November 17, 2000

24 Hours at the Golden Apple

We document one day in a Chicago diner called the Golden Apple, starting at 5 a.m. and going until 5 a.m. the next morning. We hear from the waitress who has worked the graveyard shift for over two decades, the regular customers who come every day, the couples working out their problems, assorted drunks, and, of course, cops.

Featuring stories from Radio Diaries producers Joe Richman and Wendy Dorr. And a story from Nancy Updike, funded with help from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as part of a grant to Hearing Voices. This show lays out differently than most, and is best divided into two parts.

Act One


In this act, we hear several stories that happened during the daylight hours of the diner's operation. The first is from Nancy Updike, who talks with early morning customers, including one guy who comes in mornings to play his accordion, and another who at the age of 8 was the youngest butcher in Illinois. We also hear from several regulars who come to the Golden Apple every day, more than once. Many of them are old and alone. They say they come for the coffee, and to talk to the waitresses. Reporter Susan Burton talks with two friends who used to be a couple. They stopped dating three years ago, but haven't stopped fighting about whose fault it was. An older lady who grew up in the neighborhood explains her neighbors' feelings towards African Americans and gay people. (29 minutes)

Act Two


In this act, we hear from the rowdier, drunker late-night patrons of the Golden Apple. A guy walks in with two young women, hoping to go home with one of them. A woman explains the difference between earthly time and other kinds of time. Two teenaged girls, best friends, spend four hours trying to meet a guy named Jeff at the diner. Two cops talk about TV, what they do on their breaks, and how sometimes it's okay to drive around all night on their beat doing nothing. (26 minutes)