Writer Brady Udall with another story about what animals can take the place of, in our lives and in our homes—this one involving an armadillo. This work of fiction originally appeared in the Autumn 1999 issue of Story magazine.
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When he was a kid, Josh Martin's mother Nancy told him that if anythingever happened to her, he needed to take care of his brother Ben. This confusedJosh, because Ben was his older brother, and he felt that if anything heshould be the one taken care of.
Writer Bill Eville and his brother, late at night, are picked up on the side of the road, and not taken to their destination. (10 minutes)
Michael Beaumier tells a story about a family member who keeps vanishing and returning. This is an excerpt from Michael's book I Know You're Out There.
Lisa LaBorde has two daughters, and having grown up an only child, she can't understand why they fight all the time. Her idea of sisterhood is more like a scene from The Sound of Music. Wanting to create that kind of bond for her girls, Lisa decides to enlist the aid of science to see if she can turn these enemies into friends—in just one month.
Continuing from our prologue, host Ira Glass checks in with Lisa and her older daughter, Kennedy, to see how the experiment went. After a month, they've charted surprising results, learned that the girls aren't the only ones in the house who need to change, and found out just how much money it takes to get a twelve-year-old to play with a five-year-old.
A story by regular contributor David Sedaris involving his sister Lisa, a secret, and her very understanding parrot. David read this story live, and it's on his CD Live at Carnegie Hall. The story is also published in his book Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.
Host Ira Glass talks with two sisters, one high-school age, the other younger, about who gets treated better in the family. They all agree the youngest does.
When Aimee Phan and her brother were babies, her mother had horoscopes predicting their futures made and put on tape. The tapes were in Vietnamese, which Aimee and her brother didn't understand.
Novelist Miriam Toews, author of The X Letters (which appeared in an earlier episode of the show), tells the story of a road trip she took with her 15-year-old son.
Veronica Chater tells the story of her developmentally disabled brother Vincent, who one day quit his job and then quit everything else, mystifying everyone in his life. Veronica is author of the memoir Waiting for the Apocalypse.
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.
The story about what happens when you discover the medical reason your mother was such a bad parent all your life.
How writer (and frequent This American Life contributor) David Sedaris and his family reacted when Sedaris's mother—a lifelong, unrepentant smoker—developed lung cancer. After a lifetime of barbed, funny remarks, no one in the family is prepared to talk about their feelings.
A collection of small stories, all on the the theme introduced in the prologue—the first few months after the divorce, and suddenly, your parents are less composed, more flawed, and more human, than perhaps you've ever seen them.
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.
Producer Alex Blumberg sets out to find a woman named Susan Jordan, who babysat him and his sister for a year when he was nine. He discovers that each of them remembered something about the other that the other would just as soon forget.
Ira talks with journalist Jason Bleibtreu about Luther and Johnny Htoo, twelve-year-old twins, and the leaders of a rebel army of Burmese separatists called God's Army. Everyone around them, both their own forces and their enemies, believed they possessed superpowers, that they could not be harmed by bullets, that they had the power to command ghost armies.
Lots of babysitting is done by family members. Hillary Frank reports on what can happen when a teenaged son is put in charge of his younger brothers.
Myron Jones and his sister Carol Bove explain what happened when they were teenagers, and they ended up babysitting children who didn't exist.
The story of several huge companies that accidentally got put into the babysitting business in a big, big way because of snow on December 26, 1988. Every year on the day after Christmas, divorced kids all over America fly from one parent to the other.
Julia Pimsleur travels to Alaska to spend some time with her brother, hoping he might change a little—just as he hopes that she'll change a little.
What can happen if a sibling relationship doesn't ever change. Hillary Frank brings us the story of two sisters, now in their seventies, who have preserved the same relationship they had as girls...for better or worse.
Sarah Koenig tells the story of how her stepsister Rue bought a house and moved in—but the former owner did not move out. And won't move out, until he dies.