&rdquo; Garcia said. &ldquo;To have this person kind of pioneer sexuality and gender identity in 1998 was unheard of.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 08:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/transgender-teenager-named-prom-queen-111411 Evanston man hit by truck, finds himself at fault http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/evanston-man-hit-truck-finds-himself-fault-111371 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 150109 Andrew Emily bh.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>About four years ago, Andrew Kerr was crossing the street in Evanston when a city utility truck drove down the block. He didn&#39;t see it and was hit by the truck and thrown about twenty feet in the air.</p><p>Kerr recently came to the StoryCorps Booth with his friend and neighbor Emily Grayson to talk about the incident, and the lasting impact it&rsquo;s had on his life.</p><p>&ldquo;Do you remember the moment it happened?&rdquo; Grayon asks him. &ldquo;I kinda remember only the moment it happened,&rdquo; Kerr says. &ldquo;Just the sheer terror of realizing I was going to get hit by a moving truck in the face. And there was no getting out of the way. And the next thing I remember was waking up in the hospital.&rdquo;</p><p>There, Kerr learned the severity of the accident - he had some brain injuries, his skull and arm were fractured and he had bruised some ribs. The hospital staff was supportive throughout his rehabilitation and pushed him when he needed to be pushed.</p><p>&ldquo;There was this CNA who worked there,&rdquo; Kerr says. &ldquo;And he was the one who was like &lsquo;You&rsquo;ve been here this many days? You need to stand up today.&rsquo; And I was terrified. I remember just sobbing in fear about trying to walk. And him holding me, this stranger in a hospital, doesn&rsquo;t know me, a nursing assistant helping me take my first steps after having brain injury, lying in this bed for a week or whatever it was, and pushing me like someone who cared.&rdquo;</p><p>Kerr&rsquo;s wife was also at his side. He had known her since he was a teenager.</p><p>The accident caused several permanent injuries in Kerr, including significant hearing loss, and the loss of his sense of smell.</p><p>Kerr owns a small construction company in Evanston and when the accident happened his wife called his clients and kept the business going. Through all of it, Kerr&rsquo;s wife was at his side, taking care of their small children too.</p><p>&ldquo;I best describe it as watching my own episode of &lsquo;It&rsquo;s a Wonderful Life,&rsquo;&rdquo; Kerr says. &ldquo;Being alive to see how loved I am: My customers lining up to help, which to me said I mean something in your life. My mechanic came and visited me in the hospital. The guy from Home Depot brought me fresh fruit, just because he was concerned. I&rsquo;m amazed at how many people came together.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 09 Jan 2015 09:43:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/evanston-man-hit-truck-finds-himself-fault-111371 Improviser finds purpose in Chicago police mental health crisis trainings http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/improviser-finds-purpose-chicago-police-mental-health-crisis-trainings-111274 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 141219 Clark Weber.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In 2004, the Chicago Police Department implemented a voluntary training program to deal with mental health emergencies.</p><p>Today, Chicago has the <a href="http://www.namichicago.org/documents/cit_advocacy_sheet.pdf" target="_blank">largest crisis intervention training program in the world</a>, according to Alexa James, Executive Director of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)-Chicago.</p><p>Clark Weber is an essential part of the crisis intervention training. In this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps, Weber describes how he found himself in the greatest role of his life.</p><p>After moving to Chicago in the late 1980s, Weber studied improv at Second City. He loves acting, whether it&rsquo;s theater, television or film. But Weber struggled with depression and suicidal tendencies too. He was diagnosed as bipolar and spent four-and-a-half weeks at a state mental hospital before moving into a group home with Thresholds, a non-profit that assists people with mental illness.</p><p>&ldquo;When I came to Thresholds,&rdquo; Weber said, &ldquo;they had a theater arts program &ndash; which now unfortunately is defunct - and I was told that we have this opportunity to role play with Chicago police to make them aware and see what a real mental health crisis is like.&rdquo;</p><p>Weber soon found himself in the middle of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training program, roleplaying as a person in distress.</p><p>The role-playing can be intense, Weber said. &ldquo;Officers have play weapons and a real Taser, which is non-functioning. And instead of using force, they try to talk us down. And we have total freedom to insult the police officers. We have total freedom to swear at them, to make it as real as possible.&rdquo;</p><p>If officers feel &ldquo;that the Taser needs to be used, they&rsquo;ll just point it towards us and say, &lsquo;Taser. Taser. Taser.