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July 31, 2007

Life On The Farm

Life On The Farm

Louise Bicks grew up on small family farm in Iredell County, N.C. Now in her 80s, she clearly remembers the more humble way she and her family lived - kids blew up hog bladders for balls to play with, and sometimes wore clothes sewn from feed sacks.

One of Louise's favorite stories is about the blood transfusion given to her mother by a local doc. The doctor drained blood out of her father's arm into a pitcher, then got the blood into the arm of Louise's mother. Her mother survived and thrived. Louise talks with Scott Jagow about why she's never forgotten that story.

The East Village Garden Club

In 1999, Jeanne Felknor moved to a rundown neighborhood on the East Side of Chicago. At first, she thought she had made a terrible mistake - there were signs of crime and drug use, and trash lined the streets. Not knowing what else to do, Jeanne started cleaning up the streets herself, and then she began planting gardens in the parkways between the sidewalks and the streets. Before long, she had the help of dozens of kids, and the neighborhood was transformed in more ways than one.

Ahmed's Diary

In Ahmed's last diary entry, he talked about the death of a Christian neighbor. Afterwards, Ahmed and his neighbors took turns guarding the Christian's house. Then one day coming home, Ahmed was told by a U.S. serviceman that American troops were going to occupy the vacated house. Ahmed feared that he and his family might face a crossfire between U.S. troops and insurgents - and that's just what happened on the first night.

Listener Follow Up - Bullying

Artist Caroline Keem heard The Story's interview with Terrance, a 12 year-old-boy who was bullied at school. The interview brought back memories. In the 1980s, Caroline used to get bullied on the school bus - by Girl Scouts. Scott talks to Caroline about a childhood photo that recently hushed the bullies' voices in her head.

Caroline's Letter To The Story:

Guest Host Scott Jagow talked with artist Caroline Keem on July 31, 2007 about her experiences growing up being bullied. This is letter Caroline first sent to The Story.

I'm listening to Terrance tell his story and I wish I could tell him "DON'T LISTEN TO THOSE KIDS THEY ARE WRONG." Kids bully, it's just a fact. They are just modeling what they see at home and on TV.

I was mercilessly bullied as I was growing up. I was constantly being told how ugly, stupid, worthless I was. Even people I made the mistake of calling my friends made darn sure that I always knew how I was just WRONG and didn't fit in the world. Eventually, after enough years  of hearing this, I believed it.

I recently have been going back and scanning photographs my father took as we were all growing up (so all of my siblings could have a copy - but that's another story!). I opened these photo albums expecting to find the fat, ugly kid I always believed that I was. And you know what? She wasn't there. I saw a beautiful girl who wasted too much time and energy avoiding being picked on instead of becoming the woman she deserved to be.

I look at the pictures of Terrance on the website and I don't see a short kid. I see a boy with bright eyes and a handsome face. Terrance, those kids are wrong. They are afraid because they know they'll be working for you some day.

- Caroline Keem

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