689: Digging Up the Bones
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And in addition to like translating passages I decided to make like a nine by three foot mural out of magazine paper depicting Aeneas Journey Journey into hell. Where when you say magazine paper you mean you're cutting gliders out of a magazine? Rush meticulously ripping teeny pieces of different colors. There's a magazine paper and making like a mosaic and I remember that J. Lo was on the mural for some reason because she's wearing like a white dressed asked I kinda look so it was like a Toga E. Yeah Yeah so she got to be Daito and how I teach her signed a twenty page research paper on any subject in the world like they do anything at all. It was obvious to Emmanuel what to do. The story of Troy. The place at the Trojan war happened the walled city city but they pulled the Trojan horse into and in doing research for this project. I found out about this. Guy Named Heinrich Schliemann Heinrich Schliemann. A man who also read those stories got obsessed He's born in Germany in the eighteen. Hundreds he's like a businessman a merchant in Russia and then he like moved to California during the Gold Gold Rush and opened a bank. It said that he would carry around like copies of homer and he taught himself ancient Greek. Click in two years. He taught himself ancient ancient Greek. Which is insane to me Just so he could like read the books and like the language of origin anyway but basically he amasses huge fortune origin and once he has his fortune he decides that he's going to find troy at the time people weren't sure if it was a real place or just like A story like a bland us and and it is kind of a dumb question but in that period did archaeologists even exist like. was that even a job yet. It's not really a job It's like a very new. Feel this whole idea of digging up the past. And so there there are like sort of hobbyist dabbling in but these hobbyists by the eighteen seventies had figured out from various geographic lose at home or gives them the tax about Troy's proximity to the Dardanelles and Mount Ida. They figured out where a likely location occasion for the city might be the place called Turkey and at that spot was kind of a big mound of dirt and Schliemann gets going so he starts to dig careers dozens and dozens of workers and when he's digging he starts to find basically like these these layers of cities that are built on top of each other. So there's it's a pottery and like foundations buildings. When a city burned to the ground they would build another city rape on top of it But none of them are what he's looking. I'm for like what he is looking for. He wants to find basically like gold silver and bronze. Like that's the thing he thinks is going to be like the signifier that this is troy away. Because he's thinking of this treasure rich city that homer describes the Iliad and he's also thinking that like well it's got to be further down it has to be at the bottom right like troy's going to be at the bottom of the pile and so he keeps digging and it keeps finding more and more layers with cities yes and then he gets to the bottom of these piles of cities and that's where he finds is treasure. He finds exactly what he's looking for. He finds gold. He finds the silver. He Finds Lebron's He calls it Priam's treasure prime being like the king of Troy in the Iliad. There's nothing on it that says like Priam's you've you've retrials uh-huh bank or something. No no nothing like that. It isn't it hard proof that it doesn't bind right. which would have really helped? Can I ask one question. Did you find a huge wooden horse. No huge wooden horse would wouldn't have survived survived. Today's show is the the inadvertent things that happened. When you start digging up the past? And this is the point where Schliemann story gets more complicated Schliemann announce to the world that he's found the city that Hummer was writing about he's bound try. It becomes internationally famous but the truth of the situation is is that the troy at the bottom of the pile with all this treasure her and all this gold that actually was not troy. It was not homers. Try At least that's from thousands of years before troy would have even mm-hmm happened. The troy that he was looking for was actually one of the cities that he had just dug through and destroyed in the process the digging through it to another digging bound. He reaches choice like now. This isn't it throws it on the side is like debris. Yeah that's garbage. Yeah and and basically. He destroyed a big chunk of the ancient city in trying to find the city. The was looking for archaeologists understand. Now was just three layers down and nine litres down so what this means. Is that like for any archaeologist today. WHO's trying to figure out anything that's going on at troy try kind of screwed them over? I called one of these guys. His name is Brian Rose And he was a CO director of excavations at Troy for twenty five of years. He's not a fan of Schliemann so he didn't really know what he was doing. So there's a lot of information that we've lost on account of his speed and digging. When I look through his notebooks he'll say something like Byzantine building and debris found today dismantled now? That doesn't tell me if it's early middle late Byzantine what the building looked like was it. Many rooms was it only one room. What did he find there? It was just debris that was in his way debris that was in his way that Schliemann which is dig up and thrown a pile on the side yeah Schliemann excavated extensively and he had to put the earth that he removed somewhere. Schliemann dumped all the earth from his trenches is in the areas where I wanna dig and part of the reason that he wants to dig in. That area is because there might be writing there until she admits that very hard. Because there's all