Podcast

Episode 10 – Sister Ardeth Plattie, OP

Baltimore, MD
Born 1936

“If life is this short, let me do it well.”

Sister Ardeth is a Dominican Nun, part of the Marywood Sisterhood in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Today she curates and cares for the oldest Catholic cemetery in Baltimore, as well as cultivates orchards and vegetable gardens from which 130 local families are fed.  She has led a life of activism and peace spreading, and has a lot to say about community.

Episode 7 – David Netterfield

Rantoul, IL
Born 1938

“We knew everyone on this small street.”

David told me of his cherished days working with his grandfather.  They were bored, and so they talked, a lot.  Could that happen today, or do we distract ourselves with our smartphones too often?

Episode 5 – HJ Smith

Midland, Michigan
Born 1942

“We refrigerate our food, so we don’t have to go to the market every day… then we never see our neighbors.”

HJ Smith is a former teacher and has a reputation for a steel trap mind.  Indeed, she remembers a song she heard on the radio years ago called “Kalvinator“.  In this clip, she explains what a Kalvinator is, and how it affected neighborhoods.

Episode 2 – Sonee Lavendette

Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Born 1936

“He templed his fingers, leaned back in his chair, and said, ‘Mrs. Lavendette, why do you reject your duty as a mother?'”

During the hour and a half I spent with Sonee, I came to believe that she is my elder self.  She fought against a lot of chauvinism, and paved the way for women in the engineering and automotive industries – all without a formal degree (she earned her Bachelors at age 55, and her Masters at 58).  You’ll love her.

Episode 1 – Virgil Westdale

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Born 1918

“It was as if the Statue of Liberty were saying, ‘Welcome home, soldier.  You won the war.  America is still free.'”

Virgil Westdale is one of my favorite people and a fellow author.  He served in the most decorated battalions during World War Two — still more decorated than any other to this day.  In this episode, he tells the story of how he got home after World War Two was over, including liberating a concentration camp.