Final Update on StoryCorps Unalaska!

Our "homemade" sign by the lovely Kristine.
Our "homemade" sign by the lovely Kristine.

Well, the Alaska Initiative of StoryCorps has officially ended.  Our equipment is boxed up, ready for shipment, and we are finishing up the paperwork that needs to accompany the last recordings.  A little snafu with the mailing – apparently for the way we want to mail the boxes, we should have used paper tape instead of reinforced tape.  Well…I am sure Kristine will get to the bottom of this!

We recorded 119 stories in Unalaska and Akutan.  That was 14 more than our official quota of 105.  When Kristine and I were first training, we thought that 105 was a number that we would surpass in a matter of weeks!  How wrong we were.  I have to give credit to my partner – the best – Kristine King – for her tenacity in enticing folks into the recording seats – week after week and month after month. 

The one and only!
The one and only!

We want to give a big thank you to KUCB, our partner in crime, who agreed to accept local recordings for editing and broadcast.  We thank the director and staff of the Unalaska City Library, for agreeing to be a local repository for the recordings, and for allowing us to use the Alaskana Room, on occasion, for recordings.  We are thankful for all of the help from April Pelkey and Darryl Pelkey in setting up our recordings in Akutan.  A huge THANK YOU to the groups who allowed us access and use of the AA room at the Burma Road Chapel.  Without your generousity of the use of the site, our goals would have been much harder to obtain.  We appreciate each and every minute that we spent there.  (Can you believe that on the last night of recording, we ran behind schedule, and actually were still there recording when our time ran out?  And we had such a perfect record!)  The use of the room was also a surprise icebreaker, as folks peeked their heads in the door, expecting an impromtu intervention.  Thanks for the laughs and the thought provoking decor.

MS

We thank our families for allowing us the freedom to take on this important project.  Especially, kids, grandkids, and husbands.  We thank our families, also, for those guilt and pity recordings that helped get us off to a great start!!  We thank Dave Isay and all of the staff at StoryCorps for hiring and working with us…yes we know we were a little unorthodox, but we can blame that on me and my bad influence on Kristine!  We met some incredible people through this project.  A huge shout out and thanks to the Unalaska blogging community for taking on the StoryCorps challenge early on in the project!

Last, and certainly not least, we thank each storyteller and their partner for braving the unknown and facing those obnoxious, intimidating microphones!  Thanks also for allowing Kristine and I the opportunity to get to know you a little better.  The tag line for StoryCorps is that listening is an act of love, and I have to say that our bonds to this community are even stronger (as if they weren’t strong before) for having been given your gifts of stories.

Kristine King, the strongarm, and Sharon Svarny-Livingston, the databaser.

tell your story. pass it on.

Kristine setting up for the StoryCorps Kick-off.
Kristine setting up for the StoryCorps Kick-off.

Since 2003, more than 35,000 everday people have shared life stories with family and friends in StoryCorps booths across the nation.  With a generous donation from an anonymous source, the Alaska Initiative has  made it possible for you to participate in one of the largest oral history projects undertaken.  The generous donor chose Unalaska, Dillingham, Nome, and Barrow to host facilitators.  Fairbanks and Juneau will also be documented by the facilitators from the 4 towns.

Meet your Unalaska facilitators.

Kristine King and Sharon Svarny-Livingston.
Kristine King and Sharon Svarny-Livingston.

This is a throwdown to all Unalaska bloggers and blog followers to pick up that phone and call Kristine at 359-8016 to schedule an appointment for your story.  The Real Unalaska has already conversed with her sister.  And word on the street is that she is bringing her cousin in on Saturday!

What happens at StoryCorps,  you ask?  alena-paperworklaresa-paperworkYou come in with a friend or family member.  You fill out paperwork so that we can create a great database for your story.  You have a 40 minute conversation with your partner about whatever you want to talk about.  We record.

Sharon checks the  mics before recording Sam & Caleb.
Sharon checks the mics before recording Sam & Caleb.

We ask you to sign a release so your story can be archived at the Library of Congress, the University of Alaska, and also locally, both at KUCB, and either the Library or the Museum;  the release also allows NPR, APRN, and KUCB to edit the recordings for short stories to air.  We take your picture to archive with the CD.  We present you with a professional recording of your story.  It takes about an hour.zoya-and-sharon

Alena and Laresa talked about their art and growing up in Unalaska.  Sam talked to his son-in-law, Caleb, about being a veteran of 3 wars.  And although Zoya was totally tricked into coming in for a conversation with me, she had a great time and is very glad to have participated because she has something tangible to give to her children that tells them, perhaps, some things about her that they haven’t talked about.

tell your story.  pass it on.  it’s free!