Saturday, October 4, 2008


On Thursday night I attended a Homecoming in an aircraft hanger. Number 244 to be specific. Not exactly a traditional "homecoming," but one filled with honored guests and special memories. For those of you who don't know, I am part of an oral history project documenting the history of the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. I have been with the project since the very beginning and am currently working full-time as the Acting Director through the end of January. Thursday night the Orange County Great Park (funding behind the project) held the El Toro Homecoming for all of the project narrators (people who give their oral history). Over fifty narrators attended, many with family members and special guests, and it was wonderful to see these special people again or meet many for the first time. Having listened to or read scores of their interviews, it was a treasure to watch them interact, greet old friends, and share stories about their time in boot camp, Cherry Point, and, of course, tales about El Toro. The evening included bus tours of the base, a reception, group photograph, buffet dinner, and a display of donated artifacts and photographs of each narrator. To top it off, we even got some publicity. One of my first narrators, Faye Shumway, was interviewed by our local NBC affiliate for a news story!

This project is something I believe it, a reason to go to work each day. I feel like I am making a difference in someones life, insuring their memories live on. It's all about the people. They are the heart and soul of oral history. Having these amazing individuals welcome us into their homes, prepare delicious snacks, take us to lunch, serve tea in a tea cup their son brought back from Russia, barely remember anything about their past yet whistle when they see a picture of their wife saying, "Isn't she a beautiful girl?"and receiving a thank you note for our visit...these kind gestures make it worth it continue on. I may despise the corporate side and bureaucratic politics, but we can make a difference in our own little way. I can believe in the people and their legacy. Helping preserve their history truly gives meaning to my own life.

Here I am with Faye Shumway, one of my favorite narrators

Inside of hangar with guests milling about and catching up with old friends

Close-up of group photo

Group photograph taken in front of Hangar 244, the same hangar Faye
worked in while she was stationed at the base.

Ashtray made out of half of a missle (no kidding!) This was donated to the project.

Magnificent sunset, as seen from inside the hangar.
(Notice the Great Parks signature orange balloon.)

1 comment:

pvanslyke said...

Faye Shumway is soooo awesome and soooo pretty!!!! I love that blue dress she's wearing! I hope everyone knows about her!