&rsquo; So we&rsquo;re fake-Tased and then we discuss why the officer feels he or she had to do that.&rdquo;</p><p>Pastor Fred Kinsey is a member of ONE Northside, a group that this past year helped get police to increase the number of officers able to go through CIT training. &ldquo;If you have tools to recognize people in crisis, to know what kinds of medications people are on, that helps,&rdquo; Kinsey said. Chicago Police recently doubled the number of officers who are able to receive CIT training each year, Kinsey said. But that doubling of officers - from 200 to 400 officers each year &ndash; is small compared to the number of officers who don&rsquo;t take the training. &ldquo;I&rsquo;d like to see the majority, if not all, officers trained,&rdquo; Kinsey said. The biggest impediment to expanding the training program, he said, is not so much financial, but the time costs of taking officers off the street.</p><p>For Clark Weber, the experience has been transformative. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not saying every day&rsquo;s gonna be a good day, or every day&rsquo;s gonna be a great day. Being bipolar I do have my ups and downs. But I run into officers that I&rsquo;ve helped train or they&rsquo;ve been in a class and they&rsquo;ve watched the videos. And I&rsquo;ve had officers come up to me and said, &lsquo;Because of you I helped save this person&rsquo;s life. Or I helped this person get the treatment that they needed.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s very empowering,&rdquo; Weber says. &ldquo;For the first time in my life, I feel I have a purpose. I have a place in the world.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/improviser-finds-purpose-chicago-police-mental-health-crisis-trainings-111274 StoryCorps: Bilingual pre-school teacher describes the state of education in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-bilingual-pre-school-teacher-describes-state-education-chicago-111267 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/kksc.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Iveth Romano teaches pre-school in Chicago and many of her students are bilingual. She came by the StoryCorps booth recently to speak with producer Katie Klocksin about the importance of supporting kids who are learning two languages.</p><p>&ldquo;Most of the parents don&rsquo;t speak English,&rdquo; Romano said. &ldquo;But most of our teachers who have a Bachelors&rsquo;, they are American, so they just speak English.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I remember once a girl she just peed her pants and started crying,&rdquo; she continued. &ldquo;I was in another classroom but I heard the girl say that she wanted to use the bathroom, in Spanish. But [none] of the teachers understood what she said. They (didn&rsquo;t) pay attention to her and she just peed on her pants and started crying and they gave her a timeout.&rdquo;</p><p>Romano says she has a lot of examples like that. She says she sees situations like that once per week or twice a week.</p><p>Romano pushes all her students to learn English and Spanish. In her classroom, they say their ABCs in both languages.</p><p>Sometimes, though, parents are oblivious to what&rsquo;s going on - good or bad - in the classroom.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not because people are bad. Or they don&rsquo;t know how to say &lsquo;thank you.&rsquo; I think it&rsquo;s more that they&rsquo;re tired. Sometimes you don&rsquo;t really know what kind of job they have. Sometimes they have two different jobs in one day. So that [does] not make me feel bad that they don&rsquo;t say &lsquo;thank you.&rsquo; They don&rsquo;t say nothing. They just take the kid and leave. I understand. Sometimes they look really tired.&rdquo;</p><p>Teaching can be stressful, Klocksin said, but &ldquo;there&rsquo;s obviously a lot of rewards to it too. Why did you go into this?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Cause my son is four years old,&rdquo; Romano said, &ldquo;And he used to attend a Head Start but I just moved him to a Catholic school because here in Chicago. The education in the public schools is really difficult in this moment.&rdquo;</p><p>Romano says two of the neighborhood public schools closed, so classrooms that used to have twenty kids are now thirty-five or forty kids.</p><p>Romano says her son is doing better now.</p><p>&ldquo;His behavior&rsquo;s completely different,&rdquo; Romano said. &ldquo;He looks more happy. He looks more confident.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-bilingual-pre-school-teacher-describes-state-education-chicago-111267 StoryCorps: Adoptive mom encourages teenage boy http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-adoptive-mom-encourages-teenage-boy-111112 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/scorpsadopt.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>&ldquo;My mom was the only one there, but she was a good mom,&rdquo; Matt Fitzsimmons says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps. &ldquo;She loved us very much. But she didn&rsquo;t have much to work with, because she was a single mom. And she passed on from cancer when I was 14. My dad came back like two months before my mom passed, and he was going to take care of us. But my dad had enough troubles of his own, with alcohol. So my sister and I had to deal with a single alcoholic parent in the house and basically he was perpetually mad at us for no good reason.