Story-telling For Dads

The stories abound. More than ever, people are preserving their conversations for posterity. In some cases, their voices form a collective narrative for an achievement, tragedy, or memorable event.

StoryCorps facilitates oral history documentation, that is, they want people to record their stories and shared experiences. Each week NPR selects a portion of one recorded interview for broadcast; all others are archived at The Library of Congress.

In 2007, I interviewed Ronaldo Brunet at StoryCorps’ Grand Central booth which has since closed. At a mutual friend’s father’s wake, I spoke with my friend and colleague, Lisa Delsante about recording conversations with our fathers before they, well…art in heaven and have their names hallowed. We eventually set a date for mid-August. A risky proposition perhaps, to bring our fathers together (Mario DiCrocco and Joe Delsante) who had never met and were unclear what this interview idea was all about.

Lisa wanted to cover her father’s days prior to getting married, his time growing up on the Lower East Side and later joining the police department. With my father’s recent retirement, I would talk exclusively about his long career at the Staten Island Advance, the daily newspaper of the borough.

After riding the ferry in together, the five of us (Lisa’s husband Joel included) took the R train to City Hall, headed to the Foley Square StoryCorps booth [now defunct] and made our interviews. Lisa and her father found their time passed very quickly. My father felt the same and that can only be a good thing when you interview someone. Conversations to be continued.

Dinner was appropriately in Little Italy at Il Cortile. Afterwards, Mr. DiCrocco, 72, and Mr. Delsante, 83, welcomed the early evening trek on a humid summer eve from Mulberry Street down to the Staten Island Ferry back to their favorite island.