For father-and-son architects Michael and Lee Imbimbo, the StoryCorps mobile booth provided a great foundation for them to share their stories with future generations.
(image courtesy: Texas Public Radio)
“One of the things that would be really special for our family would be for the newest members of our family, particularly my sons, would know a little bit more about what you were like as a child,” Lee admitted to his father early on in the duo’s 40-minute interview session. That led the two down the winding paths of memory lane, with tales of Michael and his brother nearly getting hit by a train while hitchhiking to Mexico as teens.
(Train tresses aren’t always the best walkways)
Michael also told the story of his son Lee’s infamous “whittling incident” during his Cub Scout days.
(Apparently, the type of soap used during whittling practice makes all the difference)
The interview also featured a particularly intriguing story about when the elder architect first arrived in San Antonio in the early 1970’s.
“Being from the coast, San Francisco particularly, we thought we were real sophisticates,” remembered Michael. “All I knew about San Antonio was that the Alamo was there….I’d seen the [Jon Wayne] movie, and I knew the Alamo was in the desert!”
(Michael travels to the Alamo and learns that not everything in the movies is true)
Instead of a desert, Michael found an oasis of art and music, just beginning to come alive. He regaled his son with stories of Floore’s Country Store and the great outlaw country shows he used to see there. The pair also talked about art and architecture, with Michael recalling how he used to try and convince his teachers to let him do sculptures and art projects instead of term papers.
(Michael stresses that architecture is where art meets reality – usually)
The conversation concluded with Michael giving one last piece of advice to his sons and grandsons: “Learn, learn, learn, learn, learn! Everything you learn flavors the kind of person you are. It gives you unique insights to how the world works, how to solve problems. Always be happy to have an opportunity to learn and take every advantage of that – particularly when it’s on your parents’ dime, because after that, it gets a lot more expensive.”
Like the hundreds of other StoryCorps interviews that were recorded in San Antonio in February and March, the Imbimbos’ story will be recorded into the U.S. Library of Congress. It will also be sent to Texas Public Radio for review. esd and associates is proud to help bring StoryCorps to San Antonio on its mission to record the oral histories of America.