Hedy Reviews “Ties That Bind”
This was a “One Book One Bettendorf” title in celebration of the Library’s 60th anniversary on July 12, 2015. Along with several other activities, we gave away 300 books and recorded stories about Bettendorf and its citizens as well as the Library and its patrons. We hosted a book discussion in which we chose which story was our favorite. I liked two stories which were opposites of each other in that one featured a father who couldn’t or wouldn’t love and the other featured a father who had an abundance of love.
Nineteen-year-old Bryan Wilmoth’s father was rifling through Bryan’s belongings one day and found a letter which intimated that Bryan was gay. The father immediately drove Bryan to a distant point and kicked him out of the car with a $5 bill. Bryan didn’t see any of his six siblings for quite a while. But one by one those siblings moved out or were kicked out–all estranged from their parents. The father also wanted nothing to do with his wife’s side of the family, but when Bryan’s maternal grandparents were getting ready to celebrate their 50th anniversary, they sought him out. When he entered the huge hall, they saw him, hugged him, and had him sit at the front table with them, wanting to know everything about him, especially whether he was happy. Unlike his father, they accepted him wholeheartedly. That experience was the catalyst he needed to get his siblings together again and now there’s great love among them. Of course, that’s just a synopsis. If you read the story in Bryan’s own words, you may get tears in your eyes–as I did.
The other story was about a father with unconditional love who was a janitor and a chauffeur. He protected his black sons from an unruly white mob in an altercation at a high school football game. And when his son was having trouble with algebra, the father studied the textbook till 4 in the morning and then woke his son up in order to teach him algebra. His son became a surgeon.
“Ties That Bind” is easy reading. There is a photograph of the interviewer and interviewee together at the end of each transcript. This book made me want to hear what they sounded like, and I probably could find them archived at www.storycorps.org. It inspired me to interview one of my former colleagues for the Library’s own archive. We talked for 40 minutes, but that will be condensed into approximately 4 minutes.
For another angle, view “StoryCorps Animated Shorts” DVD 791.43 ST and “Listening is an Act of Love: A StoryCorps Special” DVD 973.92 LI.
973 TI (also CDBOOK) “Ties That Bind: Stories of Love & Gratitude from the First Ten Years of StoryCorps” edited by Dave Isay with Lizzie Jacobs, 2013, 203 pages