this dirt all these uprated ruins that are just on top of that area and it would take years and Brian says technology. That doesn't even exist now due to dig it up without doing more damage so you have twenty meters of dump through which you would have to go. In order to get to a deposit that might would have writing of Lebron's h date. That's something I'd love to be able to do but for now it's just too monumental and undertaking to do it One of the things that has always kind of bugged me about the story. Is that before Schliemann died. They actually figured out that he was wrong or they did. Yeah but he's still remembered to this day for discovering troy and one of the things I remember from that paper I wrote was that really ended up mad at him like like I was mad at him for. You're going to go visit troy and he messed it up for you these big-league kind of but when I talk to Brian about it. He's kind of Zen about it. I would certainly express frustration which Liman in the same way that an archaeologist digging troy and one hundred years would express frustration with me I like his attitude. Yeah I mean I think when you're an archaeologist you kind of have to take the long view. You're aware that people are going to come after you in there. No more than you. So you're very aware of your limitations and that's actually so your show today today on our program. We have all kinds of people going and digging up stuff from the past full of hope but definitely with the wrong stations and the search changes things. WBZ Chicago it's life. I'm IRA glass. Stay with us. They acquired family. We move now from the losers of the Trojan more to the winners or anyway the descendants of the winners the people of Greece. Here's the thing you probably didn't know about Greece. They don't have enough cemetery. Space and cremation is not very popular there. So what they do as when you die. You're buried in the ground and then three or four years later later your family gets together and digs up your bones get you out of the ground space somebody else. One of the producers of our show intimacies parents were both born in Greece. I just traveled there in September with them to do this for the very first time. We're in a rental car. Driving from Athens to a small village in the south called Stupa. Ah It's about four hours away. My Dad's driving. I'm in the front seat MOMS in the back on our way too stupid to exhume. My grandmother my father's father's mom my dad's talking about the cost of gas. How much money it'll cost to keep this car full of gas also other things about gas versus versus? I recognize this conversation not for its content. But Ford's design my dad extraordinarily kind and thoughtful person. He feels so much space with small talk. I hate small talk today. September nineteenth is my mom is sixty six birthday. We weren't supposed to exhume. My grandmother on my mom's birthday was supposed to happen tomorrow because of forecasted rain were doing it today what they gift for my birthday uh this will not be the last time she brings up her birthday may grandmothers spent the last third of her life dying. Her disorder was never successfully diagnosed. Kind of look like Parkinson's kind of looks like Huntington's but it was neither of those things a caretaker. A A distant cousin name Pretty Suda would come and change her diapers twice a day. Feed her baby food growing up. I was kind of afraid of my grandma she. He'd lost her ability to speak and she just kind of looked at me and Moan and cried Korea. One your head have you can control your you have gently knock available movements of your handsome phase and Korea is actually a Greek word. Yeah I mean it means I'm dancing. My mom says she's always answering questions for my dad. I think he prefers it that way. Remember Smith I took. My Mom. Didn't go with my Datu. His mother's funeral he went alone. I figured he'd be doing the second funeral. This reverse funeral alone too and while. I don't know what this process process. Looks like at all the thought of my dad. Zooming his mother's body by himself. It just sounded sad and so a few months ago I decided I wanted to go with him to be there for him. And my fantasy of I'd be by his side holding his hand patient curious even which isn't how it usually goes between us. My Dad doesn't talk about his feelings too often half the time. I think he doesn't even know what they are. But then when I'm around around him I get impatient. I guess this moment just seems really big like a chance for us to be different with each other but then when my mom. Tom Found out that I was going. She decided that she would come to. She doesn't WANNA pass up a chance to see me. She agreed to sit in the backseat. While I try talking to my dad about. We're on our way to go. Do in general not very comfortable in seven days I never was right. Most people are uncomfortable. People in cemeteries but for some reason. I just can't let it go. There must be reason. I don't believe Expected to say hi to say this back and forth so typical practically scripted. He tries to play along to engage. But I never think it's enough. Do you know what I did. Twenty eight actually. She was born in Nineteen twenty five but she is out. There should never smoked. I don't think she ever had any of what did she do. For Fun and cross-stitch friends very few. Uh depressed I Yeah I guess so I. I never thought in terms of the time but I guess your programs uh-huh she good mom I I S. fifteen years of the check engine. Light comes on in the rental oil Roy. It derails the rest of the car ride each conversation circling back to the potentially faulty engine We pull up to his family's village at to the woman who took care of my grandmother could Assu UH is waiting for us in her yard. I haven't seen her in five or six years. She brings us cool. Water keeps remarking on. How absolutely