Show cover of Our Mothers Ourselves

Our Mothers Ourselves

Katie Hafner -- longtime New York Times reporter and author of "Mother Daughter Me" -- interviews the offspring of one extraordinary mother. The concept is simple. And sometimes simple turns profound.

Tracks

The "Relentlessly Positive" Yvonne Young Clark – A Conversation with Carol Lawson
A companion interview to Season 3 of Lost Women of Science, this episode is about the trailblazing mechanical engineer Yvonne Young "Y.Y." Clark.  Katie talks with Y.Y,'s daughter, Carol Lawson, about what it was like to be the daughter of such a brilliant -- and pragmatic -- woman.YY has been nicknamed “The First Lady of Engineering,” because of her groundbreaking achievements as a Black female mechanical engineer. Season 3 of Lost Women of Science traces her trajectory, from her unconventional childhood interest in fixing appliances to civil rights breakthroughs in the segregated South; from her trailblazing role at historically Black colleges and universities to her work at NASA. What can YY teach us about what it means to be the first in a scientific field, especially as a Black woman in America?In this episode, Carol talks about what Y.Y. was like as a mom, Y.Y.'s role model of a marriage, her penmanship standards, and her 1968 Firebird.Composer:  Andrea PerryArtist: Traci MimsOur Mothers Ourselves is a production of Odradek Studios in San Francisco
32:13 10/27/2022
For Father's Day. Talmadge Everett King Sr.: "If Your Father Builds a Wooden House...."
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." 
39:39 06/19/2022
Eve Metz's Hidden History. A conversation with Julie Metz
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.
35:26 04/27/2022
Mary Trageser, Self-Deprecating Matriarch. A Conversation with Charlie Trageser
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.
30:53 02/03/2022
Gladys Barry, aka Omaha Gigi, Grandma Poker Player. A Conversation With Michele Barry
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.
30:19 01/25/2022
Dorothy Nayer, Brave Survivor. A conversation with Louise Nayer
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.
36:08 01/06/2022
Joy Liasson, whose warmth carries on. A conversation with Mara Liasson
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. 
35:21 12/03/2021
Ginny Hughes, Unflappable Mom. A Conversation with Mallory Woodruff
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. 
39:06 11/04/2021
Barbara Van Dusen, the Jackpot of Moms. A Conversation With Lisa Van Dusen
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. 
35:33 10/07/2021
Valerie Jarrett, Political Rock Star and Rock-Stable Mom. A Conversation With Laura Jarrett
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. 
36:12 09/09/2021
Benter Akoth, Determined to Educate Girls. A Conversation with Enos Magaga.
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. 
30:44 08/26/2021
Rita Kelly Mullan, Agent of Peaceable Change. A Conversation With Bronagh Hanley
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. 
33:46 08/12/2021
Molly Luther, Passionate Composer. A Conversation with Meg Luther Lindholm
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. 
30:28 07/29/2021
Alice Davidson, Send-Back Queen. A Conversation with Sara Davidson
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. 
32:20 07/15/2021
Elizabeth Clare Prophet, Religious Leader. A Conversation with Erin Prophet
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. 
32:35 07/01/2021
Where is Mother Mine?
We've heard from some of you that having Mother Mine episodes mixed in with Our Mothers Ourselves episodes is getting confusing. So we've decided to switch Mother Mine over to it's own podcast feed. To keep listening to it, just search for Mother Mine in your favorite podcast app and hit subscribe. You'll then have access to all the old episodes and the new ones as they come out. Click here to listen to Mother Mine on Apple Podcasts. We hope you will continue to enjoy listening to both Our Mothers Ourselves and Mother Mine. Thank you! Katie Hafner & Katie Semro
00:36 06/25/2021
Luca Di Pietro: Creating community around food. A Conversation with Isabella Di Pietro
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. 
31:06 06/20/2021
Parental Alienation: When Divorcing Parents Go Too Far
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
30:40 06/03/2021
Linda Heidenreich, A Life Fully Lived. A Conversation with Brittany Zaccagnini
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. 
30:35 05/20/2021
Bernice Wachter, Mama Bear. A Conversation with Lori Wolfson and Andrea Wachter
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. 
