A man who we're calling "Dennis" inherits his father's job as a landlord of a big apartment building. His dad had warned him that bad tenants could drive even a good man to become heartless, but Dennis vowed that would never happen to him. He's tested on this point when he tries to help a couple that falls behind in their rent.
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Host Ira Glass plays clips of interviews with several people whose dads have tried reach out to them the best way they know how, which often means...awkwardly.
Host Ira Glass speaks with Harold Wilshinsky about a piece of advice he gave to his daughter and son-in-law over 15 years ago: Take your money out of the hands of Bernie Madoff, and diversify. Reluctantly, they listened to Harold, even though his son-in-law's family was making a fortune investing with Madoff.
When Aric Knuth was a little kid, his dad would leave for six months at a time. He was a merchant marine.
Lennard Davis grew up hearing from his parents that he should, at all costs, avoid being like his good-for-nothing Uncle Abie. Later, after his father died, that very same uncle told him that his father was not, in fact, his father.
Ira talks with two New Yorkers on their reactions to seeing something they could never have believed possible. They acted in ways that they never had before, just ran around and around in circles.
Reporter Mark Arax spent three years investigating the murder of his father and yet he's still not at peace when he thinks of his dad's death. (His book is called In My Father's Name.) This is how it goes sometimes: We create a story that tries to explain our lives, and it still leaves so much unanswered.
Host Ira Glass talks with Rebecca, who, using perfectly valid evidence, arrived at the perfectly incorrect conclusion that her neighbor, Ronnie Loeberfeld, was the tooth fairy. We hear her story.
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.
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.
What happens when you want your dad to change—and he wants to change, too—but there's literally nothing that can be done to change him. Jon Sarkin was a chiropractor with workaholic tendencies.
Reporter Mark Arax spent three years investigating the murder of his father and yet he's still not at peace when he thinks of his dad's death. (His book is called In My Father's Name: A Family, a Town, a Murder.) This is how it goes sometimes.
Host Ira Glass with Rory Evans, who describes the day her father fired his own mother from their family business, a machine shop called Evans Industries.
The story of the lengths a father will go to to retrieve a lost teddy bear, and why—after he's enlisted many other parents to help him wade through tens of thousands of bags of trash to find it—none of the parents involved think he's nuts.
The story begun in the Prologue continues.
We ask 18-year-old Chana Wiliford and her father in Texas if they'd be willing to have a conversation on tape in which each of them gets to ask the other the questions they've never asked before. In the conversation, Chana is half his child, half his peer.
This is a story about an odd breach of trust between father and child, done unintentionally, and what happens next. Lawrence Weschler is an author and journalist. He and his 11-year-old daughter Sara tell the tale.
Margy's a reporter. When she told her dad that she wanted to write a story about him, he said sure.
We think of our phone calls and phone messages as so transient. We have another example of phones recording personal history: this story from Barrett Golding in Bozeman, Montana, comprised of telephone messages about his father.
Ira reads from In Dreams Begin Responsibilities. (7 minutes)
Jack Hitt reviews the strange case of William Kane, his mistress, his family, and fifteen vials of frozen sperm.
A Midwestern family records a "letter on tape" to their son, who is in medical school in California. Three decades later, the recording somehow ends up in a thrift store.
Ira plays tapes of his own father, Barry, who was a radio deejay in the mid-1950s. Barry gave up spinning records when he decided that he couldn't make a decent living at it, and for over a decade he was against his son going into radio, not wanting him to waste time the way he did.
Susan Bergman's father was a family man, head of the church choir, and, secretly, having sex with men. He died before his children had a chance to really talk to him about what they should make of his hidden life.