different? I look. I wouldn't didn't recognize you anywhere. She says then a different family friend. Saudi Arabia walks into the yard. Joins US you look exactly the same. She tells me you haven't aged at all signs of that. So much of what there is to talk about is how old each of us is what age looks like on us us and how we all wear it. What buster lacks an hour later? We walked to the graveyard. It's me my mom. My Dad be suited And so they really are is carrying recycled plastic water bottles full of vinegar. She's also carrying small white brushes. The kinds used to scrub dirty pots and pans village ran looks like a caricature of Mediterranean village. The roads aren't paved the homes are allstone. You can see the Mediterranean at a training see in the theater dismounts from anywhere the graveyard is connected to the church which is connected to the school. Everything is dusty. The grades grades are all white. The buildings are away. The grave digger is already at my grandmother's grave. If he's wearing blue overalls and a yellow T.. Shirt he has on a Yankees Cap. His name is Arturo Baseball. Isn't really a thing in this country. Can't imagine where he got the hat. My mom walks to the opposite end of the cemetery where she sits down on a stranger's grieve beneath some shade. She she doesn't want to see my grandmother's body. She says it's a small cemetery. Just a few dozen graves and they're also loved which makes sense. No one is buried for long here here. So as long as the bodies in the ground people come to visit each plot has photos on it bottles of beer and liquor potted plants candles Kamini them. Let my dad hobbles around inspecting the other graves to see who else has died since the last time he was here. They realize that whenever he recognizes the name he confirms research that Yes the person whose name is written on the gravestone is in fact dead in one of the grave is occupied by the priest. Who Bless my grandmother's body just a few years ago at her funeral she? Yeah but I just saw him. My Dad says at my mother's funeral he's dead. They all week. People have been saying to US abysmal. Inaccuracy which I understand as they hope she's melted such a strange way to say. I hope your grandmother's flashing Oregon's have finished decomposing. My taxi driver. Who picked me up from the airport? In Athens told me that it his aunts exhumation he'd had to wash the residual skin and blood off of her bones which is thought so unnerving. I don't think fully fathom debt. Still I stand beside the grave digger defiant as though to say even if none of you are going to look. I'm going to look the more than an hour. There's nothing to look at our tourist a- shoveling out rocks and dirt placing it all in a pile at the foot of the grave nice stand. They're sweating waiting for whatever is going to happen. My Mom keeps sitting on her shady grave. My Dad keeps reading the names off of headstones. Though he's he's running out of names. He recognizes growing up. This village like the rest of Greece was homogeneous everyone was related to everyone but now there are Balkan migrants living here retired Germans and breads even some experts from the US in Greece. They're called sandy strangers rangers father foreigners necks. Eventually he walks over to where I'm standing I think to check in on me you want takes kind of I'm kind of Numb. It's it's I have not seen the NAH Fed at all. He interrupts himself to say look. There's water to drink. And he walks away to the corner of the cemetery cemetery. Rookie Ceuta has set up a makeshift water station. Doug four or five feet down and switches to shovel out for what looks more like an ice. This pack getting close to the body now he says dad walks over to stand and with me. So does my mom comes over to which at first I find shocking. But it's not really she doesn't want to feel left out slowly. He says the coffin fire that they put on the clock right. Alexa hovered over arturo holding out a giant trash bag. She's collecting any pieces of coffin. That haven't disintegrated in the past few years ears. For a moment everyone is silent again. It's time Arturo says be very careful the body is ready you took your time looked like it so live. Polls my grandmother's head out of the ground and hands it the. There's still some hair on it but no skin she plus the hair off the skull. which isn't white like the fake skeletons? I remember from Science Class Stark Brown closer to black here with my grandmother's I sockets are filled with dirt studio rubs her skull clean with a scrubbing brush. She holds it up to us to look at pointing out my grandmother's gold teeth still intact. It's like she's saying see. It's really her or didn't have any store. Arterial keeps pulling out pieces of coffin and pieces of my grandmother. They're not connected to anything anymore. The most of these bones have come loose. He pulls out some ribs a shoulder bone. But I think is a femur but my mom says a clavicle collects ex- each bone one by one and lays them out in the sun. Ed Donahue decide. This was her left shoulder. Her she tells us see. You can still see the metal pin and her bone from when she got her surgery for the next twenty or so minutes. She reconstructs says much of the body as arturo can salvage. It's also bizarrely. DIY climbs into the grave with arturo midday to help pull out bones. Neither of them wearing gloves in Greece explains to me. We bury the dead with their heads pointing west. Because that's where the the sunsets and so that's where life ends and this process of exhuming it's conducted from the head down. The head comes out. I and Arturo works works his way down the body. The last thing that comes out or my grandmother's feet acces both of my grandmothers stocks. Thick wool are intact. This fabric doesn't disintegrate. She was buried in them on purpose so that they'd know when