Wednesday, November 26, 2008

People of Kansas

Several weeks ago, I was talking with a couple friends about Studs Terkel, the author whose specialty was to interview people from all walks of life and capture their thoughts and feelings in printed collections published as books. I've read several of his books, and there are several more calling to me.

Neither of my friends had read any of Studs Terkel's work, but they asked if I had ever heard of "Hatteberg's People"? I hadn't.

They explained that Larry Hatteberg was a reporter at one of the local television stations, and that he had been doing a series on people from around Kansas for years. It sounded a lot like Studs Terkel's work to them, but in a different medium.

This morning I finally got around to checking out their recommendation, and I'm hooked.

Here are two of my favorite interviews so far:

Harold Seipel has been the custodian and caretaker for Harper County Courthouse, one of the area's old courthouses, for 50 years now.

At 103, Martha Smith has the distinction of being the oldest librarian in the oldest library in Kansas. She's worked there since 1926.

These are lives lived deep and rich and embedded in their communities. They are almost the antithesis of modern life, but I have to believe they have important messages for us to consider about meaning and happiness and connectedness.


pickthepack said...

I think Larry's book is in the living room of at least one family member in every family. My mom and grandma both have it in theirs.

My favorite interview is the man from Troy, KS who lives in a hole, literally a hole in the ground.

I found more interviews at

Looks like he has a DVD out, I know what my mom is getting for Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Gaia --- It's always wonderful to know that others enjoy and believe that this kind of video storytelling is important. I have learned so much from all these great Kansas people, that I think I now have a degree in 'life experience' from all that I've learned. Your kind comments are appreciated.
Larry Hatteberg