Dec 21, 2007
A 79-year-old woman, Mary Ann, dies in Los Angeles. She's lived alone for decades. No one knows her—or her next of kin. There's a body to be buried, a house full of stuff to get rid of.
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It so happens there's a county bureaucracy for just this type of problem. In this show, we follow around the person charged with figuring out what to do with the remains of Mary Ann's life. This and other stories about what happens when people are left alone.
- Growing up, Clevins Browne moved all over New York with his mother, in different apartments and homeless shelters. But that all changed when he was 12, and they got an apartment in a public housing complex in Brooklyn. Then, when he had just turned 15, his mom collapsed in pain while they were watching TV at home. Clevins called 911, and then hid in the closet, so he wouldn't be taken away by child services. He stayed in the apartment by himself—with no money, hardly any food—until his mother came home from the hospital: Five months later. Clevins talked to This American Life producer Sarah Koenig, about how he survived. (22 minutes)