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Conversations from the StoryCorps Mobile Tour in Kalamazoo

Jack Perlstein
Bertha Bullen and Jim Kruse

Conversations were recorded in Kalamazoo July 6th through August 4th

Major life changing moments, childhood memories, challenging times and some light-hearted stories. They were all part of the StoryCorps Mobile Tour stop in Kalamazoo.

Below you can find links to some of the conversations recorded during the tour stop which ran from July 6th through August 4th.

Jodi Michaels and Leeanne Seaver
StoryCorps Mobile Tour
Jodi Michaels and Leeanne Seaver

Friends and colleagues Jodi Hope Michaels and Leeanne Seaver discuss their work with Global Ties Kalamazoo, reflecting on the importance of international exchange and how we can connect more deeply with one another.

Conversation partners Cesar Briones and Manuela Velasquez discuss answers to the question, “What is home?”

Channon Mondoux and Jodi Michaels come together to talk about Canadiana Fest, a festival that Channon is putting on in October 2023 to celebrate Canadian culture. Channon also reflects on the experiences that made her the person she is today and instilled in her a deep gratitude for her home country of Canada.

Friends Ben Brown and Chris Orsolini sit down to share stories of the food co-op where they both worked and how local and fresh food has continued to be important in both of their lives.

Humza Rahman interviews his friend and coworker Mike Watts about his time at Loaves & Fishes, his artistic explorations, and his many “sides.”

Kathy Purnell interviews her husband William Craft about a pivotal sports injury, his career in filmmaking, and the life lessons he has learned along the way.

Patrice Griffin and Ed Genesis
StoryCorps mobile tour
Patrice Griffin and Ed Genesis

Patrese Griffin speaks with her husband, Ed Genesis about where they each were in life when they first met, the work they have been able to do together since meeting, and how they balance helping others and taking care of themselves. Version aired on WMUK.

Spouses James Kruse and Bertha Bullen reflect on what they have learned as caretakers for loved ones with Alzheimer's disease and the work they do as support group facilitators for the Alzheimer's Association. Version aired on WMUK.

Amelia Hansen interviews friends Alfred Gemrich and Donna Keller about their friendship, their involvement with the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy, and the importance of land conservation.

Ashley Choker and Kat Sharp
StoryCorps Mobile Tour
Ashley Choker and Kat Sharp

Ashley Choker interviews her friend and colleague, Ngoc “Kat” Sharp about her challenges in life and her journey to recovery. Kat shares her experience dealing with addiction and homelessness, as well as her experience getting back on her feet again.

Good friends Maureen Mead and Jennifer Stubbs trade memories from their early twenties spent in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Mother and daughter Stephenie Klingler and Mackenzie Hatfield talk about their fathers and loss, trading memories about Mackenzie’s late father Carter Hatfield and Stephenie’s father Robert Tebo.

Sisters Betty Brown-Chappell and Gail Patterson-Gladney trade memories from growing up on a farm near Bangor, Michigan with six other siblings. They reflect on what it was like for their family to navigate being one of the only African American families in the area. They also talk about Gail's roles as the first African American woman on both the South Haven City Council and the Van Buren County Board of Commissioners.

Friends and coworkers Ashley Clark and Shymeria Stone sit down to chat about their work at Loaves & Fishes and get to know each other a little better.

Friends and old coworkers Renee Kivikko Tom Springer and Amelia Hanson sit down to reflect on the origins and growth of Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (SWMLC), the organization that brought them together.

Gerald "G-Ride" King sits down with Storycorps facilitator Manuela Velasquez to discuss his career as a visual and musical artist, as well as the importance of storytelling.

Friends and colleagues Ashley Choker and Melody Woods (WMUK air version) discuss Melody’s challenges with addiction and trouble with the law at a young age. Melody tells how her life changed and what she looks forward to next.

Friends and colleagues Sandy Borden and Kathy Purnell (WMUK air version) discuss finding a place to call home. Sandy was born in Argentina, moved to the United States, then back to Argentina during childhood. She eventually came to call Kalamazoo home.

Jack began working at WMUK as a WMU music student in 1973. He was a member of the United States Army Field Band, Washington, DC from 1974 - 1977, and returned to WMUK as a producer/announcer in 1978. Jack was an announcer and programmer for WITF-TV/FM in Harrisburg, PA from 1983-1984. In 1984 he became Music Director of WWFM /WWNJ, The Classical Network, in Trenton, New Jersey. Jack returned to WMUK in 1999.
Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.