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20 minutes | 7 days ago
In 1947, a New York City bus driver named William Cimillo turned left instead of right, and took his municipal bus on a 1,300 mile road trip. This story originally aired on This American Life. *** We have music this week from Podington Bear and “Detour” by Patti Page. Radio Diaries has support this week from AcornTV. Use code “diaries” to get your first 30 days free.
31 minutes | 21 days ago
The Last Place: Diary of a Retirement Home
For the past year, most nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been in lockdown. Residents have been kept apart—not just from their families, but from each other. They ate meals alone in their rooms, met new grandchildren on Zoom, and some were alone when they died. Today many retirement homes are starting to open up again. But the fact is, many people grow more isolated as they age. Even in normal times. Friends and partners pass away, family members and kids get distracted by their own lives. To many of us, nursing homes are a place where we too might end up—they’re a bit of mystery that we visit from time to time, a world apart. Years ago, I got to know residents at Presbyterian Homes in Evanston, Illinois. And I gave a few of them tape recorders to keep audio diaries of their lives in retirement. Today on the show, The Last Place, diary of a retirement home. *** Sponsored by Warby Parker. Try 5 pairs of glasses at home for free. Go to www.warbyparker.com/diaries Music this week from Blue Dot Sessions and “When I Grow Too Old to Dream” by Nat King Cole.
27 minutes | a month ago
Soon after he entered office, President Biden issued an executive order allowing transgender people to serve in the military. It was the latest in a long series of shifts in who can serve and who can't. Women only recently were able to serve in certain ranks. And it wasn’t until 1993, that congress lifted a ban against women flying in combat. But women actually started flying military aircraft much earlier than that, 5 decades earlier. During World War II. They were known as the Women Airforce Service Pilots… the WASPs. Music this week from Blue Dot Sessions, “Flying” by the Beatles, and “Come Josephine in My Flying Machine,” performed by Blanche Ring in 1910. *** Sponsors: Warby Parker - Try 5 pairs of glasses at home for free. www.warbyparker.com/diaries\ GreenChef - Get $90 off meal kits plus free shipping www.greenchef.com/90diaries
13 minutes | 2 months ago
Burma '88: Buried History
On August 8, 1988 — a date chosen for its numerological power — university students in Burma sparked an uprising against the military dictatorship. They’d been living under military rule their entires lives. And they had had enough. The uprising ultimately failed, but it planted the seeds of democracy. It was the moment Aung San Suu Kyi first appeared on the political scene, and became the icon of the democracy movement. Today on the podcast: we take you back to the summer of 1988, a moment in Burma when change seemed possible. Music this week from Bang on a Can, Kyaw, Kyaw Naing, and Blue Dot Sessions.
13 minutes | 2 months ago
Living with Dying
One year ago, on Valentine’s Day 2020, Peter Fodera’s heart broke. It stopped working. He collapsed in the middle of teaching a dance class. Someone performed CPR, someone called an ambulance. EMT’s showed up and he lay motionless. He technically died that day. But later at the hospital, Peter’s heart started beating again. On the anniversary of Peter’s brief death, he sat down with his daughter Juliana who has Noonan Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. While Peter’s experience of dying and coming back to life may seem miraculous to some of us, it doesn’t to Juliana. By her count, she’s died 21 times. Music this week from Podington Bear, Blue Dot Sessions, Man Man, and Gotan Project.
30 minutes | 3 months ago
Teen Contender: Then & Now
In 2012, Claressa Shields was a 16-year-old boxer in Flint, Michigan. She had an audacious dream: to be the Muhammad Ali of womens boxing. We gave her tape recorder to keep an audio diary as she fought to make it onto the first ever women’s Olympic boxing team. Claressa is now 25 and fights professionally. With two gold medals and four world championships, she’s achieved her boxing dreams. But with boxing shut down during COVID, she has turned her attention to a different kind of dream. She bought a house. Today on the podcast, we hear Claressa’s original audio diary and bring you an update. Teen Contender won a Peabody Award in 2012. The follow up story aired on This American Life as part of their 25th anniversary special.
