NPR StoryCorps

Yelitza Castro, an undocumented immigrant who works as a housekeeper in Charlotte, N.C., cooks dinners for homeless men and women every other Saturday night. It's a tradition that started after she and her children spotted a man standing in the rain on a cold day with a sign asking for help.

Yelitza gave the man $5, she recalls, but her children wanted to take him out to dinner. She turned around to go back, but he was already gone.

"And we were thinking we have to do something," she says.

Three years ago, Maria Vasquez-Rojas received news to celebrate: After many attempts to conceive, she was going to have a baby. But while pregnant with her daughter, Ellie, Maria was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer.

"If I had not gone in for that ultrasound they would have never caught it. [Ellie] saved my life," Maria tells her brother, Francisco Vasquez, on a visit to StoryCorps in Los Angeles.

It was 1966, and a ship called the Daniel J. Morrell was making its last run of the season, hauling steel across Lake Huron. The crew was eager to head home for Christmas. But one night, caught in a severe storm, the ship broke apart and sank.

Only a few of the crew members made it to a life raft, and only one of them, watchman Dennis Hale, survived.

Friday is the National Day of Listening, a chance to sit down with a loved one, turn on an audio recorder and ask that person about his or her life. NPR's Nina Totenberg chose to talk with her husband about how they first met — and then found one another again years later.

You can find tips on how to record your conversation at nationaldayoflistening.org.

Friday is the National Day of Listening, a chance to sit down with a loved one, turn on an audio recorder and ask that person about his or her life. You can find tips on how to record your conversation at nationaldayoflistening.org.

When Rogelio Martinez enrolled in Lisa Moya King's dance class in high school, his father had been deported. Rogelio was bouncing around among family members — and he was being abused.

Friday is the National Day of Listening, a chance to sit down with a loved one, turn on an audio recorder and ask that person about his or her life. You can find tips on how to record your conversation at nationaldayoflistening.org.

When Morning Edition host Renee Montagne thinks of her longtime producer Jim Wildman, she goes back several years to their reporting adventures in Afghanistan.

Remembering When A Teacher Had His Back

Nov 24, 2013

Friday is the National Day of Listening, a chance to sit down with a loved one, turn on a tape recorder and ask that person about his or her life. NPR's Mike Pesca chose to talk with one of his middle school teachers about lessons they learned from each other.

You can find tips on how to record your conversation at nationaldayoflistening.org.

On Nov. 22, 1963, ambulance driver Aubrey Rike and his assistant, Dennis "Peanuts" McGuire, just happened to be on a call at Parkland Memorial Hospital when President John F. Kennedy was brought in.

Laura Lane met Paquita Williams, a New York City subway conductor, when their train was stopped underground for two hours. Generally, Paquita says, most passengers are nice, but "there's times if the train breaks down, people think that's my fault."

In June 2008, Marine Cpl. Anthony Villarreal was driving back from a mission in Afghanistan when his truck was hit by a roadside bomb. He was 22 at the time and recently married to Jessica, who was just 21.

Villarreal suffered third-degree burns over most of his face and body and was very severely disfigured. His right arm and the fingers on his left hand eventually had to be amputated.

Ten days after a court verdict found a man guilty of sexual assault, two of his victims — his 14- and 15-year-old nieces — stepped into a StoryCorps booth.

"He was a police officer," the older sister said. "This big SWAT man with all the badges and the uniforms, and he couldn't keep his hands to himself. He sexually assaulted me when no one was around. I felt like I was on pause my whole childhood. A prisoner — dead. And I didn't say a word to anybody for seven years."

Audio produced for Morning Edition by Katie Simon with Jud Esty-Kendall.

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