Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful passenger in town on business. I ended up facebooking about the encounter because he’d shared this wonderful love story with me about how he met his wife. And, given the fact that years ago I started a blog called Archaeologist of Love (because I DIG love stories!), I knew I had to share this one with some folks in an uber-fascinating FB post:
Well, I thought about that story all evening, and how much it reminded me of the stories I’ve listened to on StoryCorps, America’s premiere oral history initiative and ongoing recording project. Founded in 2003, StoryCorps gives Americans of all diverse backgrounds the opportunity to visit a mobile production booth and record a conversation with a loved one. The nutshell premise is, If you only had 40 minutes left to speak with this person, what would you share with them? From that interview StoryCorps edits the conversation into an online audio clip, and some are even visually animated. Hundreds of thousands of interviews have been recorded and are preserved through the archives at the Library of Congress. Natural storyteller that I am, it is literally one of my dreams to go and work with StoryCorps! Rivaling the story of Danny and Annie, and so many others I’ve listened to over the years on their website and YouTube, this guy and his wife’s meet cute was one for the ages. I’d like to hope that one day when they’re home in America on holiday, they will narrate their story at one of the StoryCorps recording booths.
All of this reminded me that four years ago the founder of StoryCorps, Dave Isay, published a collection of short narratives, All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorps, which was released on Valentine’s Day 2012. I’d always wanted to read it, so the next morning, still high off of the Uberlicious love story from my passenger, I decided to go and check the book out at the Brooklyn Public Library. A really easy read, I took a couple of days to savor each interview given by couple after delightful couple relaying the precious details of romantic love found in their partner. The wisdom of what their marriages have meant to them over the years is priceless. Many of the interviewees were widows or widowers and spoke to other loved ones about their dearly departed spouse or partner. Other couples reminisced about knowing in such a short amount of time that they had something to hold onto, and married within days or weeks of meeting one another. And others talked about meeting and falling in love, only to marry someone else altogether, divorce that person, and reconnect with their original love later in life. One of my favorite stories, which I’d already listened to on the StoryCorps website and hoped was in the collection, was of Pepper and Ron, who had married in their mid-30s, divorced after eight years, and remarried five years later after realizing that they truly did want to build on the love they shared. A few pages later unfolds the tale of a woman who, in her late 30s, had resigned herself to the independent, single life accepting that she’d likely never marry. But then she met the love of her life at a conference and within the year, I believe was the timeframe, she asked him to marry her. The most heart (and gut) wrenching part was to read about Sean Rooney’s last phone call to his wife Beverly Eckert while being trapped in the World Trade Center south tower (three years later, she would also die in a plane crash after spending years as a 9/11 commission advocate and truth seeker). The way she describes their final thirty minutes together, as she listened to him endure the heat and smoke while stuck on the 105th floor, and that she was an actual ear-witness to the tower collapsing was almost too much to read. But, it was the most memorable story in the book. And the bottom line was still how love prevails, even until the end.
I’m so grateful for stories like these, and that I get to collect so many of my own while talking with my Uber passengers from time to time. The passenger that shared with me how he met his wife wasn’t the first time someone has shared a love story with me. I think, given my aura and willingness to be fully engaged in conversations about love, I attract these types of rides. I don’t know if I’ll ever get around to actually recording any of our conversations, as I feel like there’s a measure of privacy and anonymity that comes with taking a private car to your destination. But, far be it for me to keep SECRET the wonderful and uberlicious stories that someone shares with me, even if I never see them again! I really DIG love stories!! And I celebrate it everyday.