&rdquo;</p><p>Fitzsimmons came to StoryCorps with Shirley Paulson, a woman who&rsquo;d known him since before he was born. She had just moved back to Chicago around the time of Fitzsimmons&rsquo; mother&rsquo;s funeral.</p><p>&ldquo;I found you then after your younger sister had gone off to school and you were living alone then with your dad&hellip;That was bad. If I remember correctly you were living with your dad in the house with a dog and a couple cats and it seemed like they had more care than you did.&rdquo;</p><p>Paulson explains how Fitzsimmons worked one summer at a camp alongside their son, Tim.</p><p>&ldquo;When we went to the airport to pick up Tim from camp, Tim said, &lsquo;Matt needs a ride home. Can we bring him home?&rsquo; Sure. So we just jumped you in the car and when we dropped you off at your house, I was stunned to realize that here you&rsquo;d been away all summer, you got your luggage out of the car, went up to the house, and there was nobody there to even say hello.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;Oh he was there,&rdquo; Fitzsimmons says. &ldquo;He was just asleep on the couch, with the five cars in the driveway and the lawn really long.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;Exactly,&rdquo; Paulson says. &ldquo;Well, the next day was Labor Day and I thought: Why don&rsquo;t we invite Matt over? We thought maybe you&rsquo;d like to come and join us. So I was a little bit nervous calling you &lsquo;cause I didn&rsquo;t know you that well. So we invited you and you said so quickly: &lsquo;Yes! Sure!&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;And I noticed that you ate and ate and ate and ate. You were hungry. And so I said to my husband afterwards: &lsquo;Do you think Matt would like to come over for some more food tomorrow?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Then it became obvious that you were joining us more than the typical teenager coming over to have food with a family.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I think I talked your head off,&rdquo; Fitzsimmons says. &ldquo;We talked a lot.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Yeah, we did talk a lot,&rdquo; Paulson says, &ldquo;and I loved that. I felt honored that you would &ndash; as a teenager - take the time to talk to me. And share your life, and it meant so much to me. It really did. But I don&rsquo;t think you realized for a while what it meant to be in the family. It took you a while to register. And it was hard to do because you had to deal with the fact that you had a family. And yet you also were being part of us. And you had loyalty to your family, which was right to do.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;It was frustrating to me to have to drive you home every day across Glenview and drop you off into that nothing of a house. And then come back and pick you up the next day and bring you home and have some nice time with you and drive you back home again. And I thought: &lsquo;Why won&rsquo;t he just move in?&rsquo; But there was some stuff you had to deal with.&rdquo;</p><p>Fitzsimmons says, &ldquo;So, you were the nice person helping me. Then you converted into parental person, which is a huge shift, because you went from nice to &lsquo;You have to do this to get to the next stage of your life.&rsquo;&hellip;When I think about all those twists and turns throughout life. And if I didn&rsquo;t do this turn or that turn where would I be&hellip;That was probably the biggest turn for you to say, &lsquo;We&rsquo;re going to save him from devastation.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Of course we didn&rsquo;t think of saving you. We thought of we needed you. You&rsquo;ll get that through your head one of these days.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ll say it officially: I love you.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Oh, Matt! Can I say &lsquo;I love you&rsquo; too?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;You do all the time!&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 17:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-adoptive-mom-encourages-teenage-boy-111112 StoryCorps: Interracial couple travels to Ferguson, Missouri http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-interracial-couple-travels-ferguson-missouri-111086 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 141107 Helene Lucas_bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Helene Matumona was born in Zambia, but grew up in Canada.</p><p>&ldquo;Chicago is very different from Vancouver,&rdquo; she says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps. &ldquo;When you&rsquo;re here, you really feel like you&rsquo;re black. I think that&rsquo;s how I would describe my stay in Chicago: I feel black.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m not trying to divide myself,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;You know, ideally I want to live in a society where there aren&rsquo;t tensions. Where we can all just be cool with each other.&rdquo;</p><p>Matumona came to the booth with her husband, Lucas Weisbecker, who is white. He asked her about their recent visit to St. Louis and the protests in nearby Ferguson.