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Two years ago, to mark Father’s Day, I sat in the closet I’m sitting in now (which you can see only in your mind’s eye), and had an extraordinary conversation with Dr. Talmadge E. King, Jr., a world-renowned lung specialist who is dean of the Medical School at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. King and I talked about his father, Talmadge King Senior, who was born in 1922 in the segregated south.  I loved our conversation, and it seems fitting to post the interview today, on June 19th, 2022. Mr. King, who died in 2018, would be 100 this year.Talmadge Senior was so beloved a member of the community in Darien, Georgia that the town recruited him as the first Black police officer when the police force was first integrated.He instilled in his five children a sense of doing better with each successive generation. He offered a simple metaphor: "If your father builds a wooden house, it's your responsibility to build a brick house." 
Several years ago, Julie Metz found something in the back of a drawer among her mother's slips and perfumes: a small book filled with handwritten notes to her mother, who was then called Eva, later Eve.The discovery started Julie on a journey to find out much more about her mother's history.Her book, "Eva and Eve," tells the story of that journey.  It describes how her mother’s Jewish family escaped Nazi Austria, and also the story of Julie and how through doing research she developed a different understanding of her relationship with her mother.Julie Metz is also the author of The New York Times bestselling memoir "Perfection," a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection. She has written on a wide range of women’s issues for publications including: The New York Times, Salon, Dame, Tablet, Catapult, Glamour, Next Tribe, Slice, and MrBellersneighborhood.com. Her essays have appeared in the anthologies "The Moment" and "The House That Made Me." She is also the winner of a Literary Death Match, the international competitive reading series founded by Adrian Zuniga.Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea PerryProducers: Claire Trageser and Nora MathisonSocial Media: Claire TrageserMother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.com.
Mary Trageser is about to celebrate her 100th birthday this April, but she doesn't want any fuss about it. She's had a very adventurous life, growing up as a child of the Great Depression, surviving bombings in London during World War II, then working for the UN in Paris after the war. But she doesn't want any fuss about all that, either.Mary now has four kids, seven grandchildren, and soon to be four great grandchildren. She's the family matriarch, though her grandkids affectionately call her "G."In this special episode, producer Claire Trageser interviews her father Charlie about his mom.Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea PerryProducer: Claire TrageserSocial Media: Claire TrageserMother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.com.Note: Our sister podcast, Mother Mine, has moved to a separate feed. Click here to listen to it on Apple Podcasts.
Some women take up crafting or knitting or volunteering in their later years. For Gladys Barry, also known as Gigi, there was a different hobby: Poker.Gigi was born in Brooklyn and worked as a math teacher in elementary school. She learned to play poker from some of her friends, and realized she had a knack for it.So she began to play in low stakes tournaments, and kept getting better and better, earning herself the nickname Omaha Gigi.Once, she went into a casino and sat at a table filled with young guys, and someone came and said, 'let’s move you to an older table.' Omaha Gigi was not having it. She said, 'you just sit and watch me play,' and that casino worker quickly realized his mistake. Gigi wasn't messing around, and stayed at the table.With her earnings, Gigi helped pay for her daughter's medical school tuition.On this episode, Katie talks to Gigi's daughter, Dr. Michele Barry, who is the senior associate dean for global health and director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health in the Stanford School of Medicine.She has traveled the world for studies and conferences, often bringing her mother along with her--whether she wanted to or not.
Dorothy Nayer was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania and into her twenties, life bumped along. She went to nursing school, got married, and had two daughters. Then, when her daughters were still young children, Dorothy was in a horrible accident while the family was vacationing on Cape Cod. She was planning to light a hot water heater and it exploded, leaving her with horrible third degree burns.Dorothy had 37 restorative surgeries, but for the rest of her life she looked dramatically different.Her youngest daughter, Louise, chronicled her mother's experience and how it affected her own childhood in "Burned: A Memoir," which was an Oprah Great Read and won the Wisconsin Library Association Award.Louise talks with Katie about her childhood, her mother, and the incredible story of bravery and resilience.Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea PerryProducer: Claire TrageserSocial Media: Claire TrageserMother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.com.Note: Our sister podcast, Mother Mine, has moved to a separate feed. Click here to listen to it on Apple Podcasts.
Joy Liasson was born in Pittsburgh in 1926, a child of the Depression.  She was an aspiring writer who  met her husband when he accidentally burned a hole in one of the two dresses she owned. They went on to have children, including a daughter who became a well known voice in America's political news coverage. That is my guest, Mara Liasson, national political correspondent for NPR.  Joy didn't work when her children were young, but raised them to care about writing, reading and democracy.  She wrote children's stories, worked for the League of Women's Voters, and worked for the Board of Cooperative Educational Services of Southern Westchester, which provided special education to gifted children.Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea PerryProducer: Claire TrageserSocial Media: Claire TrageserMother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.com.Note: Our sister podcast, Mother Mine, has moved to a separate feed. Click here to listen to it on Apple Podcasts. 
