I believe that stories matter: to family, friends, and even strangers. And that physical objects--photographs, letters, cards, clothing, furniture, even a house--tell stories.
I had just graduated with an M.A. in Journalism and was working in a library. I love research! How could I combine my background and passions?
I know that many people don’t have the ability to talk with loved ones before they pass on, or are prohibited by time or location. The hardest part for me about losing family and friends is knowing that future generations will never meet them. What a wonderful gift that I can share with my young son: the voice and stories of his grandmother.
This is one of the reasons that I was compelled to write two memoirs in poetry (Completing the Circle: A Son’s Memoir and Inheriting Weight: New Work, 2004-2008), which detail the effects of my mother’s illness and death. I also have been honored to do a life-course interview with one of the first black nurses in Detroit. And I did a series of interviews with students of the last school in Pennsylvania to desegregate. Powerful stories, let me tell you!
Along the way, I have worked and interned at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, the Dickinson College Special Collections, and the University of California, Los Angeles, University Archives. And I have produced long-form radio pieces in the U.S. and South African, and hosted an online radio show on renewable energy. More recently, I have been a middle and high school librarian.
What are your stories? What are the stories of your loved ones?
I hope that our stories intertwine sometime soon.
Thanks for reading (and listening),
David A. Kates, M.A., M.L.I.S.