</p><p>&ldquo;It was just really tense at times,&quot; she says. &quot;Because you could feel the anger and you could feel just how fatigued the African-Americans in St. Louis were.&rdquo;</p><p>Weisbecker asks: &ldquo;Going to those protests, did that change your idea of what it means to be black?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Yeah. Cause I&rsquo;m an African immigrant,&quot; she says. &quot;And I feel like there&rsquo;s a difference there. Versus being an African-American and going through these struggles, the Civil Rights movement and slavery and all that. There&rsquo;s definitely a different story there. There&rsquo;s a different fight.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I went down there to try to see what was happening,&rdquo; Weisbecker explains. &ldquo;To try to feel the vibe of what was going on. And try to get a story from people that are actually there and experiencing like&hellip;because obviously there&rsquo;s a lot of underlying issues beyond just one kid getting killed. People react that way because there&rsquo;s a systemic problem and it&rsquo;s not being addressed.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;And you go down there and you see kids being basically fed up with the way things are and trying to make a difference,&rdquo; Weisbecker continues. &ldquo;The one thing I kept thinking about though was how is this actually going to make a difference in the end.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;There needs to be a direction. And there needs to be somebody or a group or an idea that puts everything into a direction, because if there&rsquo;s no direction it&rsquo;s just going to be unbridled anger, which is justified, but it is not necessarily going to change what it is that people are upset about.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;It was so cool to see people out in the streets talking about politics and the issues. And I think that&rsquo;s the first step to developing a direction. And you really need to be so on point to make change. And it was like: We were marching, We were yelling. We were talking. And it was just like: Okay, what&rsquo;s the action? What are we going to do?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;d say, I left with a lot of questions.&quot;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 07 Nov 2014 16:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-interracial-couple-travels-ferguson-missouri-111086 Studs Terkel's assistant remembers him fondly http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/studs-terkels-assistant-remembers-him-fondly-111050 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/scorpsss.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&ldquo;The first time I met him (Studs Terkel) was right after I got to Chicago,&rdquo; Sydney Lewis says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps. &ldquo;I was waitressing at a nightclub and Studs was in my section. And it was very busy. It was very crowded and I was trying to get a drink order. And he started asking me questions: Where was I from? How long had I been in Chicago? What did I think of Chicago? And finally I said to him, &lsquo;Mr. Terkel, I read <em>Working</em>. And I loved <em>Working</em>. But I AM WORKING! What do you want to drink?&rsquo; So that was our first interaction and that sort of defines our relationship over the years.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I had that first meeting with him and then I went applying for a job at WFMT and eventually I ended up becoming the program department administrative assistant,&rdquo; she says.&nbsp;</p><p>And over the next 25 years, Lewis got to know Studs and his wife Ida very well.</p><p>Lewis admits to feeling a little lost without him. She looked to Studs to explain the world to her, like a lot of people in Chicago, she says. She relied on him for that because he cut to the human issues involved each and every time.</p><p>&ldquo;When anything&rsquo;s happening on the news, I just long to know what he would say,&rdquo; Lewis says.</p><p>&ldquo;You could hear him coming down the hallway,&rdquo; she recalls of their days together at WFMT. &ldquo;He was always talking. He never shut up. I used to tease him and go, &lsquo;How do you get good interviews?&rsquo; Because I mean, logorrhea, he just would go on and on and on. Raving about some horrible political decision or some war somewhere or joblessness or poverty. Or very excited because he had a guest coming in and he was looking forward to talking to them.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;I always felt like he had kind of a three-tiered mind: One part of it was talking to you, one part of it was working on the program or a book or whatever he was working on. And another part of it was looking at the whole world.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;I jokingly describe myself as his nanny, but that was somewhat my role. I would know who he would want to hear from. And what kind of authors were not up his alley&hellip;So I was good at filtering for him. And grabbing the mail, coffee for the guests.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;But you know there&rsquo;s the immensity of what he brought and there&rsquo;s the human being&hellip;He needed to be reminded that he wasn&rsquo;t the only person on the planet sometimes.