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This week’s story from StoryCorps' One Small Step - Tampa Bay focuses on two people of different generations and different backgrounds.

Paul Mott (l) and Brad Pupello participated in One Small Step, a project WUSF produced in partnership with StoryCorps. It brings two people of differing political backgrounds together for civil conversation.
Andy Lalino / WUSF Public Media

Over the next few weeks, WUSF will be sharing stories produced for One Small Step, the latest project from StoryCorps. Each segment features two strangers, with completely different political beliefs, sitting down together and having a conversation. 

Tom Gasko loves vacuum cleaners. He not only repairs them, he has a collection of hundreds of vintage and modern models, which are on display in a museum and repair shop in Rolla, Mo.

His fascination with vacuum cleaners began early. It started when he was a toddler, with his mother's Rainbow cleaner. At 6, he began repairing his neighbors' broken vacuums.

Rick Rosenthal has been a year-round Santa for nearly seven years — maybe no surprise given his jolly demeanor and bushy white beard. What sets this Santa apart is something entirely different: his Orthodox Jewish faith.

Rosenthal has traveled the world for Santa events and has participated in television commercials, parades, trade shows, tree lightings and parties. He even runs a school for aspiring Santas. In a recent interview with StoryCorps, he sits down with his old friend and mentee Adam Roseman to talk about how he discovered his unexpected calling.

Brothers Russell, 28, and Remmick Wadsworth, 27, have autism. As kids, they had trouble with social interactions, so they often relied on each other for support during tough situations. Now, as the siblings navigate the working world, they're still looking out for each other.

Remmick remembers his first job, working with his older brother in a coffee shop. "You would always have my back, talking to customers for me, handle them for me while I make their drinks," he tells Russell during a StoryCorps conversation.

His is not just a gentle voice; for many people, it's a very familiar one, too. For 25 years, Francois Clemmons played a role on the beloved children's program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Clemmons joined the cast of the show in 1968, becoming the first African-American to have a recurring role on a kids TV series.

And, as it happens, it was Clemmons' voice that Fred Rogers noticed, too, when he heard Clemmons singing in church.

Here's a special treat for Christmas: StoryCorps' 15 favorite stories of 2015, as chosen by StoryCorps Founder and President Dave Isay and Executive Producer Michael Garofalo.

Kay Wang — an admittedly stubborn woman — chatted with her son and granddaughter at StoryCorps a few weeks before she passed away from liver cancer. (This piece initially aired on July 18, 2008, on Morning Edition).

If you had one million dollars to fulfill a wish to change the world, what would you do? This is the question the winner of the annual TED Prize is asked to answer.

StoryCorps Tampa Bay: Stay for Awhile

Mar 16, 2015
StoryCorps

Marie Izzo and Bruce Blackburn the third met in college but they led separate lives. In this installment of Storycorps, Izzo tells her friend Lori Rosenthal about how she and her husband reconnected in their 30s when he was seriously ill. Izzo tells us it took love and hard work to give her husband another 15 years of life.

Music:

“Stay Awhile” by She & Him from the album, Classics.

This week's StoryCorps Tampa Bay was produced by Yoselis Ramos.

StoryCorps

In this installment of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, a mother and son discuss his homeschooling experience. Denise Ford had 10 children, some of which were homeschooled so she could incorporate religion into the curriculum.

Nykko Ford tells us about the benefits of being homeschooled and one thing in particular he learned that made his mom proud.

Music:

“Hall of Fame” by The Script featuring Will.i.am from the album, #3.

This week's StoryCorps Tampa Bay was produced by Yoselis Ramos.

StoryCorps Tampa Bay: "Cause You're a Girl'

Mar 2, 2015
StoryCorps

In this installment of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, Carol Albernathy talks about overcoming inconveniences and challenges in college and at law school because she was a woman. She attended Stetson University in the 1950s and later law school in the ‘70s.

  Carol Albernathy’s advice for women today is, “don’t put up with any crap."