When Ginny Hughes's oldest daughter, Mallory, was born, she  knew something was terribly wrong. Ginny started talking to doctors, they told her she was having "the mommy worry syndrome."  But Ginny was a nurse and knew to trust her instincts. Eventually Ginny took Mallory to see Dr. Celia Ores, a pediatrician in New York. All Dr. Ores had to do was kiss Mallory and taste her salty skin, and she knew -- Mallory had cystic fibrosis. After a more formal "sweat" test, the diagnosis was confirmed, and Ginny then devoted the rest of her life to caring for Mallory and her sister, getting them the best treatment, teaching other caregivers their care regimens, traveling to New York City every three months for appointments. When Mallory was diagnosed, the life expectancy for cystic fibrosis patients was in the teens or early 20s.  She's now 36. Ginny Hughes  lives in Greenwich, Connecticut and helps Mallory with her own kids. “My health is so good because of her care," Mallory says of her mom. "She taught me how to take care of myself, she got me this far, and now medications are out that make cystic fibrosis a side dish to my life." Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea PerryProducer: Claire TrageserSocial Media: Claire TrageserMother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.com.Note: Our sister podcast, Mother Mine, has moved to a separate feed. Click here to listen to it on Apple Podcasts. 
I've known Lisa Van Dusen for nearly 40 years, and I've always loved the way Lisa talks about her mother, Barbara: with unalloyed love and respect.Barbara  is truly the mother "jackpot," as Lisa likes to put it. She is positive, kind, and generous, and gave her three daughters an idyllic childhood in many ways. Now 93 and still going strong, she grew rugged and hardy during her Minnesota childhood. She grew up in Duluth, and then as a teenager, started going to boarding school in New York, which required taking three different trains.But even that journey, which many would see as an intimidating challenge, Barbara made into a positive. During train layovers in Chicgao, she would spend hours in the record department of a department store (yes, such departments were a thing back then)  listening to records. She went on to Smith College, then became an incredibly loving mother to her daughters.Lisa Van Dusen is an artist and the creator and host of First Person, a civic engagement champion and executive director of the Palo Alto Community Fund. Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea PerryProducer: Claire TrageserSocial Media: Claire TrageserMother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.com.Note: Our sister podcast, Mother Mine, has moved to a separate feed. Click here to listen to it on Apple Podcasts. 
Valerie Jarrett  needs very little introduction. She's been a political force since the 1980s, when she worked first for Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, then for his successor, Richard Daley.In 1991, she hired a young woman named Michelle Robinson —and thus was born a long friendship and working relationship with the Obamas. Jarrett was a senior White House advisor and is now president of the Obama Foundation.She was a single mother who, in spite of an insanely busy work life, always made certain that her daughter, Laura, knew she came first.Laura Jarrett has also had a very impressive career. She's the anchor of "Early Start" on CNN, and previously worked as a political correspondent covering the Justice Department. And before that, like her mother, she was an attorney in Chicago.Laura is also a mother of a two-year-old, which gives her mother Valerie a new role of grandmother—one that she's embraced wholeheartedly. Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea PerryProducer: Claire TrageserSocial Media: Claire TrageserMother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.com.Note: Our sister podcast, Mother Mine, has moved to a separate feed. Click here to listen to it on Apple Podcasts. 
Benter Akoth was born and lives in Kenya, where education is often seen as an opportunity that is given only to boys. But Benter has wanted to change that ever since she was told in primary school that girls could also be things like doctors, engineers, and architects, if they got educated. Although her own education was cut short, she passed on her conviction that girls should be educated too to her son Enos Magaga. He has taken this ideal and made it his life’s work.This week Katie Semro fills in as host for Katie Hafner, and talks with Magaga about how his mother taught him to value education for girls and to respect women despite this being completely contrary to what he saw around him.For more about Magaga's work educating girls in Kenya with Beads for Education visit their website: http://www.beadsforeducation.org/Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah).Music composed and performed by Andrea Perry.Producer: Katie SemroExecutive Producer: Katie HafnerMother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud. Note: Our sister podcast, Mother Mine, has moved to its own feed. Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts, or search for Mother Mine wherever you listen. 