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We would fight, I would yell at him sometimes. The worst time was when I was quitting smoking and I was really irritable.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;He had this habit. He&rsquo;d come down the hallway. Everyday he&rsquo;d say,&lsquo;Whaddya hear? Whaddya say, kid?&rsquo; You know where that&rsquo;s from?&rsquo; I&rsquo;d say, &lsquo;Jimmy Cagney!&rsquo; &lsquo;Yeah!&rsquo; You know, 325 days a year this would happen. It was his little ritual. And I was really grumpy when I quit smoking. My colleague Lois could see him. He would approach. And I was in a little alcove. And he would peer around it to see what kind of mood I was in. And at one point he went to Lois and said, &lsquo;What happened to her?&rsquo; And Lois said, &lsquo;Oh she&rsquo;s just quitting smoking.&rsquo; And he went, &lsquo;Ohhh! OK!&rsquo; He was used to me playing with him. We were very playful together.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;After his heart surgery&hellip;.This was probably the first heart surgery, so Ida was still alive. The doctor comes out. Looking like hell. He&rsquo;s really tired and he&rsquo;s just, &lsquo;Man, they don&rsquo;t make &lsquo;em like that anymore.&rsquo; When Ida and I came down to see him, he was sitting up in a chair, having a little soup. He thought one of the monitors was a TV screen. So he&rsquo;s saying, &lsquo;Can we get the ball game on? Can we get the ball game on?&rsquo; He offers me soup, &lsquo;Would you like a little soup?&rsquo; I&rsquo;m like, &lsquo;No that&rsquo;s OK. You need the soup.&rsquo; And just to tease him I leaned forward and said, &lsquo;Who&rsquo;s the president?&rsquo; And he looked up and he went, &lsquo;Taft?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;So here&rsquo;s a guy after like eight hours of open heart surgery and he&rsquo;s offering to share food with you, wanting to see the ball game and making jokes.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Yeah, like the doctor said, &lsquo;They don&rsquo;t make &lsquo;em like that anymore.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/studs-terkels-assistant-remembers-him-fondly-111050 Breaking the silence about being bipolar http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/breaking-silence-about-being-bipolar-110988 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 141024 Andrea Tim_bh (1)_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When Andrea Lee was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 20 years ago, she wanted to talk about it all the time.</p><p>&ldquo;Everywhere I went, I would introduce myself and I would try to work in - maybe in the second or third sentence of that conversation &ndash; &lsquo;By the way, I have Bipolar Disorder.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Eventually, though, she realized that people treated her differently.</p><p>&ldquo;So I stopped talking about it,&rdquo; Lee says in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps.</p><p>Now Lee wants to talk about it again.</p><p>She came to the StoryCorps booth in the Chicago Cultural Center earlier this month with her husband, Tim Fister.</p><p>&ldquo;I remember in high school sitting at the lunch table with my friends,&rdquo; Lee says, &ldquo;and there was all this commotion around me and I couldn&rsquo;t hear any of it&hellip;And I remember just putting my head down and feeling so&hellip;empty.&rdquo;</p><p>Later that day, she drove to her family&rsquo;s home and parked in the garage. &ldquo;I was crying and crying. I left the car on and I remember thinking: I could just close the door and I wouldn&rsquo;t have to feel this pain anymore.&rdquo;</p><p>She sat in the car, contemplating suicide. She imagined how her mother would feel when she got home and saw her body slumped in the driver&rsquo;s seat of the car.</p><p>Lee&rsquo;s parents are from Korea and Lee says, &ldquo;There&rsquo;s such a culture of shame in Korea that people would rather suffer in silence then let the world know that they&rsquo;re in pain and that they need help.&rdquo;</p><p>Lee turned the car off and went inside the house.</p><p>Soon after she saw a psychiatrist who prescribed anti-depressants to her. Within a few weeks, the drugs helped lift her spirits. The sky was bluer and the sun was brighter. But what she didn&rsquo;t realize was that she was quickly spiraling into mania.</p><p>A short time later, Lee experienced her first manic episode, and the police brought her to a mental health facility.</p><p>&ldquo;So through all of this stuff that was going on, I&rsquo;m just curious: Did you have anyone to talk to frankly?&rdquo; her husband, Tim Fister, asks. &ldquo;&rsquo;Cause it sounds like your parents were out of the picture.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Yeah, I don&rsquo;t think that in that state of mind I was really able to connect with anyone,&rdquo; Lee says. &ldquo;What was it like for you when you met me and I started telling you about my own mental illness?