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There's No Place Like Home

This group of storytellers has been meeting weekly on Fridays for several years now. It has been an immense pleasure to get to know each and every participant and watch as friendships blossomed over the months. Though everyone comes from vastly different places across the United States, we come together and find commonalities through storytelling. In this collection of audio stories, we explore the theme of community and finding a space that feels like "home." Wanda shares about places--and a special person--in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bed Stuy that feel like home to her. Wayne shares about finding his community at the FBI Academy and Malang shares about finding hers at the Art Student's League. And Beverly tells us how she makes a house a home through gardening and making her space a little bit more beautiful. We hope you enjoy listening along with us. Thank you!

My Time in the FBI Academy

Wayne J.

I dedicate this story to Life Story Club and the Brooklyn Public Library.

I am a retired police officer with over 40 years of experience. He’s been trained as a police sergeant, a watch commander, hostage negotiator, and a crisis negotiator, a police coach for recruits. I was part of a DUI task force for drunk drivers throughout my time as a Police Officer.

I dedicate this story to Life Story Club and the Brooklyn Public Library...

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A Space for Artists

Malang S.

I dedicate this story to the Art Student’s League because it’s a wonderful organization and anyone who has a chance to read about it should read about it.

My name is Malang, and I’m from Brooklyn, New York. Today I want to talk about the community that I was involved with when I my husband and I moved to New York City. Both of us went to an art school, and that’s where we met, at the Rhode Island School Design.

I dedicate this story to the Art Student's League because it's a wonderful organization and anyone who has a chance to read about it should read about it...

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Green Spaces, Places of Second Bases, and Love Traces

Wanda D.

This heartfelt story is dedicated to my late husband in fond memory of our outdoor experiences, especially during summertime.

I, Wanda, am a mother, grandmother, and longtime resident of Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy community. My creative passions include writing, collages, storytelling, book art, found object art, and sharing. I am also a retiree who works part-time with older adult programs and communities.

My longest love-at-first-sight crush was borne at a Saturday evening gospel concert at MJBC, a small Black Baptist church in Brooklyn, New York. The sound of drums, guitars, keyboard, amplifiers, hand clapping, foot stomping, and soul-stirring call and response singing filled the sanctuary. It was there that the spirit of the tenor voice swept over me like a mighty rushing wind. And for three years I chased that tenor before it whistled in my right eardrum and fluttered my soul again, but a cappella style. Five natural voices releasing four-part harmony that soared through sanctuaries like a symphony of nightingale, robin, cockatoo, sparrow, and canary soaring through air.

So it was within the four walls of local churches where the seed of community, friendship and love was planted in my spiritual garden. But it was beyond those walls and within Brooklyn green spaces, namely local parks like Harriet Tubman, Herbert Von King, Prospect, and Lincoln Terrace where my crush crystalized into a long term romance nourished by sunshine and rain in my secret social garden. Oh, if objects could talk!

Park benches would tell of a love that felt not the discomfort of hard wooden slats and splinters in moments when lovebirds sat and smooched. But blankets would tell of pocket flashlight flickering below as one lover squeezed tweezer and gently removed fragment of park bench from lover’s backsides.

Crushes have added so much joy to my life but like sunrise and sunset they too eventually melted away as evidenced by my longest love-at-first-sight crush, now resting 6-feet deep beneath solemn green space.

So I now go to Herbert Von King Park again but without blanket, sit on bench without splinter, and entice my new crush—pineapple, tamarind, ginger, and coconut snow cone made specially for me by the tall snow cone man standing near a fence midway the park.

This heartfelt story is dedicated to my late husband in fond memory of our outdoor experiences, especially during summertime...

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Home is a Garden

Beverly D.

I dedicate my story to the memory of my mother-in-law, who is my floral mentor of those 40 years. 

I am currently living in New Hampshire where the majority of the local residents have also moved from some other state.
That puts us all on equal footing. While living in New York for the last 40 years, I sailed the Hudson River. I now sail from garden to garden mentoring middle school-aged youth.

“Golden rays of the sunrise stream through my windows. A neighbor’s rooster crows unceasingly as he struts back and forth. The birds join in chirping an hour later. The house retains the sun’s warmth. Summer temperatures are toying with the idea of sticking around but cool nights happen.”

“Wait until Memorial Day to permanently plant outside gardens” is the advice given to residents in the New England states. Beware: any vegetation purchased in early May still needs covering on nights predicted with below freezing temperatures. Arranged temporarily in their anticipated locations, the newly acquired perennials await their permanent assignments. Scallions, Egyptian onions and chives command the northeast corner. White and pink shade plants contrasting with the dark maroon house paint will outline the west facing facade. Ascending wooden steps on the south side are currently lined with pots brimming with an abundance of herbs – greeting you when arriving for a visit.

As they increase in height a casual brush of a passing hand will deposit plant oils, that – when sniffed – transports the receiver to heavenly heights. While passing the chocolate mint and lemon balm, say hello to parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Please come and linger amongst my fragrant companions.

I dedicate my story to the memory of my mother in law, who is my floral mentor of those 40 years...

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