Rita Kelly Mullan worked as a nurse, founded the nonprofit The Irish National Caucus, successfully lobbied the U.S. government to recognize human rights issues in Northern Ireland, received the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights, was named one of the Top 100 Peacemakers by Irish America Magazine, and testified multiple times before Congress.But she was  described as a ‘Belfast housewife’ in a  1979 story in The New York Times. Born in Northern Ireland in 1940, Rita went on to become a key part of U.S. involvement there. She helped lobby for the passage of the MacBride Principles, a code of conduct for U.S. companies doing business in Northern Ireland. She emigrated to the U.S. as a single mother with her two kids in 1976 to escape the violent conflict between Ireland and Northern Ireland. After arriving, she was able to find a job as a nurse in Arkansas, then moved her family to Washington D.C. to start her nonprofit and lobby the government.This week, Katie speaks with Rita’s daughter, Bronagh Hanley,  about her childhood and her mother’s work. Bronagh is the founder of Big Noise PR, a  San Francisco-based public relations firm.Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea PerryProducer: Alice Hudson, Claire TrageserMother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.com.Note: Our sister podcast, Mother Mine, has moved to a separate feed. Click here to listen to it on Apple Podcasts. 
In her late 30s Molly Luther went back to school to become a composer. It was the 1950s and going back to school at her age was unusual as was her career choice. But she was passionate and she gambled it all — her marriage, money from her mother — to pursue her dream. And her story is like that of many people, she started off well, but then things took a downward turn and never came back up. After all, most people’s lives aren't a fairy tale. But despite the difficulties and sorrows, Molly's daughter Meg Luther Lindholm felt such unconditional love from her mother that it continues to give her strength decades after her mother's death.   Katie Semro fills in as host and talks with Meg about the passionate woman who was her mother, and the heartbreaking life she led. More about Molly:Listen to Molly Luther's Music. Meg's episode about her mother, The Golden Haired Girl, on her podcast Uplifted. Meg's Mother Mine Episode: 22 PassionateArtwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah).Music composed and performed by Andrea Perry.Producer: Katie SemroExecutive Producer: Katie HafnerMother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud. 
Author and journalist Sara Davidson is an award-winning storyteller, and she says she learned that skill from her mother Alice. Every night before bed, Alice would tell Sara and her sister the next installment in a serial story about a miniature girl named P Winky Smith who was so small she could fit in your pocket. But that doesn’t mean their relationship was idyllic by any stretch. For Sara, there were high highs and low lows in her childhood. Her mother was funny and once had dreams of being a comedic actress (she also had one of the first nose jobs in L.A.!) but she could also be derisive, mean and stubborn.Alice then developed dementia, and for Sara this was the first time she could truly love her mother, in part because ailing Alice had forgotten many of the things they had fought about.Together, Sara and Katie talk about dashed dreams, nose jobs, and the challenges of growing up with such a complicated mother, especially Alice Davidson, who was known as the “send-back queen” because she never settled for a dish that wasn’t perfectly prepared in a restaurant.Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea PerryProducers: Alice Hudson, Claire TrageserSocial Media: Ilana NevinsSpecial thanks to Sarge, for permission to use the clip  from his routine about the beleaguered Jewish husband.Mother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.comNote: Our sister podcast, Mother Mine, has moved to a separate feed. Click here to listen to it on Apple Podcasts. 
There is so much fascination around cults and extreme religions in popular culture, with movies like Midsommar and series like Wild Wild Country. We seem to have an endless appetite for stories about how people find themselves in thrall to a group and its ideas -- as well as its leader .But what if you were born into the inner sanctum of such a group?  That was the case for Erin Prophet. Her mother, Elizabeth Prophet, was at one time the leader of The Church Universal and Triumphant, which at its height boasted 50,000 members worldwide.Elizabeth's followers considered her an Ascended Master and Messenger of God. Her 1989 prediction of a nuclear conflagration prompted her followers to build fallout shelters and bunkers in Montana and gather enough food and supplies to last for years. Of course, the nuclear Armageddon didn't happen.Described by critics as a cult, The Church Universal and Triumphant is where Erin grew up. Her mother worked 24 hours a day, but she also loved to dance and would occasionally indulge in a glass of wine, which was against church rules. Erin’s memoir, Prophet’s Daughter, is her attempt to explore the complexity of her mother.Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea PerryProducers: Alice Hudson, Claire TrageserSocial Media: Ilana NevinsMother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.com Note: Our sister podcast, Mother Mine, has moved to a separate feed. Click here to listen to it on Apple Podcasts. 
Although we usually celebrate mothers here on Our Mothers Ourselves, once a year for Fathers' Day we celebrate a father. This year Katie Semro, from the Mother Mine mini-series, fills in for Katie Hafner as host, and talks with Isabella Di Pietro about her father Luca who owns and runs the Tarallucci e Vino restaurants in NYC. Katie talks with Isabella about how the family rose to the challenges of the pandemic by creating the organization Feed the Frontlines NYC which not only helped them save their restaurant and keep their staff, but also helped other restaurants do the same whilst feeding health care workers and New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity. Listen to hear the story of how good food, soccer, and an open mind make Luca an extraordinary father. Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah).Music composed and performed by Andrea Perry.Producer: Katie SemroExecutive Producer: Katie HafnerMother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud. 