Music:

“It's a Man's Man's World” by Etta James from the album, All the Way.

This week's StoryCorps Tampa Bay was produced by Yoselis Ramos.

StoryCorps Tampa Bay: Airport Karma

Feb 2, 2015
Storycorps

In this installment of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, married couple Victoria Hewitt and Donald Harvey tell the story of karma and one amazing flying experience.  While pregnant, Hewitt and her husband encountered a not-so-good traveler aboard their flight…which ended on a high note.

Music:

“From a Window Seat” by Dawes from the album, Stories Don’t End.

This week's StoryCorps Tampa Bay was produced by Yoselis Ramos.

StoryCorps Tampa Bay: A Love Between Cat, Prince

Jan 12, 2015
StoryCorps

In this installment of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, Mary and Lewis Key recall the first time they met at a Halloween Party. Mary dressed up as a cat while Lewis was in a Phantom of the Opera costume and he became her prince. The magic happened over a conversation about baseball. 

To cement their relationship, Mary and Lewis Key have a tradition of celebrating their love and marriage like many couples do on Valentine’s Day, but they don’t just celebrate in the month of February; they celebrate on the 14th of every month.

StoryCorps Tampa Bay is produced by Yoselis Ramos.

StoryCorps

  Dr. Samuel Wright had always been involved in cultural promotion and community affairs by creating a black heritage festival for Tampa Bay took his skills and vision to a whole new level.

In this installment of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, history buff Abby Connor sat down in the StoryCorps mobile booth to hear Dr. Wright talk about what it took to bring the festival to life.

This year's festival ramps up January 15th, for more information on the festival, click here.

Music:

StoryCorps

In this installment of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, Cleto “Sundy” Chazares, Principal of the Simmons Career Center in Plant City, tells his friend of 40 years, Ron Wardlow, of his dangerous journey from his tiny Mexican village to the Tampa Bay area and of the act of kindness that changed the direction of his life.

Music:
"Momento Mori" by Bexar Bexar from the album Haralambos

This week's StoryCorps Tampa Bay was produced by Marc Haze.

StoryCorps

In this installment of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, 23-year-old Kalima Haneef remembers her grandmother, Najiyyah Shaheed, with her uncle Shalaby Shaheed. 

Her grandmother went from dropping out of school at a young age to pick cotton in order to survive, to being the business owner of Shaheed’s African and Islamic Wear in St. Petersburg. She passed away in 2005 but she remains alive in her family’s hearts.

Kalima and Shalaby talk about Najiyyah Shaheed’s love for fashion, her African and Muslim culture, and the love she shared with those nearest her.

StoryCorps

In this week's edition of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, lifelong friends Debra Woodard and Arthurene Williams reminisce about growing up in the church and how that informed their careers as educators and child and family advocates in Pinellas County.

Music:
"It's Not Over...God Is In Control" by the Wilmington Chester Mass Choir, from the album God Is In Control

This week's StoryCorps Tampa Bay was produced by Lisa Peakes.

StoryCorps

Ruth Parrish has lived to be 94 years old. In her nine decades alive, she’s learned a few things.

In this edition of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, Ruth talks with her daughter Paula Parrish about life, lipstick, and how to be happy.

Music:
“When You Say You Love Me” by Josh Groban, from the album Closer

This week's StoryCorps Tampa Bay was produced by Yoselis Ramos.

StoryCorps

Gregory Porter brought his cousin Betty Harden to the StoryCorps Booth at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg to share her story.

Betty became a part of St. Pete history one June day in 1958 when she and her friends went swimming at Spa Beach, a place long protected by law as being for whites only.

Music:
“Blues Walk" -  Lou Donaldson

This week's StoryCorps Tampa Bay was produced by Marc Haze.

StoryCorps

Edgar Pickett Jr. was the first black police officer on the force in Lakeland, a job he held for over 29 years.

But there was one day 50 years ago his career was almost cut short.

