SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Everybody has a story and the Suffolk Public Library wants to hear yours. They’ve launched an oral history project to collect true stories from people about their own experiences in the city.
Breanne Presson recorded her memories for the project. To her, former Governor Mills Godwin was just the nice old man at church who always had candy and when she looks at King’s Fork High School, she sees what was once her family’s farmland.
“For me, that’s sad. I like to see Suffolk country and I like to see all the beautiful land,” she told WAVY.com.
Suffolk is changing fast. That’s why Library Outreach and Program Services Manager Megan Mulvey says, “We’re interested in capturing slices of life from Suffolk.”
Mulvey has found that to be a bit of a challenge.
“We do have some hesitancy in the community because people don’t think they have a story to tell.”
But once she gets them talking, the stories write themselves.
A woman named Rocheilla described picking cotton for cash to spend at the fair.
“By the end of the day, my grandfather was yelling at my brother and I, telling us we were the laziest youngins’ he had ever seen,” she chuckled.
She earned five cents that day.
“Those were the best summers in the whole wide world,” she said.
The library has captured 17 recordings so far from artists, the LGBTQ community and a man named Joe, who lived on the streets for 11 years, but feels at home in his church. He was moved to sing a hymn in his recording.
“That was really interesting and kind of touching, actually,” Mulvaney said.
You never know what you’ll hear and that’s the point: Preserving individual stories to create a collective history.
You can hear the recording on the Suffolk Library website, where you an also find information on how you can record your own story. They will also be recording at public events; the next is Dogs Days of Suffolk on July 22.