The story about what happens when you discover the medical reason your mother was such a bad parent all your life.
Genevieve Jurgensen and her husband Laurent lost their two daughters—Elise and Mathilde—at the ages of 4 and 7. Actress Felicity Jones reads from her book The Disappearance: A Memoir of Loss, in which Jurgensen tries to explain their lives and their deaths to a friend, in a series of letters.
Julie Hill with a story about her six-year-old son, and how he tries to make sense of his father's terminal illness.
Host Ira Glass talks with Cate, a white woman with a black, adopted, seven-year-old son, Glen. Sometimes Glen threatens that he's going to return to his real family—royalty, in Africa.
We hear a series of letters that originally appeared on the brief-lived, little-known, but well-loved webzine Open Letters. They're written by a woman who signs her name as "X" and are addressed to the father of her adolescent son.
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.
Myron Jones and his sister Carol Bove explain what happened when they were teenagers, and they ended up babysitting children who didn't exist.
What if you're remembered in ways that you don't like? What if you're remembered for something someone else did? In this act, we consider the case of Marguerite Oswald, mother of Lee Harvey Oswald. In 1965 she spent three days with reporter Jean Stafford, who wrote about Mrs.
Tillie Olsen reads from her short story "I Stand Here Ironing," from her collection Tell Me A Riddle. In the story, a mother reviews all that's gone wrong in the raising of her oldest daughter...and makes a few conclusions about what she should think about her mistakes as a mother.
Producer Alex Blumberg conducts an investigation, perhaps the first ever, into this American subspecies: People who compulsively imitate their mother's voices in everyday conversation, well into adulthood.
When Jessica Robinson was sent to adult prison at the age of 14, the state did such a terrible job taking care of her that several women—an embezzler, a convicted murderer, and some thieves—stepped in to mother her. Alex Kotlowitz reports.
Beau O'Reilly and his mother Winifred, who had 14 children, discuss her secret feelings about Johnny Cash and other matters on Mother's Day.
When Anh Tuan Hoang was 12 and living in Vietnam back in 1980, his cousin was scheming up a way to escape the country by boat. Anh Tuan was invited too.
Host Ira Glass describes the moment when black single mothers became a national political issue—and a national symbol. It was 1965, when a young Assistant Secretary of Labor named Daniel Patrick Moynihan issued a report calling for action on the issue of African-American single mothers, and black leaders, including the Rev.
Barbara Clinkscales grew up in Chicago's public housing projects, had her first child when she was 15, and is now—over two decades later—struggling to get her teenage son to finish his senior year of high school. Barbara is a working mom, with a network of close friends who look out for her.
Barbara's story continues, as she hears some terrible news about her son.
In this act we hear two stories of people who stumbled upon a place where they instantly and instinctively felt more at home than in their real homes. Stephen Dubner, author of the memoir Turbulent Souls: A Catholic Son's Return to His Jewish Family, talks about an encounter with a Jewish man named Irving that changed his life.
What if you asked people for advice and actually took all the advice that everyone gave you? As an experiment, writer Sarah Vowell tried exactly that, when she recently solicited advice from many different people about insomnia.
Host Ira Glass talks with his mom—a clinical psychologist—about why people seem to rarely take the advice others give. Then advice columnist Dan Savage, author of the syndicated column and book Savage Love, gives the audience some advice that hopefully might save lives.
As the number of female prisoners climbs, visiting rooms are packed on Mother's Day. Eighty percent of female inmates have children at home.
There are the people who take two hours to get dressed every day, who dress primarily to be seen, and then there are most of the rest of us. Writer Sarah Vowell decides to make the leap into the two-hours group.
A story by Jay Allison and Annie Cheney, from Jay's Life Stories series. Annie tells a story of eating and not eating, and a life seen through one meal.
Host Ira Glass talks with a guy who hit the road after his mother's death, hoping for some experience that would change him and shed light on what just happened. This never happens to him, or to most of us.
Deb Monroe's two daughters as they fight.