33:27 05/09/2021
Lorraine Fixler -- The Long Goodbye. Sarah Kuhn on the gradual loss of the vivacious mother she once knew.
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 
32:41 04/22/2021
Helene Goldstein Wolff, who saved her children from the Nazis. A conversation with Sonia Levitin
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 
33:47 04/08/2021
Nicole Harrison. @AstronautAbby talks about her pragmatic, supportive mom
Every month is women's history month at Our Mothers Ourselves. Still, we wanted to mark the occasion by talking to a young woman who has plans to make a big mark on history.  This week, Katie speaks with Abby Harrison, also known as Astronaut Abby. Abby has wanted to be an astronaut since she was a little girl, and the 23-year-old Harvard research assistant wants to be the first person to walk on Mars. Abby and her mom, Nicole Harrison, have launched the nonprofit The Mars Generation to encourage young women to become interested in the STEM fields. Only one in ten astronauts has been a woman, and as Abby sees it, that statistic needs to change. Abby has her sights set much higher and believes she can inspire the next generation of astronauts, with the potential to reach Mars within 20 years. NASA recently promised to put a woman and the next man on the moon by 2024. Abby tells Katie how her mom demonstrated strength and drive throughout her life, growing up with a single mom herself, then becoming one to Abby and her sister. Now, Nicole Harrison runs a successful social media marketing agency and is a space exploration advocate. Abby also talks about her recently published book, Dream Big! How to Reach for Your Stars which offers advice on planning and achieving your dreams. Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea PerryAssociate Producer: Sophie McNultyProducer: Alice Hudson Mother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.com 
33:24 03/25/2021
Harriet Turkle -- Sherry Turkle's Homage to her Mother, who plays a central role in "The Empathy Diaries"
This week, Katie speaks with MIT social scientist Sherry Turkle about her charismatic and vibrant mother, Harriet. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Harriet, a spirited woman, longed for a husband and family. Her first marriage, however, did not work out. Her in-laws did not approve of her non-Kosher lifestyle and her husband had started performing Skinnerian-like experiments on their infant daughter Sherry. Harriet left him, taking Sherry with her and covering up all traces of her former marriage. Harriet soon remarried and Sherry grew up with her being told to pretend that he was her biological father. The lies and omissions that surrounded Sherry’s childhood colored her relationship with her mom, leading to anger, and what Sherry describes as an “indirect cruelty” toward her mother.To learn more about Sherry and Harriet, read Sherry’s her new book, The Empathy Diaries, A Memoir, which explores her relationship with her mother. Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea PerryHost: Katie HafnerProducer: Alice HudsonAssociate Producer: Sophie McNulty
36:24 03/05/2021
A Mother, a Daughter, and Little Choice. A Conversation about China's One-Child Policy (独生子女政策) with Simeng Dai.
As mothers, we try to raise our children with all the resources, attention, love, and support we can muster, but sometimes forces far bigger than us make doing so impossible. This week, Katie speaks with Simeng Dai, a Facebook data engineer who grew up in China under its One-Child Policy. In her conversation with Katie, Simeng discusses the challenges she and her mother, Aiying Huang, faced in 1990’s China. As the mother of three children, Aiying underwent a forced late-term abortion and, eventually, a mandatory sterilization. Simeng, Aiying’s second-born daughter, grew up apart from the family, feeling unwanted and unloved.This episode is about troubled motherhood, and the systems that prevent mothers from raising their children with the resources, attention, and love that they need. To learn more about Simeng Dai and Aiying Huang, check out Oh! Mama, a podcast Simeng made that is centered on an interview with Aiying. Note: The podcast is in Mandarin. You can find a translation here. NOTE: This episode contains disturbing content describing forced abortions.Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea Perry Producer: Alice HudsonAssociate Producer: Sophie McNultyPlease contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.com Translation:作为母亲,我们尽我们所能提供的所有资源,注意力和爱心来抚养我们的孩子,但有时力量远大于我们所能做到的。本周,凯蒂(Katie)与Facebook数据工程师戴思孟(Simeng Dai)进行了交谈,他是根据“一个孩子的政策”在中国长大的。 在与Katie的对话中,Simeng讨论了她和母亲黄爱英在1990年代中国面临的挑战。作为三个孩子的母亲,爱英进行了强制性的后期流产,并最终进行了强制绝育。爱英的第二胎女儿西蒙(Simeng)在家庭之外长大,感到不受欢迎和被爱。这集讲述的是母亲的困境,以及防止母亲利用自己需要的资源,注意力和爱抚养孩子的系统。 要了解有关戴思孟和黄爱英的更多信息,请查看哦!妈妈,是西蒙制作的播客,重点是对艾英的采访。注意:播客为普通话。您可以在这里找到翻译。注意:此剧集包含令人不安的内容。
31:26 02/25/2021
Flora Horne. "She Broke the Cycle." A Conversation with Malaika Horne and Gwen Moore
