Audience Moved By Thanksgiving Story Of Homelessness

Tell Me More's digital media guy, Lee Hill, joins host Michel Martin to share listener feedback and updates to conversations heard on the program. This week, listeners react to the moving Thanksgiving Day story of a mother who spent the holiday homeless after losing her corporate job. And an update on the controversy surrounding radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who's found a new home on the airwaves after her repeated use of a racial slur led to the end of her popular show.

MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And now it's time for Backtalk where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere, and get to hear from you, our listeners.

Lee Hill, our digital media guy is here with me, as he is most Fridays. Hey, Lee, what's up?

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel, well, last week, millions of Americans celebrated Thanksgiving. Taking time to give thanks for family, friends, food and shelter. But as part of our coverage leading up to the holiday, we reminded our listeners that not everyone is so fortunate. We introduced folks to Noelle Beeman(ph), who shared her personal story of hardship this holiday.

And, Michel, she is homeless. Her challenges began when she lost her corporate job last year. And here she is explaining how her world was literally turned upside down.

Ms. NOELLE BEEMAN: Trying to make ends meet was impossible. I basically went through my savings, my 401K, unemployment, as long as I could get it, and I lost my home. And to see years of personal belongings on the street, I could not stop the tears. And I gathered what I could, put what I could in storage and the rest stayed on the street. It was devastating.

HILL: And, so, many of you were touched by her story and wrote in to show your compassion, while others told us they could relate. Here's a comment to our blog from listener Ray. He says of Ms. Beeman: I can relate to your situation having been laid off two years ago and still looking for a full time opportunity. After being evicted from my home last November, I was grateful to be able to stay with a friend one month here, a couple weeks there, but there were times when I didn't have a place to stay and took my chances on the subways. You and your family will continue to be in our prayers. And by faith, he says, we're claiming a position in a new home for you.

MARTIN: Ray, thank you for that good word. And, Noelle, we are obviously thinking good thoughts for you, too, so, stay in touch.

Lee, in this week's parenting segment we focused on what, for some, is another form of hardship. We talked to a regular panel of moms about the challenges of working outside the home and striking a healthy work/life balance. And we talked about whether the various entities of government and business are doing enough to ease that challenge.

After that conversation, some of the dads in our audience wrote to tell us their stories. Listener William says, like many fathers, he himself has also found that juggling a career and parenthood to be a tough balancing act as well.

WILLIAM: My wife and I have three children. When the first two were born, I left my employment to stay home with each of them for the first nine months of their lives. When I told boss, coworkers and friends that I was doing this, many were shocked and could not believe that I would walk away from my career to take care of my children.

Although I had done well on my job performance reviews, it was becoming more and more clear each day that it was not acceptable for me to place my children's needs first. Eventually I ended up leaving the job because I did not want to choose between a job assignment client meeting and being on time to get my children.

MARTIN: Thank you, William. And we want all the dads out there to know that we'd like to extend this conversation so we're working on having another conversation about work/life balance involving dads. So stay tuned for that.

Lee, what else?

HILL: Well, Michel, back in August we reported on the controversy surrounding radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Tensions ignited, you might remember, after she repeatedly used the N-word on air in a rant directed at a black listener who had called into her program for advice about her interracial marriage. Now, Dr. Laura later apologized, followed by an announcement that she would end her show. This all came after a backlash from advertisers and outspoken criticism from civil rights leaders and the like.

Well, this week we learned that the host won't be gone for too long. A week after she bids farewell to her estimated eight million listeners, Dr. Laura will begin hosting a new talk program on Sirius XM Radio. So I guess we haven't heard the last of her.

MARTIN: I'm shocked by that. Right. As if. So, thank you, Lee.

HILL: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: And, remember, with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. Please remember to leave your name. You can also find me on Facebook, or log onto our Web site. Go to npr.org, click on Programs, then on TELL ME MORE and blog it out.

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