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;It wasn&rsquo;t really that big of a deal. It was maybe a little bit of a relief &lsquo;cause on both sides of my family there&rsquo;s a fair amount of various levels of mental illness. So it didn&rsquo;t bother me&hellip;that much. You know it&rsquo;s something you think about in terms of the logistics. I still think about that even today, especially now that Juniper&rsquo;s born. What are we going to do if such a thing were to happen? But you know when it&rsquo;s coming. You know the signs. And you know what to do.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;So we&rsquo;ve been married for nine&mdash;no, we&rsquo;ve been married for four years, but we&rsquo;ve been together for nine years, but you&rsquo;ve never seen me in a manic state. How do you feel about that?&rdquo; Lee asks.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s very possible you might never have another manic episode again,&rdquo; Fister says. &ldquo;You&rsquo;re lucky that you found the right combination of meds&hellip; And you have a good support system. You have a good doctor now.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;You know for a long time I didn&rsquo;t want to have a child because I didn&rsquo;t want that child to go through that,&rdquo; Lee says, &ldquo; but then also selfishly if that child committed suicide I didn&rsquo;t know how I would live. I didn&rsquo;t know how I could live with that knowledge: That I knew what that experience was but still decided to get pregnant and to bring a life into the world where that could happen.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;So what turned it around?&rdquo; Fister asks.</p><p>&ldquo;I think that I&rsquo;ve experienced things in our relationship together that made me feel like that chance was worth it,&rdquo; Lee says.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/breaking-silence-about-being-bipolar-110988 Young couple prepares for the birth of their first child http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/young-couple-prepares-birth-their-first-child-110958 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 141017 Meg and Bobby Hart.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Megan and Bobby Hart met after college, while preparing to do the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso.</p><p>Three years ago, they got married. And now they&rsquo;re on the cusp of yet another adventure.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re gonna have a baby,&rdquo; Bobby says, in this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps. &ldquo;Very soon,&rdquo; Meg says. &ldquo;Tomorrow I will be 37-weeks pregnant, so that is considered full-term. The baby could come any time now.&rdquo;</p><p>As if that weren&rsquo;t enough excitement, they bought their first home a month ago, and Bobby is spending all his time getting it ready.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m hoping that the child doesn&rsquo;t come for maybe another four weeks,&rdquo; Bobby says, &ldquo;to allow us to really do all the work that needs to be done on the house&hellip;I mean I love this person who&rsquo;s coming into the world but I don&rsquo;t want them to come just yet. I want a solid four more weeks if I can get it. Three would be acceptable. Please no sooner than two.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;What makes you think we are ready to be parents?&rdquo; he asks.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know if we&rsquo;re ready,&rdquo; Megan says.</p><p>&ldquo;I think we are ready enough because there&rsquo;s a lot of love in our house so I think there&rsquo;s plenty of room for a new person to come into it and be loved and supported. And I think we&rsquo;ve also traveled, we&rsquo;ve gone to school. We&rsquo;ve kind of settled down and I think we&rsquo;re ready to bring somebody else into our lives now.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re not woefully underprepared,&rdquo; Bobby says, &ldquo;but how do you know if you&rsquo;re really ready for this new experience that you&rsquo;ve never had? I&rsquo;ve never even really babysat. So this is really something that it&rsquo;s tough to say that I&rsquo;m absolutely prepared for.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;What are you most looking forward to with this child coming into our lives?&rdquo; Meg wants to know.</p><p>&ldquo;Oh, gosh! This is the person I get to hopefully teach the lessons that I think are really important. And maybe expand and move those things. I&rsquo;m excited to be able to have a relationship similar to the one that my father and mother have with me. All those sorts of cultural things you take from your parents. I&rsquo;m looking to be on the other side of that equation. And share those with a son or daughter. What about you?&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m looking forward to that relationship,&rdquo; Meg says. &ldquo;You know I love you very much. But the way that our parents love us, I&rsquo;m excited to experience that love for somebody that is uncontrollable and overwhelming. I already feel it a little bit but I can&rsquo;t wait to meet the person.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We hope we do a good job,&rdquo; Bobby adds.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m confident we can do it,&rdquo; Meg says.</p><p>&ldquo;I am too.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 11:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/young-couple-prepares-birth-their-first-child-110958