Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life
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Featured story: Frankie’s Second Chance

As a teenager, Frankie was a high school football star whose picture was in his hometown newspaper every week. Years after graduating, Frankie was back in the paper—as a criminal. In his new audio diary, Frankie takes a recorder along as he tries to repair his relationship with his family.

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Featured story: Friday Night Lights

Football, Frankie said, had completely changed him. He was no longer seen as a loser. But the same couldn’t be said for the Valley Head Tigers. This week on The Radio Diaries Podcast, listen to Frankie’s teenage diary.

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Featured story: The Ski Troops of WWII

The men of the 10th Mountain Division led a series of daring assaults against the Nazis in the mountains of Italy. After returning home, many of these soldiers helped to create the modern ski industry.

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Diaries We give people tape recorders and help them document their own lives in their own words

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Melissa: 16 Years Later

As an 18 year old raised in the foster care system, Melissa took NPR listeners along when she gave birth to her son Issaiah. Over the past 16 years Melissa and her son have faced many challenges, from eviction notices to her son’s life-threatening medical diagnosis. In her new diary, Melissa chronicles her life as a working single mother, and reveals things about her past that her son has never known.

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Amanda: 16 Years Later

At the age of 17, Amanda knew she was gay. But her parents kept insisting she’d grow out of it. Today, a lot has changed in the country, and within her own family. In her new story, Amanda goes back to her parents to find out how they came to accept having a daughter who is gay.

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Portraits Extraordinary stories from ordinary places

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Selma Koch, Bra Saleswoman

94-year old Selma Koch runs the Town Shop, one of New York’s last old-style bra fitting shops.

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Walter Backerman, Seltzer Man

Once there were thousands of seltzer men in New York City. Today, Walter Backerman is one of the last.

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Histories Weaving together oral histories and archival tape to bring the past to life

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The Pygmy in the Zoo

On September 8th, 1906, New York’s Bronx Zoo unveiled a new exhibit that would attract thousands of visitors. Inside a cage, in the monkey house, was a man.

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The Gospel Ranger

Outside the Appalachian mountains, his name was barely known. But Claude Ely influenced some of the pioneers of rock & roll.

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