Your Letters: Feeling Unemployed; Free Music In D.C.

Last week, host Scott Simon reflected on the emotional toll of being unemployed. Also, we brought you a story from NPR's Elizabeth Blair about the free performances at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center. Guest host Jacki Lyden reads listener reaction to these stories and more.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

JACKI LYDEN, host: Time now for your letters.

(SOUNDBITE OF TYPING AND MUSIC)

LYDEN: We begin with reaction to Scott Simon's essay last Saturday. He said the raw U.S. unemployment numbers don't reflect the emotions that must be attached to the experience.

Hearing no after no, day after day isn't just discouraging, it's hurtful and humiliating. After a year or two of being knocked around and doing without, how many of us who are blessed to have jobs would even get out of bed to be so downgraded?

JACKIE LYDEN, host: That resonated with many of you - including Keta Sue Bart, who writes on our website, npr.org: It's been over two years for my husband - over-experienced, under-degreed. We're waiting, hoping, after a good interview with a local company last week. We have four kids. I get tired of hearing how the government handouts are making those laid off lazy. He is anything but lazy.

Susan York Morris writes: You articulated the experience of so many, trying to keep a brave face, plugging away at the job hunt, and trying not to sink into total hopelessness. Is my career truly over though I just turned 57? I got a little teary-eyed just listening to it. Last week, we brought you a story from NPR's Elizabeth Blair about the free performances at Washington DC's Kennedy Center.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: ...the mammoth white building can be a little intimidating - immense chandeliers, red carpeting, ticket prices easily $50 or more. Or you could go for free and see, for example, OK Go.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

OK GO: (Singing) Even more than an electric guitar. Just go buy out the sun. Try your future in the mashing(ph) (unintelligible).

BYLINE: Or Thomas Mapfumo and his band from Zimbabwe.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LYDEN: Carrie Klein from Oakland, California, wrote in to say: As a former D.C. resident, I remember the Kennedy Center as a very intimidating and exclusive space. Ms. Blair's story changed that image for me and made me think that not everything is headed in the wrong direction. And finally, a response to last Saturday's piece, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Lucille Ball's birthday.

Rita Conde writes: OMG, as my grandchild would say. Thank you for taking me back home, back 50 years. I can hear her voice and mom - laughing so loud and us kids getting excited with all the laughter. We'd lay on our stomachs, with snacks, in front of the black and white and enjoy wonderful family time.

(SOUNDBITE OF "I LOVE LUCY" THEME SONG)

LYDEN: We like hearing from you. You can find us on Facebook at NPR WEEKEND.

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