hear/say Stories
The hear/say books are a collection of stories about aging, dementia, art, work and life. Watch members of the Memory and Aging Center read excerpts from the first volume below.

Personal stories are a powerful way to share the rich, multi-dimensional nature of people’s experiences with aging, dementia, caregiving, and creativity. The hear/say project began as a collaboration between the Memory and Aging Center (MAC) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Voice of Witness in 2016. Our goal was to forge space for patients, caregivers, doctors, family members, researchers, nurses, artists, and more to share “stories of aging, dementia, art, work, and life.” We wanted to shed light on the personal and rarely heard day-to-day experiences of aging and dementia, and through the oral history process, reduce the stigma and othering that occurs by perpetuating a “single story.”

The project expanded in 2018 to include the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) and work directly with the Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health, an international cohort dedicated to protecting the world’s aging populations from threats to brain health. The expansion also included the making of a short documentary film with Cynthia Stone Media. The hear/say project aspires to help others see the meaning and beauty in the experiences of others – for the stories, and the feelings that drive them, to ripple outwards to a global community that recognizes the need for action and empathy in caring for our aging population.

The videos below are excerpts from two Readers’ Theater events to share the stories from the first volume, completed in 2017, and the second volume, completed in 2019. Both volumes of hear/say stories can be downloaded as PDFs (Vol. 1, Vol. 2) and are available for sale from Norfolk Press.

Introduction to hear/say Vol. 2

Cliff Mayotte, Education Director at Voice of Witness

The Gift of Today

Narrated by Mary Nardulli
Interviewed by Cynthia Stone, documentary filmmaker
Read by Julia Glueck, UCSF Memory and Aging Center

This is Social Justice!

Narrated by Cao Wenlong
Interviewed by Tee Boon Lead, Atlantic Fellow
Read by Tee Boon Lead and Alex Kornhuber, Atlantic Fellows

Misery is Optional

Narrated by Helen Rochford-Brennan
Interviewed by Cynthia Stone, documentary filmmaker
Read by Eleanor O’Brien, UCSF Memory and Aging Center

She is My Mother

Narrated by Bia Barros
Interviewed by Laís Fajersztajn, Atlantic Fellow
Read by Lea Grinberg, UCSF Memory and Aging Center & GBHI and Lucia Lopez, UCSF Memory and Aging Center

We Just Kind of Went With It

Narrated by Robin Ketelle
Interviewed by Caroline Prioleau, UCSF Memory and Aging Center & GBHI
Read by Robin Ketelle, UCSF Memory and Aging Center (retired)

Behavior is Communication

Narrated by Pam Roberts
Interviewed by Jennifer Merrilees, UCSF Memory and Aging Center & GBHI
Read by Sarah Dulaney and Charlie Toohey, UCSF Memory and Aging Center

Holy Saturday

Narrated by Luz Edith Valentina
Interviewed by Stefanie Piña Escudero, Atlantic Fellow
Read by Stefanie Piña Escudero and Jennie Gubner, Atlantic Fellows

It is a Crazy Good Thing

Narrated by Nene
Interviewed by Lenisa Brandao, Atlantic Fellow
Read by Eddie Europa, UCSF Memory and Aging Center

Instant Joy

Narrated by Joyce Calvert, Jane Dahlgren, Cailin Lechner, and Madhu Manivannan
Interviewed by Phaedra Bell, Atlantic Fellow
Read by Madhu Manivannan, UCSF Memory and Aging Center, and Dvera Saxton, Atlantic Fellow

Welcome from Dr. Bruce Miller, Director of the Memory and Aging Center

Welcome by Cliff Mayotte, Education Program Director of Voice of Witness

“Who Has More Fun Than People” read by Leslie Goss

“They Actually Made Another One” read by Scott MacDonald & Robin Ketelle

“Being Present” (part 1) read by Sarah Dulaney

“Being Present” (part 2) read by Sarah Dulaney

“At the Bottom of All of It is Love” read by Kasia Gawlas

“At the Bottom of All of It is Love” read by Ali Zahir

Hellman Artist film by Keith Moreau, a former Hellman Artist

“I Have Always Considered Myself a Caregiver at Heart” read by Yessenia De La Vega & Thalia Leon

“I’m Not a Vegetable Yet” read by Geoff Hoyle, a former Hellman Artist