Our audio engineer, David Fender, took this photo of his grandmother, Ruby Fender, in August 2003. She used to teach in this one-room country schoolhouse that's currently located in Sidney, Iowa.

 

Maybe your family has a post-Thanksgiving tradition: shopping, heading to the movies, going on a hike. The folks at StoryCorps hope their tradition takes hold too. They’ve named the day after Thanksgiving "The National Day of Listening." The idea is to spend an hour interviewing someone you love and hopefully record the conversation. A few of us here at CPR have done this, including our audio engineer, David Fender. He recorded his 84-year-old grandmother Ruby sharing her best stories.  

Ruby Fender: We used to trap gophers and groundhogs and they’d give us spending money.  We’d get ten cents for each gopher and twenty five cents for each groundhog.

Back in the 1930s in Iowa’s Fremont County paid people to kill groundhogs. The young Ruby Fender took advantage of the deal.  

Ruby Fender: After we’d trapped the gopher and kill it we’d cut the front feet off.  That’s all they would pay for.  But the groundhog they paid for the scalp.  We got a quarter for them! 

 

Recording an interview is easier than you think. You can even use electronics you already have, like a computer or a cell phone. For a link to recording advice and suggestions for questions visit the National Day of Listening website.