There are squatters who've built entire neighborhoods on top of rotting trash heaps in Mexico. They scavenge in the garbage piles for their living.
Host Ira Glass talks with This American Life producer Julie Snyder about a personal regime change that happened when she was a kid, after her parents got divorced and her stepdad came on the scene. She says that by the time her parents separated, literature on what to tell the children was everywhere, and the kids took it relatively well.
From the time he was a little kid until the time he graduated high school, Darren Stein made movies with his father's video camera. The cast was composed of friends from his street, a suburban cul-de-sac in Encino, California.
Home movies usually don't have much of a plot—one of the many ways they differ from Hollywood movies. But reporter Susan Burton has a lifetime of home movies, which together describe a very Hollywood plot, about how she remade herself from a friendless nerd into a popular girl.
How does the Devil work? We hear stories from five different people who say they found themselves inexplicably doing something random and bad, something which made no sense to them at all. Host Ira Glass explains why this might be, cadging a bit from C.S.
Host Ira Glass talks with Sarah Koenig, about the first and only time a movie star came over to her family's house when she was a kid, and how it didn't go too well, for the celebrity or for her. The movie star, Robert Redford, ended up stealing all her parents' attention, attention they usually lavished on Sarah, the youngest.
Host Ira Glass talks with a bunch of special ed students. By and large, they thought of themselves as regular kids—until each experienced a shocking moment of revelation when they discovered that they were not the same as other kids, and that the other kids already knew that...and had known for a long time.
Ira explains that our show's a little different this week. It consists of one long story, lasting the entire hour, about a young boy, an abandoned house, and the mysterious family who once lived there and then seemed to disappear without a trace.
Adam Beckman tells the first part of his story, about how, back in the 70s, he and his friends broke into an abandoned house in the small town of Freedom, New Hampshire. The home turned out to be a perfect time capsule, containing the furniture, letters and personal effects of an entire family — abandoned for decades.
Adam Beckman continues his story. He returns to the town in New Hampshire where he discovered the abandoned house as a kid and tries to find out what happened there.
Host Ira Glass talks with Paul Feig, who as a sixth-grader, at the urging of his father, actually read the Dale Carnegie classic How to Win Friends and Influence People. What he found was that afterwards, he had a bleaker understanding of human nature—and even fewer friends than when he started.
David Sedaris has this instructive tale of how, as a boy, with the help of his dad, he tried to bridge the chasm that divides the popular kid from the unpopular...with the sorts of results that perhaps you might anticipate.
A short story about the moment when we suddenly learn the name of something that has heretofore been unnamed for us...and about the difference between knowing the person, and knowing the person's name. Heather O'Neill is the author of Two Eyes Are You Sleeping, a book of poetry.
The story about what happens when you discover the medical reason your mother was such a bad parent all your life.
Reporter Mark Arax spent three years investigating the murder of his father and yet he's still not at peace when he thinks of his dad's death. (His book is called In My Father's Name.) This is how it goes sometimes: We create a story that tries to explain our lives, and it still leaves so much unanswered.
Host Ira Glass talks with contributor Adam Davidson about how Adam's teenage diaries are filled with his dream of someday becoming the prime minister of a country where he does not even reside.
Host Ira Glass talks with Rebecca, who, using perfectly valid evidence, arrived at the perfectly incorrect conclusion that her neighbor, Ronnie Loeberfeld, was the tooth fairy. We hear her story.
Howie Chackowicz tried a risky combination when he was little, kid logic with puppy love. He used to think that girls would fall in love with him if they could just see him sleeping, or if they could hear him read aloud.
Leah remembers when her parents got divorced and her dad, a farmer in North Dakota, moved to an apartment in town. It was cramped and ugly, and it had a Murphy bed that made a horrible creak when you brought it down from the wall.
When he was just a kid, Davy Rothbart and his family visited the most famous neighbor in America—Mr. Rogers—at his summer cottage on Nantucket.
When Starlee Kine was a kid, she wanted to be a child star so badly that she signed up for an acting class with a famous acting teacher named Kevin McDermott. One of the class's exercises was to develop a character with a troubled past, and a real psychologist would come in for a session of character group therapy.
Host Ira Glass talks with Kayla Hernandez, a seventh-grader who likes to reminisce about when she was a child, back in fifth grade. She visits Room 211 in her school, where her fifth grade class met, and looks at her old books, thinks about what happened there.
Jonathan Katz listens to old tapes of his family; then travels back to the neighborhood in Brooklyn they lived in during the 1950s, looking for evidence of what his childhood was like. His sister is along for the trip, and they do not agree on the meaning of what they're seeing.
A mortgage broker named David Philp discovers that his old punk band from the 1970s is hot in Japan. He decides to leave corporate life and revisit his teenage years by going back on tour, playing music for the first time in two decades.