they've made it to the end. Those are her socks Guitar Miozzi Cochran let me go have precluded mind saying she's empty their sacks all their little bond from defeat can come out sealed the coach the healer the toll shunned or my goodness. We stand there for a moment. The increase to low wipe down each bone. It's jarring how practical this whole process is how unceremonious it feels to bury your loved ones and socks so that you'll know when you finished on burying their means he okay. Yeah okay this is not carry. This is going to be with me for a while while my dad says right as my mom says this is not scary I I feel annoyed with my mom for stepping on his answer on what he might have he said just so she can say that she's fine that she's not scared but then when my dad does have the space to tell me what he's feeling he can't seem to catch his breath call it's the skull all her bowl it's all her bones when it first came out it looked like a coconut because there we're still here on earth four okay he saying Fistula tells us that it's over we can go while we're away she'll keep scrubbing the bones I with water than with vinegar place them in a small box will go in a shed which holds the remains of all the other presidents of this graveyard many of them people. My grandmother grew up knowing some foreigners I asked to see the shed which really is just a shed like. We're a friend's DAD. Might keep his lawnmower except for this. One's got stacks and stacks smallpox. Isn't it some are labeled many aren't it doesn't seem like anyone visits this place. How does not a bastion? Mecha- shaw later will come back to the cemetery to watch a priest. One that's alive. Bless my grandmothers bones. One last goodbye but but for now we three me my mom and my dad we pile back into the rundle to drive to a neighbouring village. We're staying for the next few days and suddenly only my dad's starts to talk about his feelings and I just was. There was my mom. There was my mom at some point is I. I was expecting it to be. I don't know I feel peaceful. I was expecting I did not know what to expect I. I spent a lot of hours up of nights I just I hear what you're saying. I thought it was GONNA be upsetting. And it really wasn't it and that was at. It was over not as dramatic as we thought it would be assigned by in here in this car. All my family has. This is what we've always had. I start fussing over my dad's driving that signs up said the Hilo. You'll you'll go less luke's words and then I start feeling carsick. Every bad habit I have with my parents begins to bubble up and instead of doing the thing that I came here to do instead of engaging with my dad I become a kid again complaining about an upset stomach. It's here was I. Go ahead and good to not drive if we don't. I'm sorry if my stomach was this. Somebody's sitting melt is not going to have some is visit Dolphin. Listening to this car sticks out to me. Most is the moment my dad tries doing the exact thing I came degrees hoping for for he tries talking about his feelings and he probably would have. If I hadn't so quickly stopped listening. You have the phone and you can talk epica. Saddam say uh a couple of days later by last night in Greece with my parents. We decide to go out for dinner when we get to the restaurant. My mom pulled me aside to ask if I'm going to be good good tonight. If I'm going to be present I'm always present. I she says No. The only time I was president on this trip was at the cemetery. Otherwise I'm the same ever. We're all the same as ever. The only thing that's different really is we have one less day It's producer on our show that to next kindle sir showed it is about people unbear- in the past and we people leave us. They'll just leave behind physical objects be mad. I wound join me. Talk to a man about a digital excavation. Gloria Wayne was a voracious reader Hassan. Dave has vivid memories of when he was six or seven going living with her to the library in the world in northwest England. They made a trip to has. We'll library every couple of weeks returning and replenishing her stack of bird. Mills Awesome Boone Nobles. It was a habit. Gloria maintained all through her long life and so for Christmas back in twenty eleven. Hassan's got her a gift to aid in that habit. A kindle glory was suspicious of online security in general so they paid her kindle with Dave's existing account and added an unlimited limited subscription so she could read whatever she wanted whenever she wanted to read. It Elliott this year. Gloria died. She was eighty three years old aspect to Dave on the phone about his mom and we talked about the weird life admin that suddenly becomes super important after such loss one of the first things that are cuts and even it may be the most insignificant but my mom hated wasting money. He would absolutely go mad as sort of the next month subscription the canal and she wasn't around to use it so only hours after she'd gone and still in the days Dave went to do the responsible thing the thing he knew in his mom would approve of. Cancel the kindle subscription and then I'll just throw let-up look. What was that? So I clicked on C. Library and that the format sound three thousand forty six books and the and the time period it between Christmas. Twenty eleven when we bought the Kendall to a passing on they ballistic things she had purchased Over three thousand books. which was remarkable? Ready Dave had had an idea of his mum's literary interests a bookshelves contained a good amount of romance novels of the sort here remembered from childhood. He also used to get email notifications every so often remember. His account was linked to her kindle. All these years but he didn't really pay attention into what his mother was buying romance novels kind of expected. But but what's the was was a number of Trump's automatically really Jewish