Author Archives: frogsboro

Place + Memory on the Road: On to Ohio!

"This is a big freakin’ car!"

"This is a big freakin’ car!"

Project Producer Shea Shackelford in West Virginia, heading to Dayton, Ohio.

Dayton is the site of the third Place + Memory radio story—one on the National Cash Register Company.

Of the rental Chevy Malibu he’s driving, Shea has this to say: It’s fancy and new and I can plug the iphone into the stereo.  I hate to admit how much I like driving this car; it’s huge and powerful and smooth.

You can hear Shea live on the radio tonight (8-11pm EST)  on WYSO,  our partner for “Miami Valley Memories.”


Lost Neighborhood: Portland, Maine’s Little Italy

Ari Zeiger’s audio documentary on this lost Portland, Maine  neighborhood so struck a cord with Place + Memory that we asked if we could share it here.

Little Italy today -- Photo by Claire Houston

Little Italy today -- photo by Claire Houston

Listen to:  “What We Talk About When We Talk About Little Italy”

Producing this documentary seemed impossible at timeswhere was the conflict? why did this neighborhood matter? who would be the main characters? And most vexing of all: How do you locate a neighborhood that no longer exists!? That was the central paradox at the heart of my radio documentary on Portland, Maine’s long-lost Little Italy section.

My project began with a simple step: I headed down to (the area formerly known as) Little Italy and happened upon Sangillo’s—a small, working-class tavern. The locals pointed me to other locals who plied with me with phone numbers, street names, and anecdotes. I wrote everything down, my notes quickly metastasizing into a spider web of people to meet and places to visit. It was a vital lesson: access, to a large degree, is determined by local and impromptu connections, by your interviewees passing you along to someone else along the memory chain.
-Ari Zeiger

Photography by Claire Houston.
“What We Talk About When We Talk About Little Italy”
was produced at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.
Ari Zeiger studied print journalism in college, creative writing in graduate school, and radio documentary at the Salt Institute. Check out audio vignettes on his blog:

RABBIT HUTCH airs on NPR, extras now online

Ann Venz at the organ at the Rabbit Hutch restaurant

Ann Venz at the organ at the Rabbit Hutch restaurant

(Ann Venz talks about the music at the Rabbit Hutch restaurant)

Want more?!? Check out Rabbit Hutch out-takes and extras on our Radio Stories page.

NPRlogo The first radio piece in our Place + Memory summer series aired Saturday, July 18, 2009. Missed it? Listen in at the Weekend Edition website.

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Our First Radio Piece — The Rabbit Hutch — Airs Saturday on NPR!


Our radio story on the Rabbit Hutch restaurant in Logan, AL — the first in the Place + Memory series of pieces for National Public Radio — airs this Saturday (July 18, 2009) on Weekend Edition.

Visit NPR’s Station Finder to locate an NPR radio station in your area. You can also listen online at Weekend Edition Saturday.

Call the Project memory hotline with your story of a loved-location-lost today! 888-910-2555

UPDATE– We Need Your Help!!

The radio story on the Rabbit Hutch is now slated to air in late June on NPR’s Weekend Edition (we’ll announce the actual date here as soon as we have it). We’re honing in on ideas for our second radio story, and the web designers are working to have the online map ready for folks to start adding their own lost place/memories in just a couple of weeks.

A Treasure from the past: old menu from The Rabbit Hutch Family Restaurant in Logan, AL

A Treasure from the past: old menu from The Rabbit Hutch Family Restaurant in Logan, AL

NOW– we need your stories!
We’re looking for more stories for the radio series, and for the online map. Stories of places gone but dearly remembered—that have left their mark on you so clearly—just their mention brings them instantly back to life and you feel compelled to share them. Places that have ceased to be, except in our memories. It might be the factory that was once the heart-beat of your hometown; the dive bar where you saw your first punk band, had your first drink; the quirky country restaurant specializing in everything rabbit; your grandparents farm that is now a shopping mall …

Below are some questions and ideas to get the ideas and memories flowing.  Leave your comments here, or better, send us an email:

About Your Memory:

specifically, where was it?
what was it called?
how would you categorize it? (using the list below or by adding a new one)
Give us a brief description
What’s the strongest memory you have of the place?

Businesses (restaurants, stores, shops, bowling alleys, barber shops, etc.)
Cites and towns
(razed by nature, land re-purposed for water/power, etc.)
Schools and churches
(closed, consolidated, etc.)
Neighborhoods that have disappeared
(re-developed, gentrified, aged, etc.)
Natural environments
(mountains, lakes, rivers, parks, views, beaches, islands)
Roads and bridges
(country roads, state highways, ferries)
Public/private gathering places
(street corners, people’s homes, etc.)
Other countries
(changes in government, war, natural disaster)
Buildings and monuments (or other large public edifices like statues, stadiums, public facilities)

‘Place memory’—Taking a cue from the academics

The building in Logan, AL that onced housed the Rabbit Hutch restaurant

The building in Logan, AL that once housed the Rabbit Hutch restaurant

Googling “Place and Memory,”  we came across the site for a project called Memory and Place in the Twentieth-Century Italian City…
If it sounds a little academic, it is. But also very cool from what we can tell, and some of the language used really hits home. Here’s their working definition of “place”:

a space that may be occupied,
or imagined as occupied,
by human bodies and events

Also having fun doing a little reading on Wabi-sabi. Here’s writer Andrew Juniper’s take:

if an object or expression can bring about, within us,
a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing,
then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi.

Spending time around the building where the Rabbit Hutch used to be kinda felt like that.

Here’s a little more from the Memory and Place in the Twentieth-Century Italian City… site about their project.