As Memories Slip Away, It's Still a 'Wonderful Life' Ken Morganstern was diagnosed with early-stage Alzeheimer's disease five years ago. Since then, his memory has gotten worse -- and he has lost some of the stories of his own life. But he hasn't lost the idea of who he is.

As Memories Slip Away, It's Still a 'Wonderful Life'

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Every Friday morning, we bring you another installment of StoryCorps. It's an oral history project that travels the country helping loved ones to record each other's stories.

Today, we'll meet someone who is starting to lose his stories. Ken Morganstern was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's five years ago. Since then, his memory has gotten worse. His two daughters recently brought him to StoryCorps to talk about the memories that remain.

PRIYA MORGENSTERN: I'm Priya Morgenstern.

KEN MORGENSTERN: Excuse me. Can you raise the volume?

MORGANSTERN: Oh, you want me to speak louder?

MORGANSTERN: Yes, louder. Yeah.

MORGANSTERN: I can raise my volume. Okay, let me turn the dial. I'm going to be interviewing my father today, and I'll be interviewing him with my sister, Bhavani.

BHAVANI JAROFF: Dad, why don't you say your name and how old you are?

MORGANSTERN: I'm Ken Morgenstern. I'm - I think 81.

MORGANSTERN: That's right.

MORGANSTERN: Is that right?



JAROFF: All right, dad, I'm going to ask you a bunch of questions.


JAROFF: And you'll answer them the best you can from your memory. You came out here to New York and then somehow you met mom.

MORGANSTERN: I met her in New York?

JAROFF: Yup. You did.

MORGANSTERN: Don't remember how, when. Mom would have remembered.

JAROFF: She would have remembered, yeah.

MORGANSTERN: Our mom passed away about four and a half years ago. Do you recall dating her?

MORGANSTERN: Oh, yeah. I remember dating her. She was a sexy gal.

JAROFF: She was. Let's talk about your kids a little bit.

MORGANSTERN: We had four kids. Is that the right number?

MORGANSTERN: Yes, it is.

MORGANSTERN: Good. They were great.

JAROFF: Who are they?

MORGANSTERN: You, who else?

JAROFF: Priya, Bhavani...

MORGANSTERN: Priya, Bhavani, and there's a man in there.



MORGANSTERN: David, yeah.

MORGANSTERN: David is not going to be too happy with you when he listens to this, Dad.


JAROFF: Who was the best kid?


JAROFF: He was actually the best kid. No, he definitely was.


MORGANSTERN: And you see us all a lot still, right, Dad? Dad?


JAROFF: Priya was asking if you still see us a lot.

MORGANSTERN: See you a lot?

JAROFF: Yeah. Are we in your life?

MORGANSTERN: Sure. What are you talking about?

JAROFF: We're just asking you a question. You know, what's your life like now, Dad?

MORGANSTERN: Oh, it's a wonderful life. I get up in the morning. Go to sleep at night. And in between - three meals.


MORGANSTERN: What's wrong with that?

MORGANSTERN: It's a nice thing that it's so easy to make you happy, Dad.

MORGANSTERN: I'm very much like, I think, my father.


MORGANSTERN: He was an easygoing guy. People used to call him Happy Harry. And I have a lot of his characteristics, I think.

MORGANSTERN: Dad, was there anything that you wished you had gotten in life that you didn't get?

MORGANSTERN: Anything that I wish I have gotten in life?


MORGANSTERN: I'm sitting here thinking I have no regrets on anything. The important thing is I have a family that I love. And they're loving people. That's the biggest thing you can leave, is a...

JAROFF: Legacy.

MORGANSTERN: Legacy, yeah.

JAROFF: I want to tell you, Dad, that I've always considered you my guru and teacher.

MORGANSTERN: Well, thank you.

MORGANSTERN: I would say the same.

JAROFF: You've been a role model for all of your family. People are constantly saying to us how lucky you are to have all of us, and I turn to them and say, we are because of him. You've created such love around you, and we want to be with you.

MORGANSTERN: Thank you, honey. That's awfully nice to hear.

JAROFF: It's the truth.

MORGANSTERN: We love you, Dad.


INSKEEP: That's Priya Morgenstern and Bhavani Jaroff with their father, Ken Morganstern, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease.

This conversation and all StoryCorps recordings are archived at the Library of Congress. By the way, there is a way for you to record the stories of those who are living with memory loss, and you can learn more by going to

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