say Russia and it wasn't just the vanilla stuff it was a a real pick and mix of sexual expression. If you're listening with kids right now don't worry. This is not in any way X.. Rated I mean not wanting to throw a whole Cornucopia of acronyms at you but the MSN NFS FSN triple all kinds of different combinations Of Relationships and sexual encounters which was staggering. To be honest you know there was no one aspect there was no oh won't etc as she got thrown Sarah. It was a whole variety. Dave tweeted about both his mother's passing and his inadvertent inheritance of a library of what he described tongue in cheek as magnificently epochs lease. He concluded it with a tribute of sorts mother. He wrote a raise laws. Discovering the library may date curious peon mother shed similar tastes in music and film. Maybe they would be unlikely common ground here too. He decided to make a project of his discovery. He would delve into his mother's virtual stack of saucy literature. His words and maybe find one more thing they had in common. It wasn't a specially taxing. It was only a fatty show kind of thing. It was nineteen minutes jar in Denver. uh-huh so one hundred days on the run up cookie. Do you have exhibit title. was there any title that stuck out to you as just either abominably. Bad actually fantastically good to be honest enough. What's without doubt Spent by the Italian mob because it does what it says on the page looked will. It is literally about a girl who wants to be spanked by the Italian mob the beginning middle and the end the whole theories To be honest spanked by books about six or seven With this girl being spanked by variety of man they checked out the series. By the way it's by Alexis star the actual title Dave is thinking about is spanked by the Irish mob each book features just a heroin looking for a spanking and getting it from the Yakuza. A navy seal an unaffiliated mob boss and others as Dave read more books. He found himself enjoying some of them enough that he started to have a few favorites opposing breaks was a was an am Roman quite. That's I quite like the playful nature of the title that was written by Ian. Then I did like dot great deal I one called by on you. Omar Cassettes Omnia CPAs in Manhattan and that was very good indeed as well which was a lighter tone and slightly. He left an explicit nature trail now that the hundred book challenges over Davis kept his mum's subscription going and he's still reading books they're a reminder that his mom was more than just his mom she was a real whole person with her own. Quiet obsessions in reading these books. Do you feel is it helping is in any way a bomb for you. Yeah because it keeps a spirit present You know you find yourself almost having a conversation while you read them you know. You read a particularly Horrific and you think good grief from the what were you doing and so yeah you tend to extend not relationship and while we never happened Memory more visit. According today. His mom was a homebody and eighth decade after a lifetime of working hard. Gloria like to stay home watch a bit of murder. She wrote and enjoy smutty novels. Finding a library is a confirmation that his mom always as did whatever the hell she wanted more than anything else it just makes him admire her more The amount of dishes are show coming up the hipbones connected to the actually. It's not connect to anything in this case like nothing at all. That's in a minute Chicago public radio when our program continues support for this American life comes from state farm state farm agents know that sometimes life throws everything at you at once like fender bender. When you're already late when it comes auto and home insurance state farm agents are ready to help you can talk to your state farm agent via text over the phone in person or using the state farm APP which is Super Handy with voice activated commands? That let you see your bill. GET CLAIM UPDATES or call an agent and with more than nineteen thousand agents. There's one close this to you. Find an agent at state farm DOT COM and from the new capital one walmart rewards card earn five percent back at Walmart online games for the kids headphones for Dad. A laptop for mom doesn't matter you get five percent back at Walmart online. You'll also earn two two percent at Walmart in store restaurants and on travel and one percent everywhere else when you want all that you need the capital one walmart rewards card. What's in your wallet? Terms and exclusions apply capital one and a American life. Myra glass today show digging up. The bones owns stories of people. Unearthing things in the past trying to make sense of them. We've arrived at three of our show at three. The case of the curious bone David Esteban. Has this story about a man. Obsessed with a single bone a bone that is inexplicably large. Really just do big make any sense out of at all it. It was a fragment of a bone so old determined to stone. The man trying to puzzle out was a naturalist and professor in England named Robert Plot. He writes about it in this beautiful fool. Meticulous book the Natural History of Oxfordshire published in sixteen seventy seven curious bone rights was quote dug out of a quarry in the parish of Cornwell. Well given to me by the ingenious Thomas Penniston here is that it seemed to be some part of thighbone except way too big. It measured two feet and weighed almost twenty pounds. This is the sixteen hundreds and no one in the world that a good explanation for a bone that big pot rights for almost nine pages in his book about the strange bone and he is methodical and trying to reason out. What the HECK IT IS I? He considers the possibility that maybe it's not a bone at all but just a natural girl rock formation which is admirable. It's so easy to jump to conclusions but more studies. It really does seem to be part of a