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.
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.
We hear the story of a disastrous birthday party and how it's hard not to see these kinds of moments as symbolic of something bad.
Sean Cole explains why he decided that he would speak with a British accent—morning, noon and night—from the age of sixteen until he was eighteen...and how he believed the lie that he was British must be true.
The story of two young people who, in their search to figure out who they were, pretended to be people they weren't. Both were from small towns; both took on false identities.
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.
When Alexa was seven, she started going through her grandfather's books. Her grandfather was a playwright and teacher, and through the books—and especially through his notes in the margins—she entered the world of 1930's American theater.
More stories from Wen Huang that contradict what you think you know about the 1989 student uprising in China.
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.
When Adam and Jamie were kids, Jamie would always ask for Adam's advice, but he didn't want to hear what Adam would say himself. Instead, he wanted Adam to pretend to be an Israeli commando he once knew, named Yakov.
Jackie and Kenny Wharton were kids in the tiny town of Canalou, Missouri, off of old Highway 61. They moved away for 40 years but always dreamed of moving back.
Host Ira Glass talks about the role of mealtime in family dynamics.
When Eustace Conway was 17, he abandoned his normal life and decided to move to the woods.
Camp Lake of the Woods holds a fake Indian powwow during the summer. This kind of fake Native American-ness has been a part of camping in America since organized camping began a century ago.
Ira with "The Hens," a group of nine middle-aged women who've known each other since girlhood. They play recordings of their recent three-day road trip from Chicago to a casino in a cotton field in Mississippi.
Ira with Lynnette Nyman, who, as a girl, recorded her parents fighting with a cassette recorder she got for Christmas.
Geoffrey Canada, author of the book Fist Stick Knife Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America, talks about what it's like to carry a gun. He also talks about what poor neighborhoods in New York were like before the proliferation of handguns among young people. When he grew up in the South Bronx, kids had fistfights in a very formal arrangement with formal rules that everyone lived by. He reads from his book and talks with Ira.
Julie throws up.
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.
When Danielle's family serves poultry at their dinner table, no one utters the word "chicken." Instead, it is always called "fish." Danielle explains why with the help of her friend "Duki." (16 minutes)
Gang Girl, on a body they thought was fake that turned out to be real.
A woman obsessed with the number 2.