StoryCorps' National Day Of Listening
1:50 am
Fri November 29, 2013

An Abuse Survivor Finds Family In A Special Teacher

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 2:53 pm

Friday is the National Day of Listening, a chance to sit down with a loved one, turn on an audio recorder and ask that person about his or her life. You can find tips on how to record your conversation at nationaldayoflistening.org.

When Rogelio Martinez enrolled in Lisa Moya King's dance class in high school, his father had been deported. Rogelio was bouncing around among family members — and he was being abused.

Lisa found out what was going on when one day Rogelio couldn't move in dance class. "I remember I asked, 'Well, why can't you dance?' "

That's when Rogelio showed her his bruises.

"You revealed to me that there was some trouble at home," Lisa says on a visit to StoryCorps in Dallas with Rogelio.

She reported the abuse, but just days later Rogelio called Lisa to tell her he was running away.

"My husband ... had run away when he was your age exactly, and he was taken in by his choir teacher," Lisa says.

"I remember you said, you know, 'I don't care about my job,' " Rogelio recalls. "You just wanted to help me."

"So you stayed with me a couple of times when you just didn't have a place to go, or we needed to go pick you up," Lisa says.

"And I remember when you spent Thanksgiving with my family," she continues. "I taught you how to make a pumpkin pie. That was a really special Thanksgiving, because I had my immediate family — my husband, my children, my grandmother — and you were there. I had everybody there that I truly loved."

"Well, I, for a long time in my life, didn't have that experience to even call somebody a mom. But just to see you — the way you took care of me — that's how a mom should act," Rogelio tells Lisa. "I just feel like there's no way for me to thank you for everything. You showed me that I'm not alone — that I actually have somebody."

"What you don't realize is that you helped me, too," Lisa replies. "You have taught me a lot about being a teacher, but you've also taught me a lot about being a parent. Just the other day someone said, 'Is that your son?' And I said, 'Yes.' You always have a family here. You always will."

Audio produced for Morning Edition by Jasmyn Belcher.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

On this Friday, StoryCorps is encouraging people to take part in its national day of listening. Instead of standing in line at the mall, sit down and interview someone who's important to you. That was the idea behind this Storycorps interview. It was recorded in Dallas, where Rogelio Martinez spoke with one of his former high school teachers, Lisa Moya King.

They met when Rogelio enrolled in a dance class Lisa taught as an elective. At the time, Rogelio, whose father had been deported, was living with various family members and he was being abused.

ROGELIO MARTINEZ: Do you remember the time when you found out about what was going on?

LISA MOYA KING: When you couldn't move one day in dance class.

MARTINEZ: And people would ask me, like, are you okay? I'm like, yeah, I'm just tired.

KING: I remember I asked, well, why can't you dance? And you showed me...

MARTINEZ: Bruises?

KING: Bruises. You revealed to me that there was some trouble at home. You know, I tried to do everything that I was supposed to do as a teacher, which I had to report, and I did it anonymously, of course. But it was maybe days after that when you called me to tell me that you were running away. My husband, he had run away when he was your age exactly, and he was taken in by his choir teacher.

MARTINEZ: I remember you said, you know, I don't care about my job. You just wanted to help me.

KING: So you stayed with me a couple of times when you just didn't have a place to go, or we needed to go pick you up. And I remember when you spent Thanksgiving with my family. I taught you how to make a pumpkin pie. That was a really special Thanksgiving, because I had my immediate family, my husband, my children, my grandmother, and you were there. I had everybody there that I truly loved.

MARTINEZ: Well, I, for a long time in my life, didn't have that experience to even call somebody a mom. But just to see you, the way you took care of me, that's how a mom should act. And I just feel like there's no way for me to thank you for everything. You showed me that I'm not alone, that I actually have somebody.

KING: I think what you don't realize is that you helped me too. You have taught me a lot about being a teacher, but you've also taught me a lot about being a parent. Just the other day someone said, is that your son? And I said yes. You always have a family here. You always will.

GREENE: Rogelio Martinez with his former teacher, Lisa Moya King, at StoryCorps in Dallas. Rogelio graduated this year, but they still talk every day. Their interview will be archived at the American Folk Life Center at the Library of Congress, and you can get the podcast at NPR.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.