colossal muscle bone. That has the capita FA- Morris Inferior and quote the seat of the strong ligament that rises out of the Thi- give safe passage to the vessels descending thing into the leg and then inside the bone. There's what looks like marrow. He can see the marrow preserved inside but what in the world was at from quote it will be hard to find an animal proportional to. He writes he runs through the possibilities. Eliminating them one by by one horse oxen to small he considers something other people have suggested the maybe the bonus from an elephant perhaps brought over during the Roman invasions background fifty ad. He spends two pages on this possibility but it seems unlikely to him. He's clearly read through lots of historical stoorikhel accounts quote Suetonius in his life where he is very particular concerning this expedition into Britain. Mentions no such matter. There wasn't one elephant. His true true he writes sent as a present to King Henry. The third from the King of France in the year twelve fifty five and perhaps two or three other elephants brought England for show since then but quote whether whether it be likely any of these should be buried cornwell let the reader judge off. The bone is from an elephant. He writes where are the tusks finally. Finally as he's writing it he explains that an actual live elephant comes to town which he examines and decides no elephant bone completely different shape definitely not elephant. And here you can feel him starting to piece things together. He's on the edge of seeing this thing. He mentioned other large large bones after the great fire in London in sixteen sixty six under the wreckage of Saint. Mary will church quote. There was found a thighbone now to be seen at the king's head tavern in and Greenwich in Kent Much bigger longer than ours and also people had been finding unusually large teeth. In fact people have been finding unusually large bones for centuries. There's one account by Chinese scholar from the three hundred BC but none had a satisfying explanation is remarkable reading. Robert Plot's booked think how close he was such a stunning fact about life on this planet. But you know a lot and still not see sometimes. You don't don't even know what you can't see. You just can't imagine the possibility of it. Even when you're holding the thing in your hand by the end of the section of the book plot it has reason out the one remaining possibility the only thing that makes any sense to him bones. They must have come from giants people just a little bigger which I have to say way more sensible than the truth. David Kestler Baum is executive editor of our program. Pot Biden. Sixteen ninety-six people didn't and figure out the whole dinosaur thing for another hundred years. The bone pot positive. who was lost a long time ago? But from the drawings scientists think that it was a megalosaurus Cornwall. Some one hundred seventy million years before him and he has a five on that for revision. Revision quest so we enter show today with somebody who dug up bones from past and then years later went back to the same site to pick them up again. Burton explains Jill's husband died. A few years ago they met in nineteen seventy when Joel was sixteen and he was forty seven and in spite of the age difference they were passionate about each other from the start. It was a happy marriage. That's one way to tell the story. Here's another Jill's husband died. A few years ago they met in nineteen seventy when she was sixteen and he was forty seven. She was a student and one evening after class last kissed her. They started sleeping together. You might call him a Predator or say he abused power but everything turned out. Okay it was a happy marriage chills writer. Her full name is Jill Cement and years ago when she was in her forties she published a memoir. That told the story the first way. Now she's reading that story again and considering it from the second angle not to correct the record. She's trying to understand why she wrote her story the way she did. The first memoir called half a life. The one she's writing now is called the other half when I wrote half alive ridgely. You know I wrote this thing from the depth of my heart. I was supposedly telling the truth which I really deeply believed I was. But with the beginning of the metoo movement it was was a kind of catalyst that made me think. What if I told my story again from this vantage point from the vantage point of being sixty six from the vantage point of the world having completely changed Jill knew exactly where she wanted to start by writing down the story of their first kiss which he wrote about it when she was in her forties is not how she remembers it today? Here's what she remembers today. The night of that Kiss Jilin. Arnold teacher were in an art studio. Oh it was an evening class. Most of the other students were retirees. The class it ended and Joe was alone with Arnold and for the past six months he'd been doing things like saying. I wish you were older. And you know not making sexual advances but certainly making me aware he was attracted to me and I was completely attracted to him. And all I did was fantasize about him and so we went into a studio supposedly. He was going to give me. The names of people it was about to drop out of high high school moved to New York to be an artist and he was going to give me the names of other artists. Who would become maybe mentors or higher miss and assistant and as we got into the room I remember? He took my wrist in pulled me towards him and we kissed. And you know I look back back and I realized I hadn't written it that way. Okay I had written it as if I had been the sexual aggressor. Could you go ahead and read the how you describe the scene half life absolutely on the last night of art class. I Donald in the hall until the other students were