He shared the story - along with other stories from his career and his life with his wife of 64 years - with his son, Edgar Pickett III, at the Story Corps mobile booth in St. Petersburg this past January.

Music:
“Sherlock (Extended Remix)" - Fluid Vibraphonic

This week's StoryCorps Tampa Bay was produced by Lisa Peakes.

StoryCorps

Michael Dalton has done many things in his life – he’s been a teacher, an engineer, and a business owner. But about 20 years ago he stumbled into a new passion: training parrots to speak. Dalton didn’t have much experience with animals, so he came up with a different method of talking with his blue macaw, Arielle.

In this edition of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, Dalton speaks with his wife, Patricia, about his unusual and unique work with Arielle.

Music:
“Rumble” by The Sonics from the album
The Savage Young Sonics

StoryCorps

Not every friendship starts on the set of a movie.

But that’s how Tampa teen Shelby Ronea and fellow actor Noah Diggs of St. Petersburg met. The pair was among the actors tapped for the Haley Joel Osment film, “Sex Ed,” filmed during the summer of 2013 in Tampa.  The film will be released on November 7th.

In this installment of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, the 15-year-olds talk with Shelby’s mom, Renea Elmore, about their love for performing and their hopes for the future.

StoryCorps

Every Monday, WUSF 89.7 presents Story Corps Tampa Bay, and this week’s story comes from a recording at the John F. Germany Public Library in Tampa as part of the “StoryCorps @ your library” series.

Today we meet two professional baseball players who played in the Negro Leagues in the 1940's, Clifford "Quack" Brown and Walter "Dirk" Gibbons. Both men grew up in Tampa and they sat down with their friend, Neil J. Armstrong, who asked about those colorful nicknames.

This week's StoryCorps Tampa Bay was produced by Marc Haze.

StoryCorps Tampa Bay: A Dream Realized

Sep 29, 2014
StoryCorps

Jose Manuel Godinez-Samperio came to the United States with his parents when he was 9 years old.

His parents overstayed their visas, and he lived the majority of his life in Tampa, where he would eventually become known as “a dreamer,” after the Obama administration enacted DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

StoryCorps

Christina Hoskin and Robert "Bob" Rogan are best friends and life partners - but it hasn’t always been that way. The two met in New Jersey while both were in previous marriages.

On this week's StoryCorps Tampa Bay, she says everything started to change on September 11th, 2001. Christina picks up the story that morning in the car with her husband, Dick.

Music:
“It Never Changes To Stop” by The Books from Lost and Safe

StoryCorps

Performers are often tasked with walking a thin line: how does someone express oneself while also embodying another character?

In this installment of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, playwright, director, and co-founder of St. Petersburg’s Studio@620, Bob Devin Jones, talks with one of his many mentees, Sharon Scott, about how they, as artists, can recognize each other at a deeper level, beyond the performance.

Music:
“This Little Light of Mine (live)” by Sam Cooke, Sam Cooke at the Copa

StoryCorps

In 1980, the Cuban government opened its doors, allowing people to leave the country in a mass exodus that would come to be known as the Mariel Boatlift. The country's economy had suffered a serious downturn, and political unrest and mass incarceration was making aspects of governance untenable.

The first wave of emigrants came when the Peruvian embassy allowed Cubans to exit under its banner.

StoryCorps

Lou and Lolita Brown are brother and sister, born about eight years apart - just a big enough separation to give them very different life experiences.

StoryCorps

Ronald Gregg has drummed nearly his entire life, playing with musicians all over the world and for the U.S. Army Band.

But it all had to start somewhere.

In this installment of Storycorps Tampa Bay, Ronald tells his wife Bette about how he first came to love percussion, and what he hopes his drumming legacy will be.

Music:
“El Capitan,” by US Navy Band & Lt. Comm. A. Mitchell, from Sweatin’ with Sousa
“The Duke,” by Dave Brubeck, from Dave Brubeck’s Greatest Hits

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