Natasha Herring and Virginia Vasquez

Recorded April 21, 2023 Archived April 21, 2023 44:40 minutes
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Id: ddf000618


Friends and soul sisters Natasha Herring (48) and Virginia Vasquez (40) remember their grandparents' life and talk about how they have been influenced by them at various stages in life.

Subject Log / Time Code

Virginia tells her first memory of her grandmother, "cooking as long as there was light" in a blackout and lighting candles.
Natasha talks about her grandparents, going to a wedding in North Carolina and watching the fireflies together.
Virginia talks about what she used to call her grandfather, Jorge not Jose.
Virginia describes her grandmother as someone rooted in forgiveness and love. Describes that there is so much of her grandmother in her. Describes her grandfather as larger than life, lively.
Natasha talks about growing up in New York but having an almost Southern upbringing because of her grandparents.
Natasha talks about her grandfather's alcoholism and how it impacted the family. She remembers him passed out on the ground when she was 5 years old and she yelled "get up Herring, get up!"
Virginia talks about the extreme poverty her grandparents lived in, with no more than a 5th-grade education. She acknowledges that her relationship with her grandparents is different from her parents' relationship with them. She talks about the incredible strength they must have had.
"There was love, but their [her grandparent's] relationship will always be a mystery to me".
Natasha talks about the end of her grandparents' life, talks about a tin can she found with letters from her grandfather to grandmother while he was abroad. Her grandfather was nicknamed "Pickles" in the letter and she was "Babe Ruth." She talks about how their relationship impacted her writing.
Virginia talks about her influence from her grandparents in her writing, saying she writes for the forgotten. "Parents brought me into this world, grandparents raised me".
Natasha's mother had a hard life at times, partly because of racism. She would cook with her mother, saying (paraphrased): "I wasn't interested in the cooking, we cooked so we could talk".
Virginia's family spans the spread of color. Relationship with whiteness and blackness. Grandfather proudly identifies as Afro-Puerto Rican.
Virginia talks about the foods she was raised on: Mofongo, pastellon. She says she remembers her family as people that didn't want to give up. Natasha remembers them as family and community.


  • Natasha Herring
  • Virginia Vasquez

Recording Location

StoryCorps Office

Venue / Recording Kit