finished as soon as they were gone. I slipped back into the classroom and shut the door behind me Arnold. I was leaning against the window. Frame arms folded is shut yawning. This time I approached him without a hint of coyness. Without the spark of a blush I am button. The top three buttons of my peasant Blouse crossed the ink splattered floor and kissed him. What why did you write it that way in nineteen ninety six? I don't know I think. Think I viewed myself as an I. I always have I viewed myself as someone who was always in charge. I never felt powerless And so maybe a way of the illustration that was to make me the sexual aggressor at least as far as the kiss went. But I I have. I don't honestly know I mean that's why I'm writing this whole book to try to figure out why it seemed the true thin I would never have done it purposely. Okay did soon the truth when I wrote it. Nine hundred ninety six why it seemed the truth. There is what interests me one reason it. It seemed like the truth. was that later Jilin. Arnold slept together for the first time. She was the one who seduced him. She certain that they both were but that I kiss when I look back on it he did instigate this and I don't know if I would have had the nerve at sixteen than later for Seventeen to acted upon all the things that I acted upon without him being the initial instigator in making taking yourself the instigator. Were you protecting him you know I don't think so i. Aw I think that I was trying to tell the truth of my own desire. I saw him. I wanted him and I went after him And I don't think I knew how to reconcile that with the idea that he kissed me. I in her forties. Jill wanted to write a love story of love across a great age span. This kind of story. It's almost always told from a man's point of view. Joe Wanted to write it from the perspective of the young woman and also not make her the victim and even though Gills still emphatically does not see herself as victim. Some of the choices she made in writing her first memoir more seem startling to are now like her account of a letter Arnold Center after they slept together. Dear Jill. Are you ever coming back to class. When she didn't respond he called her and the first memoir Joe plays the anecdote for laughs? The first time it's treated like of course it's funny. What forty seven year? Old Man is going to write a little girl at her house when her mother can open the mail but when I rewrote at this time what I saw was I saul a forty seven year. Old Man having made love to seventeen year old girl after which he doesn't hear from her for a month month. He writes a letter to her house. Soliciting her again in this sort of you know fake love letter and when he doesn't hear back from that little girl again he calls her now in today's world we would see that as a Predator going after an underage girl and when I think about that I'm totally shocked. I'm shocked I didn't see that the first time time but you know the end of story really really makes you change the beginning and so I think that that's part of it. I think that part of the reason that I wrote it. This way is because I was having a wonderful marriage and part of the reason I wrote this sway was because in nineteen seventy when all this stuff was happening wasn't as appalling for an older man to do this back back in nineteen seventy. Nobody ever said to Jill that they saw anything appalling and Arnold's behavior at least not directly. Here's the thing I can't I mean I remember going to a party one one time when we were first going out where the hostess served everyone Martinez me a glass of milk. So I'm I'm sure people noticed K.. When you look back at the first book she was struck by the part? She left out parts of scenes the messier more revealing parts but other emissions to to ones that are more profound like about her father. who was the exact same age as Arnold? Most of the first book is actually about Jill's. Father she only meets Arnold about two thirds of the way through by that point her father and moved out she rarely saw him. He was troubled and explosive and incapable of emotional. Oh connection essentially absent from her life. I found her writing about him. Wrenching but weirdly incomplete. It was just so clear that you're our teacher was a substitute for your father in so many ways and you don't write explicitly about this in half alive and I wonder if you could talk talk about why you know. I can't believe I didn't do. I mean I'm doing it now in this version it at forty five five. It seemed obvious and the obvious. In those days I believed made things less literary gardeners Y. Okay with that's what I believed and I just don't think it's true anymore and I think the idea that a fatherless author Lewis girl goes out and finds them a father and then uses that man to heal themself of having never been loved by an older man. I mean maybe I didn't know how to handle it at that age. Maybe it was impossible to do what both my father and my husband were alive. What has reexamining your story like this done to to your picture of your husband or your memories of him or your perception of your marriage? ORIG- well I mean it it. It changes the picture because I can't now look with him without realizing the lines that he crossed and at the same time. I'm really glad that we cross those those lines. I really question a lot of these. You know these these inferences that it is always wrong. It wasn't wrong for me and it will never change my feelings about being an amazing marriage. What what things do you say in the new book? That might have been hard for him to read. Oh my God the whole thing. Yeah I mean I I would never have written this book. If he was alive. I mean it would be so hurtful like in in half a life life. He seems like he has always been a successful older man and to describe him as somebody who had a midlife