This week, Katie talks with Dr. Malaika Horne, a public policy scholar and author, and her sister Gwen Moor, curator at the Missouri History Museum, about their inspiring mother, Flora. Flora Horne was born in Mississippi to sharecropper parents in 1916. During the Great Migration of the 1930’s, she moved to St. Louis with her family. There, she married and raised six children at the height of the Jim Crow era. Although Flora was deprived of a full education, she instilled the values of learning in her children from a young age. To Flora, education was the wisest path to independence and prosperity. In this episode, Malaika and Gwen discuss the racism and violence that their family faced in the middle of the 20th century. They also discuss the many ways in which Flora rose above near-impossible circumstances to provide loving, nurturing homes for her children.To learn more about Flora, her life,  and her children, you can find Malaika’s book here: Mother Wit: Exalting Motherhood While Honoring a Great Mother  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 on the Our Mothers Ourselves Web site.
32:41 02/11/2021
Maria Tallchief: By Turns Firebird, Cinderella, Mother, Muse. A Conversation with Elise Paschen
Maria Tallchief  was  born Elizabeth Marie Tall Chief  in 1925 in Fairfax, Oklahoma, where her grandfather had served as chief in the Osage Nation. Seventeen years later, she found her way to New York and became one of the most famous American ballerinas of the 20th century.She rejected suggestions that she change her name to Tallchieva, at the time when many American dancers adopted Russian stage names, Tallchief would become forever linked to some of George Balanchine's most transformational ballets. (Not only was she his prinicipal muse, but she was married to him  for six years). In 1949, when she danced the title role of Igor Stravinsky's  Firebird to Balanchine's incredibly complex choreography, she caused a sensation. No one had seen anything like it. At the height of her career, Tallchief was considered  the most technically brilliant ballerina the U.S. had ever produced.I spoke with Maria Tallchief's daughter, the renowned poet Elise Paschen,  about her mother's childhood, her devotion to Balanchine, her hard work and self discipline, her marriages, and the ways in which she expressed her love for her daughter. Elise read two poems she wrote about her mother.And in the Department of Odd Coincidences, there's this: For years, every time I've moved (and I've moved a lot), I've taken with me a much loved  book I own, titled Poetry Speaks. I bought it for the written poems, but also for the  three CD's it came with, filled with spoken poetry. For years I kept the discs in my car and listened to those CD's while driving, soothed by verse read by the poets themselves:  Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot; Dorothy Parker;  Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg,  Sylvia Plath. At some point after Spotify had taken the steering wheel of  my listening  habits, I lost the poetry CD's. But the book remains in my possession. And I keep it close at hand on the bookshelf next to my desk. Occasionally, I take it down, open it, and read whatever poem I happen upon. Then, a few weeks ago, just  before Elise and I were set to talk, I glanced at the shelf, and my eyes lingered  just long enough on Poetry Speaks to take in the names of the volume's editors: Elise Paschen. How strange that I'd never bothered to read the name. Yet now, how fitting. And thirty minutes later, there she was, reading poetry -- her own -- aloud.Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea PerryProducer: Alice HudsonSocial Media: Sophie McNultyMother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.com
33:53 01/28/2021
Lea Alcott's Unerring Support for her Daughter's Golf Passion. A Conversation with Amy Alcott
As anyone who's watched the new HBO documentary Tiger can tell you, when you catch the golf bug as a kid, it can stick with you for a lifetime. Amy Alcott fell for golf when she was a little girl growing up in Los Angeles in the 1960s. Her mother gave her garden over to her daughter's passion, and the front yard became a putting and chipping green. Soup cans were hammered into the ground to make the holes.  It paid off. Amy became a member of the LPGA Tour in 1975, and won five major championships and 29 LPGA tour events in all. She's in the World Golf Hall of Fame.What kind of kid -- especially a girl in pre-title IV era --has the self confidence to pursue a dream like that? And what kind of mother would glory in her daughter's delight, as Lea Alcott so clearly did in hers?Katie and Amy chat about Lea's own childhood, the idea of giving to your daughter what you didn't have access to, and the evocative powers of a good glass of Scotch whiskey.Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea PerryProducer: Alice HudsonMother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud.
