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 4 – John Wilkes Booth

New Orleans, LA
Born 1945

“[I] worked on the Saturn V.  That was a rocket and a half.”

John Wilkes Booth is by far one of my favorite people.  He has a twinkle in his eye and is always trying to make someone laugh.  He is the self-proclaimed volunteer tour guide for those who came to the Greater New Orleans Area to help after Hurricane Katrina, and is full of fascinating knowledge.  In this Podcast, John tells us about the myriad experience he has had.

Episode 3 – Hank Gamel

Rantoul, IL
Born 1958

Hank Gamel is the Executive Director of Hope Meadows, a subsidiary of Generations of Hope.  He oversees the retirement community which partners seniors with foster families, and has a view of both sides of the human age.

Episode 2 – Sonee Lapadot

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.