Compiled By: PRX Administrator
Stories about the importance of friendship — in any relationship.
Rob Sanchez and his friend Felix Aponte, who both served time at Sing Sing Penitentiary, talk about Rob's diagnosis with an aggressive form of kidney disease.
Rob Sanchez and Felix Aponte had both served time at Sing Sing Penitentiary, but only met each other when they had both been released. They soon struck up a friendship, and when Rob was diagnosed with an aggressive form of kidney disease, Felix offered to be a donor. Here, the two men remember that time.
Cactus Car Wash owner Frank Lynch talks with his employee and friend, Antonio Douglas, about helping him get in shape.
Antonio Douglas, 45, has struggled with his weight for years. In 2007, he underwent gastric bypass surgery to help lose some of his excess weight. After his recovery from the surgery, Douglas returned to work at the Cactus Car Wash, where he was the regional manager. 71-year old Frank Lynch, the owner of the Cactus Car Wash and a friend of Antonio's had been bugging Douglas about his weight long before his surgery. Concerned about Douglas' health, Frank Lynch challenged Antonio to stay in shape.
Here, the two men remember Lynch's challenge to Douglas.
Tim Russert interviews fellow Buffalo-native, James T. Molloy, retired doorkeeper of the U.S. House of Representatives.
TV journalist Tim Russert made a name for himself with interviews of politicians and heads of state. But Russert, of Buffalo, N.Y., also embraced the stories of everyday Americans. In 2005, Russert interviewed James T. Molloy, a fellow Buffalo native living in Washington, as the StoryCorps oral history project launched its MobileBooths. Molloy was a second-generation firefighter before becoming the doorkeeper of the House of Representatives.
Wydenia Perry and Essie Gregory, who have visited over 125 countries together, talk about their travels.
Wydenia Perry (WHY-deen-yah) and Essie Gregory (ESS-ee) of Harlem, New York, talk about their long history as traveling companions across continents. Perry and Gregory, who met 32 years ago, just reached their goal of visiting all seven continents.
Melissa Wilbur and her sister Janaki (John-nick-ee) Symon remember growing up together.
Melissa Wilbur and Janaki (John-nick-ee) Symon, both in their 60s, are close. But the sisters' childhood relationship was very different. Melissa says she "never particularly" liked her younger sister. "I just hated you," Janaki says. "There wasn't anything about you that I could stand." But something happened to finally bring them together. "I remember exactly the moment that I fell in love with you," Janaki says. "You put your arm around me, and you gave me this spontaneous hug and kiss. I went, 'Oh, my God.' It was as if the last barrier between us was gone."
Master quilter Geraldine Nash talks to her former math teacher, Gustina Atlas, who is now her quilting student, about their friendship.
Gustina Atlas or "Miss G" as she's known was Geraldine Nash's high school math teacher more than 30 years ago. Today, their roles have reversed, and their relationship has outgrown the classroom. Nash is now a master quilter, and Miss G has become her student. The two talk about how their unlikely friendship forged out of a mutual fervor for quilting. Gustina Atlas starts their conversation.
Debra Goodman interviews her friend Ed Trinka, a doorman at the Plaza Hotel since 1963.
The Plaza Hotel first opened its doors at the foot of Central Park 100 years ago this week. For 45 of those years, Plaza doorman Ed Trinka has greeted hotel guests and passers-by. That's how Debra Goodman met him. They struck up a friendship, and she brought him to StoryCorps to talk about working at one of New York's iconic landmarks for nearly half a century.
Brian Delate tells his daughter, Tirsa, about serving during the Vietnam War.
Many soldiers say that the friendships forged during times of war are priceless. For Brian Delate, a veteran of the Vietnam War, saying goodbye to one of his wartime buddies came after the fighting ceased. At the StoryCorps booth in Grand Central Terminal, Brian spoke to his teenage daughter, Tirsa, who had some questions about her father's service in Vietnam.
Bob Carberry (L) and John Cullen (R) remember their fellow firefighter, Lieutenant Steven Bates, who died on September 11, 2001.
His friends remember Steven Bates as a big man who was tough on the outside and soft on the inside. A lieutenant with Engine Company 235 in Brooklyn, Bates was an 18-year veteran of the New York Fire Department when he died Sept. 11, 2001. Bob Carberry and John Cullen -- also lieutenants with the department -- remember spending time with their friend on and off the job.
Robbie Cronig [CROW-nig], 89, who grew up working in his family's market, remembers selling it to his friend Steve Bernier [BUR-nee-UR], 59.
Robbie Cronig's father and uncles opened Cronig's Market in 1917. Robbie Cronig started working at the store when he was just a boy. Decades later, he owned it. And many years later, he sold his family's business to Steve Bernier. Bernier says that shortly after he met Cronig, they discussed him buying the store. "You slapped the keys in my hand and you said, 'Someday you're going to own this place,'" Bernier recalls. The sale was finalized in 1986, "And from there on in we became the best of friends," Cronig recalls. After the sale, Cronig kept a set of keys to the market and continued to work there until about 10 years ago. Bernier says that if it weren't for his friend's health, he'd still be working there today.