crises. Jason was struggling to find himself again. I think would have been really painful for him to read. Arnold was a painter. He was struggling doing as an artist. One you'll met him but he flourished in the years that followed it's interesting To hear you say that the thing Arnold would be hurt it by is the depiction of him as a struggling middle aged man and not the questions about his role as possible Predator or aggressor. I I don't think he would. I mean I don't think he ever thought of me but maybe he did. Who knows? Okay I think that he never thought of me as someone who wasn't as strong as him. Yeah and I and so I think he would be. I think he'd be shocked and surprised by these nuances in which I'm looking back at our relationship the questions Joel's asking about what she included in what she left out about what she realizes now that she didn't back then those questions interest me Because their questions. I'm asking myself right now to. I'm almost exactly the same age as Jill was when she wrote half life and I have a memoir coming out in a few months. The book tells the story of my adolescence but I assume it reveals just as much if not more about who I am now at forty six then who I was at sixteen gene it's about the eating disorders that defined my teenage years and if I'm being honest my adulthood to until recently recently. I'd never talked about the stuff with anyone so in that way. The book is very exposing. The maybe what's not there is just as revealing. I know there's a lot I can't see and I wanted to talk to Jill about that. I know that if I'd waited another five years I would understood more and sometimes I wonder should have waited to tell my story until I understood it better but I don't I I don't think I don't think I understand. Ny story any better than I did it forty five. Okay Yeah I look back at my forty five year old self and I think Oh my God she. She didn't have this information. I I see how young I was at forty five. I look at my forty five year old self in much the same way that my forty forty five year old self looked at my sixteen year old self. And it's you know it's it's a kind of compassionate view of who you were before you had all the information. Yeah when you think about yourself forty five how do you see your forty five year old self now now differently than she saw herself At that point I I was still thinking about the ascent of life you know I was still moving in this this forward motion. I was at the maybe at the height of my powers and when I look back at that I realized how how delusional that is. You know what happens is is your writing at forty five from all the information experience that you've had what I didn't have was the experience of taking my husband. All the way to death in her new book Gills. Not just exploring the beginning of her relationship. She's reading about the end of it to you. It's the second that can part of sleeping with your professing. It's the you know the part in a we're suddenly you go from being the young lover to the caretaker and that's an entirely different transition taking someone to death. That's the most extraordinary experienced. There is and so in some ways who kissed whom I seems really small in in the the length of this journey. Jill always thought that the more interesting to write memoir would be to return again and again to a monumental moment in a life rather than telling the story in order all the way through revisiting. A story doesn't necessarily make it any better. She says but it does make it different. Even when we read about the past. Were always telling a story worry about the president whether we mean to or not a Susan Burton is one of the producers are show just let his book. A novel called the body in question. ESTRIN digging balls big enough fall doumen things that's better land along program is produced today by Emanuel Berry and Neil drumming. People put our show together today include being mad at Elena on a baker. Susan Burton Ben Kale Chips. Sean cold grave. Michelle Harris Lynn. JESSOP lesson hop Lena Matete C.'s. Katherine Raymond Ninety. Raymond Robin semi-in Christopher Matala Matini Imagine Editors Diane Wooh executive editor David Castenbaum especially. Thanks data to send Ryan Hinds our website. This American Life Dot Org we can stream our archive five of over six hundred eighty episodes for absolutely free. There's videos and favorites. Listen tons of other stuff there too again. This American Life Dot Org. This American lives the public radio stations by PR X.. The public radio exchange for this American life comes from the burn company feeling stories and songs with log Anita Zyppah and of course committee the pub- in public radio find out more won't you at Lagoon. NEEDS DOT com. Executive programs is co-founder Miss Manatee. We're running to an appointment this week on this fifty story skyscraper. Step I at the forty fifth story where we thought our appointment was. We're sure it was forty five wasn't right. Then we looked forty four and forty six and forty two and forty eight. I was confused about story. He was confused about which story. I don't think tell you understand my story any better than I did. It forty five. I'm Eric Glass back next week with more stories of this American life. Big Bomb Things that's better at the long. I'm resurrect than memories of of a dead end on yet or nine. I'm said no big enough. Yeah tonight I'm said no long. Aw digging up bomb next week and this American life a big running theme was Bob's importance particularly in Brazil the epic story of a building super and he claimed that there was a causing the Constitution of Brazil that gave him immunity from any prosecution whatsoever and that in fact he could as he put it Go and kill the president and and he would still be immune. That's here in the podcast or on your local public radio station.