24 minutes | 3 months ago
America Vs. America
After the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, we've all been trying to grapple with an event that feels so different from anything we’ve experienced before in this country. But this attack wasn’t the first time the Capitol has been violently breached. History books mention 1814 — when the British army set fire to the Capitol. Less well known is what happened on March 1st, 1954. That’s when four young Puerto Rican New Yorkers launched an attack in the chamber of the House of Representatives. **** Support this week from GreenChef, the first USDA-certified organic meal kit company. Use code diaries90 for $90 off and free shipping.
24 minutes | 4 months ago
Love from Six Feet Apart (Revisited)
Robert and Wendy Jackson have been socially distancing under the same roof for 8 months. Robert is 71 and had a kidney transplant four years ago. His immune system is severely compromised. His wife, Wendy, is a pediatric emergency room doctor. When the pandemic hit in March, the couple made the difficult decision to live together…six feet apart. We also revisit the audio diary of 11-year-old Francesca Montanaro, who was going to school at her dad’s pizza shop in the Bronx. Music from Blue Dot Sessions and “Nunca Es Suficiente” by Natalia Lafourcade and Los Ángeles Azules. *** Support from AcornTV which is now streaming “A Suitable Boy” from the BBC. Use code “DIARIES” to get a free 30-day trial.
28 minutes | 5 months ago
Love at First Quarantine, The Sequel
When the pandemic hit back in March, Gali Beeri and Joshua Boliver decided to quarantine together, after their very first date. Today on the show, we check back in with them — eight months later — to see how a new relationship weathers a pandemic. Their story is part of our series Hunker Down Diaries, stories of people in unexpected situations during the pandemic. You can listen to the whole series on past episodes of the Radio Diaries Podcast. Music from Blue Dot Sessions, Yo La Tengo, and “Blaze & Sybil's Lullaby” by Alia Shawkat & Ben Dickey. **** Support this week from Imagined Life, a podcast from Wondery.
16 minutes | 5 months ago
Centenarians (Still) in Lockdown
It’s been 9 months since Joe Newman (107) and Anita Sampson (100) recorded their story about surviving the 1918 pandemic, getting older, and staying in love during lockdown. We’re thrilled to announce they just won a Third Coast Award! We share their story and check in with them in Sarasota, Florida where COVID cases are surging. **** Support this week from AcornTV and their new series “A Suitable Boy” from the BBC.
18 minutes | 6 months ago
How to Lose an Election: A History
Presidential campaigns are essentially dramas, and we’re in the final act of this one. The curtain is about to come down.For the past century, the moment of closure has come in the form of one simple act: the public concession. From William Jennings Bryan to Adlai Stevenson to John McCain to Al Gore and Hillary Clinton…. A History of How To Lose An Election. **** We have support from Imagined Life, a podcast from Wondery. https://wondery.com/shows/imagined-life/ And Source Material, a new show from Vice. https://video.vice.com/en_us/show/source-material
19 minutes | 7 months ago
When Nazis Took Manhattan
In an election season when the words "Will you condemn white supremacy" are considered a gotcha question at a presidential debate, it seems like a good time to look back at another moment in American history when race and ethnic division took center stage. On February 20th, 1939, 20,000 people streamed into Madison Square Garden in New York City. Outside, the marquee was lit up with the evening's main event: a "Pro-American rally." Inside, on the stage, there was a 30-foot tall banner of George Washington, sandwiched between American flags...and two huge swastikas. Today’s episode is a special collaboration with The Memory Palace and producer Nate DiMeo. Special thanks to Marshall Curry, whose film “A Night To Remember” inspired this story. Music from Blue Dot Sessions.
15 minutes | 7 months ago
March of the Bonus Army
In the summer of 1932, a group of World War I veterans in Portland, Oregon hopped a freight train and started riding the rails to Washington DC. They were demanding immediate payment of a cash bonus the government had promised them after the war – but delayed until 1945. More than 20,000 veterans and their families arrived in the nation’s capital. They established a tent city and vowed to stay until their demands were met. But, in a historic confrontation, General Douglas MacArthur’s Army troops routed the veterans and burned their camp to the ground. This is the story of the Bonus Army. See photos of the Bonus Army on our website. http://www.radiodiaries.org/march-of-the-bonus-army/
15 minutes | 8 months ago
The Forgotten Story of Clinton Melton
This summer, videos of Black people killed by police officers have sparked outrage and protests across the country. 65 years ago, it was a photograph that shocked the nation. The image of 14-year-old Emmett Till. Till had traveled from Chicago to the Mississippi Delta to visit family, when he was kidnapped, horribly beaten and killed by white men after allegedly flirting with a white woman. His body was later found in the Tallahatchie river. Today, Emmett Till’s death is considered the spark that ignited the burgeoning Civil Rights movement. But few people know there was another brazen murder of a Black man that happened just three months later, in a neighboring town in the Delta. Today on the Radio Diaries Podcast, we tell the forgotten story of Clinton Melton. *** Music by Blue Dot Sessions.