Ky-Antre Compton speaks with Stuart Chittenden, his mentor from Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Ky-Antre [key-ON-tray] Compton, 11, and Stuart Chittenden [CHIT-in-den], 38, met through the youth mentoring program Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Compton remembers, "When I first met you, I thought this was going to be so boring, that this was going to ruin my whole summer, my whole life," But their relationship grew, and after one year of friendship, there is no end in sight.
Otis Wade remembers Mandred Henry, in an interview with Mandred's granddaughter, Beatrice Perron.
Beatrice Perron lost her grandfather, Mandred Henry, to heart disease earlier this year. The day before his funeral, Perron came to StoryCorps with her grandfather's oldest friend -- Otis Wade. Wade shares his remembrances of their friendship, which lasted more than 60 years. They were like the brothers each never had, Wade says. "We adopted one another," he adds. Wade said he'll miss their closeness most of all. "I've had family members that died. This is the first time I lost a friend, and a greater part of me is gone."
Judge Joe Pigott [PIE-gut] tells his wife, Lorraine, about Willie Earl "Pip" Dow, a man he sentenced many times.
Judge Joe Pigott [PIE-gut] served nearly two decades on the bench in Jackson, Miss. But he says no defendant confounded him more than the man nicknamed "Pip" -- otherwise known as the late Willie Earl Dow, whose exploits often landed him in Pigott's courtroom. Recalling those days with his wife, Lorraine, Pigott said that Dow had two bad habits: drinking, and stealing in order to support his drinking. "You didn't have to try him, he always pled guilty," Pigott said. "And he was a likable person." Pigott recalls seeing Dow at the time of his retirement, in a courtroom ceremony. Pigott remembers Dow saying, "I heard they were going to hang Judge Pigott at the courtroom, and so, I didn't want to miss that." "Sometimes you make friends in strange ways," Pigott says.
Cathy Resmer talks to her friend Jules Fishelman about their unique family.
As she washed the dishes one night, Cathy Resmer asked her friend Jules Fishelman a direct, but unexpected, question: "Would you like to be our sperm donor?" For Resmer, the request stemmed from her relationship with Ann-Elise Johnson; the couple were joined in a civil union in 2000. Soon after, the topic of having children came up. As Resmer recalls, she wanted a known donor. "If you've ever seen Star Wars, for example, you know that the whole trilogy is about Luke and his search for his father," she says. "You wanted to make sure his father was not Darth Vader," Fishelman says. "I did." Those ideas, along with an admiration for Fishelman, led to Resmer and Johnson having a son, Graham Resmer. As Resmer told Fishelman recently, "You're the kind of person that we want our child to grow into." Aside from the obvious honor of being asked to be his friends' donor, Fishelman experienced another benefit: The two set him up with Rachel Siegel, whom he later married -- and with whom he now has a child, Ira Siegel. As Fishelman says, "It totally blows away the image of family -- but it's family, nonetheless."
Edwin Lanier [La-NEAR] Jr., who is homeless, to his friend David Wright
Edwin Lanier [La-NEAR] has been sober for more than 5 years. But, as Lanier told his friend David Wright recently, he drank for most of his life -- and nearly drank himself to death. That was the prognosis that Lanier, now 60, got from a doctor after receiving his 28th treatment for alcoholism. As a young boy Lanier had been told by his father that alcoholism ran in their family. Back then, Lanier was known as "Little Mayor" -- his father was a two-term mayor of Chapel Hill, N.C. "I'm an alcoholic just waiting for the first drink," his father told him. "And I refuse to take it." Lanier said he would keep it in mind. But soon after, some college kids offered him and a friend a drink. Lanier accepted, and drank for more than 40 years. Lanier and Wright met on an exit ramp where Lanier stood holding a sign that read, "Homeless. Anything will help. God bless." Wright handed Lanier a $2 bill and a can of tuna fish every time he passed by. Wright and his wife eventually took Lanier in, giving him a shower and clean clothes, and a place to start over. Five years later, Lanier and Wright are remain good friends. But he's still homeless -- by choice, he says.
May Herlands [HER-lands] interviews her friend of 59 years, Sheila Lepelstat [LEP-il-stat]
Back in 1947, Sheila Lepelstat [LEP-il-stat] and May Herlands [HER-lands] made a connection that has never been broken. They grew up near each other in the Bronx and have remained friends for nearly sixty years. May remembers back to her troubled childhood and teenage misadventures with Sheila. Asked what she did for fun in those days, Herlands says, "I taught you how to smoke, forced you to smoke." "You went out to California to see your father, and you came back home with flaming red hair, at 15, and smoking," Lepelstat says. "And I thought, this was the best thing that ever happened to anybody." This conversation was recorded at StoryCorps in New York, New York.
House painters Catherine Combs and Anne Garde talk about their friendship
Ralph Tremonte [Tra-MONT-ee] (right) and Donald Weiss (left), who grew up together in a psychiatric hospital, reunite after 40 years.
Jesus Papoleto Melendez remembers Nuyorican poet Pedro Pietri's final moments in an air ambulance from Tijuana in 2004.