28:40 01/14/2021
Anne Morrow Lindbergh -- "You'll Have the Sky." A Conversation with Reeve Lindbergh
In 1929, Anne Spencer Morrow,  a 23-year-old introverted intellectual, married a man who was, at the time, arguably the most celebrated person in the world. He was Charles Lindbergh, and his incredible solo flight over the Atlantic in 1927 had catapulted him to a wild level of fame.  It was Charles Lindbergh, decades before Jackie Kennedy and Princess Diana, whose fame first gave rise to packs of news photographers. They followed the Lindberghs everywhere. When the Lindberghs' infant son Charles Jr. was kidnapped in1932 , the press paid frenzied attention to the crime;  the story remained in the headlines for months.Among the many heartbreaking artifacts that remain from the kidnapping is a front-page item in The New York Times from March 3, 1932: It's a brief notice,  stating that the baby had been ill: "In the hope that whoever has taken the baby may see and understand the necessity for care, Mrs. Lindbergh...gave out the diet she had been following." It included -- underscoring a young mother's anguish in the most painful conceivable way -- "half a cup of orange juice on waking."                                                                         * * *Anne became both an aviator and a writer, and her book, Gift From the Sea, has sold some 3 million copies since it was first published in 1955.Katie talks with Anne's youngest child, Reeve Lindbergh, also a writer.  In her 2018 memoir, Two Lives, Reeve reflected on her own “Two Lives,” navigating her role as the public face of her family while, at the same time, leading a quiet existence in rural Vermont. Charles Lindbergh was a complicated man. Historians have documented his respect for the Nazis in prewar Germany. And in 2003, it was revealed that he had led a double life, having had a years-long affair with a woman in Germany with whom he had three children. But that isn't what Katie wanted to talk to Reeve Lindbergh about.  In the blog post that accompanies this episode, Katie writes about her reasons for not asking Reeve about her father's other families.  It can be found on the podcast's website. Here's the blog post.Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)Music composed and performed by Andrea PerryProducer: Alice HudsonMother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud.
32:22 12/31/2020
One of our favorite episodes: Julie Andrews -- She is Our Sunshine. A Conversation with Emma Walton Hamilton
"She's probably the most resilient person I know." -- Emma Walton HamiltonFor the holidays, we're revisiting Katie's conversation  with Emma Walton Hamilton, daughter of the extraordinary Julie Andrews, about her mom's difficult childhood and her determination to give her own children stability and, above all, constant love.Julie Andrews's two memoirs, Home, and Home Work, are at once heartbreaking and awe-inspiring. While reading the books in preparation for the interview, Katie toggled between listening to Julie's narration, and reading. She was struck by how differently she absorbed the material depending on the medium. That is, when she heard Julie's familiar voice, so thoroughly had she absorbed the calming effect of that voice over the years, she found it hard to feel the darkness of the material.Emma speaks about her mother's innocence, well into adulthood, a true surprise given the effect that parts of her childhood could have had on her.Emma and her mother have written more than 30 children's books together, and they co-host the podcast Julie's Library.Art by Paula ManginMusic by Andrea PerryProducer: Alice HudsonVisit us at: Our Mothers Ourselves Special thanks to Liz Mitchell for permission to use her beautiful rendition of You Are My Sunshine.
36:20 12/25/2020