11 minutes | 9 months ago
The Infamous Words of George Wallace
A law and order politician who rails against anarchists protesting in the streets and the lying mainstream media? It may sound familiar, but we’re actually going back more than five decades on the show today, when Alabama Governor and four time presidential candidate George Wallace was perfecting the politics of resentment and race baiting. A lot of people have commented on the similarities between that time and now. Congressman John Lewis was one of them.
9 minutes | 9 months ago
The Final Frontline
The Kearns family funeral business was founded in New York City in the year 1900. Over 120 years, the family has seen a lot of history. Patrick Kearns and Paul Kearns-Stanley are the owners. After 4 months, they finally had a chance to reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic, and how it's looked from their corner of New York. They sat down together on a recent evening — at the end of a long work day — in their funeral home in Queens. This is our final installment of Hunker Down Diaries, at least for now. If you’ve enjoyed the series, tell a friend! And tag us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Music this week from Blue Dot Sessions and “Hunker Down” by Big Dudee Roo.
9 minutes | 10 months ago
Quarantined in the Pizzeria
COVID-19 has forced many families to improvise childcare. For some, it's been like a four month long 'bring your child to work' day. Paul Montanaro runs a pizza shop in the Bronx. That's where his 11-year-old daughter Francesca has been spending her days since her school shut down in March. Both of Francesca's parents are essential workers - her mom is an ICU nurse at a hospital in Manhattan. For our Hunker Down Diaries series, we asked Francesca to keep an audio diary as she finished up 5th grade in the pizzeria. Music this week from Blue Dot Sessions and “Nunca Es Suficiente” by Los Angeles Azules and Natalia Lafourcade.
9 minutes | 10 months ago
Lockdown in Lockup
Coronavirus cases are on the rise across the country and the five largest clusters of the virus are in correctional institutions. This isn’t a surprise. Prisons are often overcrowded, social distancing is difficult, bathrooms and public spaces are shared by hundreds of inmates. Guards are constantly going in and out. In a pandemic, prison is probably the worst place a person could be. Robbie Pollock spent 8 years in New York state prisons. Recently, he spoke with his friend Moe Monsuri, who has been incarcerated since 2007. Monsuri is currently serving his time at Sing Sing, a maximum security prison in upstate New York, where four inmates have died of COVID-19. This story was produced by reporter Daniel Gross as part of our new series Hunker Down Diaries. You can find more of Daniel’s work at The New Yorker. Image by Acroterion. Music from Blue Dot Sessions.
11 minutes | 10 months ago
Home is Where You Park Your Mini Van
Back in March, as the pandemic hit, many people across the country found themselves without a safety net. Naida Lavon was one of them. Naida is 67 and a former school bus driver. She was recently furloughed from her part time job at a rental car company. For the past few months, Naida’s been living in her car on the streets of Portland, Oregon. As part of our Hunker Down Diaries series, we bring you her story. Music this week from Blue Dot Sessions and “Home Again” by Michael Kiwanuka.
8 minutes | a year ago
The Words of Renault Robinson, Then and Now
Renault Robinson was one of Chicago's few black police officers in the 1970s. He was a founder of the Afro-American Patrolmen's League. We first learned about Robinson from Studs Terkel's book Working. Studs went around the country in the 1970s interviewing people about their jobs. Robinson's interview is one of the most powerful parts of the book. He is incredibly honest and blunt about what it was like to be a black police officer, and about the tensions between the police and the black community. A few years ago, we interviewed Robinson for our series "Working, Then and Now." When you listen to his words from the 1970s, and from 50 years later, what's most striking is how much things haven't changed.
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