Divorce is hard on anyone, and sometimes the children of divorce become pawns in their parents' game of revenge. But what happens when that goes too far? It’s known as ‘parental alienation.' One parent uses tactics to make the children hate or fear the other parent so much that they begin to reject them as a parent altogether.That’s what happened to Olivia  (her name has been changed to protect privacy) and her brother. Olivia shares with Katie how she became a puppet to her father, whose only goal was to turn his children against his ex-wife.This isn’t just run of the mill bitterness engendered by divorce. ‘Parental alienation’ is a term recognized by courts and mental health professionals, and for Olivia and her brother, it took years before they understood exactly what their father had done.Olivia and her brother truly believed their mother didn’t love them. In return, they treated her with disdain and disrespect, always lamenting how much they’d rather be with their father.In this episode, Katie hears about this long journey and how Olivia now considers her mom her best friend.Read the original article in The Atlantic here. And you can listen to an interview on NPR with the author here.Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea PerryProducer: Alice HudsonExecutive Producer: Katie HafnerSocial Media: Sophie McNultySpecial thanks to Barbara Bradley Hagerty, for putting us in touch with Oliva.Mother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.com
This week, Katie Semro, from the Mother Mine mini-series, fills in for Katie Hafner as host. Katie interviews her childhood best friend Brittany Zaccagnini about her mother Linda Steed Heidenreich’s 54 years of life lived fully.Linda was a vivacious woman who made everyone she met feel special. She loved her family, and also worked hard in a variety of careers. And yet, as Brittany tells Katie, her mother never put any pressure on her children to be perfect. Linda managed to encourage them to strive hard but was never disappointed with them. She asked only that they try their best. Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah).Music composed and performed by Andrea Perry.Producer: Katie SemroExecutive Producer: Katie HafnerMother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud. 
Happy Mother's Day!  Sending some extra love today to all the extraordinary mothers out there!And speaking of extraordinary mothers....This week, Katie interviews her sisters-in law, Lori Wolfson and Andrea Wachter, about  their mother, Bernice Wachter. Bernice raised her kids in quintessential “Mama Bear" mode, striking the perfect balance between giving guidance and granting independence. She gave her children the room to make their own mistakes, but still pushed them to do what she sensed was right. And through all the ups and downs, Bernice has never lost her wonderful sense of humor!Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea PerryProducers: Alice Hudson & Sophie McNultyMother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud.Also, starting this week, we're  bringing you the Mother Mine mini-series from producer Katie Semro, right here on the Our Mothers Ourselves Buzzsprout feed. Mother Mine is about our mothers and how they’ve shaped us. It will be coming to you as 75 short episodes in the voices of people from across the globe. I hope you’ll listen along as we explore who our mothers are and who we have become because of them. 
Sarah Kuhn is a busy person. She's the founder of Juna, a community and app for moms and moms-to-be; she hosts the The Juna Women Podcast; and she's a mom herself -- three times over. In this episode, Sarah talks with Katie about her own mother, Lorraine Fixler, who was born in the UK and emigrated to the United States as a child.  Lorraine met Sarah’s dad while working in his law practice.Lorraine was the kind of mother who could run a  business and still host the best slumber parties for her daughter.In our interview, Sarah discusses the dramatic way her relationship with her mom has changed  in the last decade. Lorraine was just 60 when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She's been in decline since Sarah was in her 20s. Through genetic testing, Sarah has discovered that she too is at high risk for developing Alzheimer's. Sarah talks about the way she has struggled without her mother’s guiding hand as she raises her own children but also the way she works to hold on to the good memories she has of the vivacious and wonderful woman who raised her.Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea PerryProducer: Alice HudsonAssociate Producer: Sophie McNultyMother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.com 
Sonia Levitin was born to a Jewish family in Berlin in 1934, just as Germany was entering its darkest period in history. With Hitler tightening his grip on the country, Sonia's mother, Helene Goldstein Wolff, plotted their escape. In 1938, Helene fled with her children first to Switzerland, then America. Helene instilled in her daughters a sense of dignity and the courage to persevere—lessons that have lasted a lifetime. As her aging mother developed dementia, Sonia became her caretaker, repaying the tender kindness and loving protection Helene brought to Sonia’s own childhood. Helene died in 1993, and Sonia would give anything to tell her mother just how much she loved and appreciated her, one final time. In this week’s episode, Sonia tells Katie about her early life in Berlin, the family's escape to Switzerland, and the deep love she and her mother shared for each other.Journey to America, Sonia's fictional account of the family's escape from Germany,  is both beautiful and harrowing. Sonia Levitin's website can be found here.Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea PerryAssociate Producer: Sophie McNultyProducer: Alice HudsonMother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.com 
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