Host Ira Glass describes what thousands of people do all over America on our holiday weekends: we go to historic sites with our kids and stare at bricks and statues, trying to feel some connection with the past. It's not easy.
Cedric Jennings grew up in Southeast Washington, in one of the poorest communities in the country. Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind followed him for over two-and-a-half years, as Cedric tried to make it through high school and work his way into an Ivy League university. Once he gets there, he discovers that all the qualities that got him out of the ghetto make him an outcast in the Ivy League.
Durrell was a professional musician. He toured Asia, Brazil, Canada, gigs in Paris.
Host Ira Glass with Brooklyn schoolteacher Melissa Cantor, who reads from a how-to manual written by a sixth-grade student. It's about how to protect yourself against unwanted visitors.
Chicago writer and actor Dave Awl, who runs a show called the Pansy King Cotillion, on how he accidentally discovered how not to get picked on as a sissy in high school.
LuAnne Johnson is a teacher who sold her story to Hollywood and saw it made into the film and TV series Dangerous Minds, in which a character named LuAnne Johnson does things the real LuAnne believes are unethical and silly.
Ira takes a Medieval scholar from the University of Chicago, Michael Camille, to Medieval Times — a chain of fake castles where visitors eat Medieval food and drink Medieval Pepsi and watch a supposed recreation of a Medieval jousting tournament. The scholar finds that there are many historical inaccuracies, but that Medieval Times does capture something essential and interesting about the spirit of the Middle Ages.
A first-grader explains to host Ira Glass how bullies become bullies. His explanation: They read a book on how to be a bully.
Host Ira Glass follows the last month of rehearsals of Oak Park and River Forest High School's production of Neil Simon's Lost In Yonkers.
Who are the people we remember as significant figures from our childhood? What is their hold on our imaginations as we age? Ira visits McCosh Elementary on Chicago's South Side, where a man everyone calls "Mr. Lewis" is the surrogate dad for hundreds of kids — a nearly mythic figure.
Claudia Perez returns to talk about her year from a more personal perspective.