StoryCorps: Hotline Wing: Answering The Call Of Distressed Thanksgivers Everywhere Marge Klindera and Carol Miller have worked at a Thanksgiving call center for decades. That means answering thousands of panicked questions from questionable cooks — and people just seeking kindness.
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Hotline Wing: Answering The Call Of Distressed Thanksgivers Everywhere

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Hotline Wing: Answering The Call Of Distressed Thanksgivers Everywhere

Hotline Wing: Answering The Call Of Distressed Thanksgivers Everywhere

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Time now for StoryCorps, Marge Klindera spent decades teaching home economics to children in Illinois. Thirty years ago, she retired, and looking for another way to pass along her knowledge, she joined a Thanksgiving call center. That call center gets thousands of calls every year from panicked home cooks looking for last minute guidance. At StoryCorps, Marge, who's 79 now, sat down with her longtime coworker, Carol Miller, to remember some of the best advice they've given over the past three decades.

MARGE KLINDERA: We like to say we kind of deal with turkey trauma.

CAROL MILLER: It may be as simple as they left the giblets in the turkey. Oh, my gosh, I've ruined Thanksgiving.

KLINDERA: I always remember the call from a young bride. She was kind of whispering on the phone, and I asked her, why are you whispering. And she said, well, I don't want my mother and mother-in-law to know I'm calling you, but they're having this argument about which was the right way to do things. Well, she was very relieved when I told her it was her mother who had the right solution.

MILLER: (Laughter) Yeah, but she had to go tell her mother-in-law she was wrong.

KLINDERA: She had to tell her mother-in-law (laughter).

MILLER: I remember one time I talked to a guy who wanted to propose on Thanksgiving Day. He wanted to mix the diamond ring in the stuffing and then stuff it inside the turkey. So, you know, I convinced him that that wasn't a good idea for a number of reasons. We decided together that he should tie it on a drumstick, get down with a platter on one knee and propose. Every year, I think about him, and it's my wish that someday maybe he might call and say, hey, we made it for 30 years.

KLINDERA: Right. You know, we do get people who are lonely, and they're almost making up a scenario that they want to share, and they need to talk to somebody. It really is heartwarming to hold their hands. We're kind of like their mom or their grandma.

MILLER: I think that's one of the best parts about our job. They are so grateful that you're there. People say, you mean you've given up Thanksgiving for all these years? And I never feel like I've ever given anything up.

KLINDERA: Anything up.

MILLER: Do we think we were going to do it for over 30 years?

KLINDERA: Right.

MILLER: No (laughter).

KLINDERA: It makes them feel good, and it certainly makes us feel good, too.

MONTAGNE: That's Marge Klindera with her coworker, Carol Miller, in Chicago. Their interview will be archived at the Library of Congress. And now it's easier than ever to be part of history yourself. Record your story this Thanksgiving weekend. You can find the details at npr.org. Search the great listen. You can get the StoryCorps podcast on iTunes and at npr.org.

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