StoryCorps is in Boise, and many people are taking part to preserve their histories

tcummings@idahostatesman.comJune 22, 2013 

When Joell Brown's mother passed away, she realized she had no recordings of her mother's voice save a few voicemails.

"Not having her voice is more impactful than I realized," Brown said.

While Brown saves her mother's voice on a phone, she wanted to leave something more for her daughter, Rylie.

That's why Brown and her daughter recorded a Story-Corps oral history in Boise on Wednesday. StoryCorps, a program dedicated to helping Americans record and preserve their stories, is at Boise City Hall until July 6.

Participants receive a CD recording and a copy of their interview is put in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

"I wanted to capture that with my daughter," Brown said. "And just to talk about our family and history and share with her how special she is to me."

Many others want to share as well. There is currently a waiting list.

E.J. Silvers, 97, went to StoryCorps at the urging of his son-in-law William Brudenell.

"I haven't been recording anything at my age," Silvers said. "I'm 97 years old, but I got a good brain."

And great stories.

When he was 4 years old, Silvers sang at the Pennsylvania Hotel in New York City and even appeared in a movie.

Now, more than nine decades later, Silvers is still perfecting his musical talents. In 1994, Silvers started playing the organ and later recorded his musical talent for his family.

Dawn Hughes, 50, wanted to explain the "simpler time" in which she grew up to her three daughters. For Hughes, technology has been the biggest agent in complicating life. Growing up in the 1960s and '70s, the Internet didn't exist and technology wasn't as sophisticated, making life, well, simpler.

Her middle daughter, Lauren, 21, got the first chance to hear her mom's story.

"When she told me about the idea I was so excited," Lauren said. "I love history and I love the idea that you can record interactions like that."

Hughes plans to make copies of the recording for all three daughters to share with their families.

"If their children have any questions about what it was like for me in my life, things that I want to be remembered for, that type of thing, then they'll be able to have it," Hughes said.

"Just sort of as a family archive."

To make a reservation or get on the waiting list, call 1-800-850-4406 or go to storycorps.org.

StoryCorps suggests a $25 donation for each interview to help pay for operating costs. However, participants who can't afford the donation won't be turned away.

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