Browse our archive by

Act Two: Boy Interrupted

Growing up, Clevins Browne moved all over New York with his mother, indifferent apartments and homeless shelters. But that all changed when he was12, and they got an apartment in a public housing complex in Brooklyn.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to Randall Bell, who specializes in assessing how tragedy affects real estate. He's found that the market is much quicker to forgive and forget a scandal than the neighbors are.

Act Two: The Crisco Kid

When David Wilcox was eighteen, he set about looking for an apartment in Houston. He had no credit and very little money, but he was determined to move away from home.

Act One: Mr. Adam's Neighborhood

Radio reporter Adam Davidson went to Iraq to report on the war. He decided that rather than living in some journalist compound in the Green Zone or in a big hotel—places insurgents were more likely to attack—he'd fly under the radar, and keep safe...by renting a house in a residential Baghdad neighborhood.

Act Four: Refugee Cat

We end this show about people and animals who return against all odds with a story about some people who fear they may not be able to return: New Orleans public housing residents whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Katrina and now are slated for demolition by HUD. New Orleans resident Cheryl Wagner asks who should be more ashamed of themselves: The people who think that the public housing complexes in New Orleans should be torn down, or the ones who think they should stay.

Prologue

At the Astrodome complex in Houston, charities from Colorado and Florida and other states are competing to take in the hurricane's refugees. But Colorado, which offers the best package of any state, just can't get New Orleans residents to relocate there.

Act Two: No Place Like Dome

Host Ira Glass talks to evacuees about what it's like to live on a cot in the Astrodome and the Reliant convention center next door. The lights never go out, and the p.a. runs announcements all day.

Act Three: Land Grab

As a half-dozen families—including a pregnant woman having contractions and another with a four-week-old baby—are driven around Houston looking for housing, they confront potential neighbors who they believe don't want them...and neighbors they themselves don't want. This American Life producer Lisa Pollak reports.

Act Five: Water Bed

Louann Mims, a 78-year-old retiree, planned to leave her New Orleans house before the floodwaters rose, but then the water came rushing in and she was trapped in her house for eight days on the only thing that would float: her extra firm Sterns and Foster mattress. Ms.

Act Two: Where's Walter?

Starlee Kine rents a room at a Ramada hotel in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where a ghost supposedly plays pranks on the guests and staff. The ghost's name is Walter, for Walter Schroeder, the guy who originally built the hotel in the 1920s.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks with Adam and Wendy, a couple whose world view was changed when they bought a house. Adam and Wendy were the kind of people who believed that most people by and large were good, and their motives by and large honest.

Act One: Life Indoors

Nancy Updike reports that life under curfew in Ramallah can be, among other things, intensely boring. She also tells the story of Sam Bahour, a Palestinian who was born and raised in Ohio, who came back to the West Bank in 1995, when peace seemed possible, to help build the Palestinian state.

Prologue

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.

Act One

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.

Act Two

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.

Act Two: The Girl Next Door

What happens when the kid next door wants to be your new friend...and comes over, tries to talk to you, befriends your dog. Are you a bad person if you don't want to accept the tiny hand of friendship? Cheryl Wagner tells the story of her young, persistent next-door neighbor.

Act Three: The Ratman Cometh

What happens when a good neighbor goes bad. Katie Davis lives on a block where everyone wants to get along, and they're trying, even though one of their favorite neighbors has dozens of rats infesting her yard and attacking other houses.