For our 10th anniversary, we’re revisiting some favorite stories.
Rebecca Greenberg came to StoryCorps with her mother, Laura, to hear about the characters Laura grew up with in Queens during the 1950s.
She also heard Laura’s version of her parents’ courtship. It seemed fair to invite the family back so Rebecca’s father, Carl, could tell his side of the story.
Hear both interviews below.
Click here for the transcript.
The problem growing up in my home was that I didn't know what was normal. We're yelling and we're pinching and we're hugging and we're cursing and… we peed with the door open. I mean, I didn't know this was not normal behavior. I didn't know people had secrets, you didn't tell your mother everything.
Rebecca Greenberg (RG): When did you learn?
LG: Well, it's still hard.
RG: [Laughs] Who were your old boyfriends, how many did you have before dad?
LG: I didn't have a lot of boyfriends. I had the neighbor boy. My mother loved him. But he wore his pants really high. And he had an underbite -- ew, god. But no one wanted to have sex with me, really, until I met your father. He was cute, but very very quiet and I scared the crap out of him. The first time he kissed me he had a nosebleed all over his face he was so nervous. It was terrible, it was, I don't know. Still married thirty five years later. Unbelievable.
RG: Has your life been different than what you imagined?
LG: Yeah, a little bit. I married a Jewish lawyer and he makes no money. So, I thought I'd found success. And, you know, he's an indigent defense criminal lawyer and um he saves lives.
RG: So your first kiss, we heard about how you bled all over Mom. Do you have any different take on that story?
Carl Greenberg (CG): That's how it happened. But I do have some Laura stories. We were having people over, she was going to make spaghetti, didn't have enough. So she broke the package of spaghetti in half, so she figured she had twice as much.
LG: And Carl had to explain to me, a pound is a pound. (Laughs)
CG: So we make a very odd couple.
LG: He's from a New England family and I remember we would sit at the dinner table at his house when we were dating, and noone would talk. And then I would start to giggle. I would get this psychotic hysterical laughter. So they already knew I was nuts. And I said, "This is so refreshing." They don't ask about when I'm getting my period, or how much money I make, or did I make a doody today. You know, my family was so intrusive.
CG: Your mother wasn't very happy with me.
CG: She thought my name was Paul for many years.
LG: She said, "This is my son-in-law Mark." And I'd say, "Ma, his name is Carl." She'd say, "Son of a bitch, I can't remember his name." (Laughs)
RG: It's so weird because our family now is the most functional of all our friends. I mean, all my friends, they would rather hang out at my house with my parents than hang out with me.
LG: But Rebecca was the one who said she really wanted to do a StoryCorps interview. You know, when I listen on my way to work, I'm crying and my mascara's running. And they're very tender, you know, heart felt stories. And I said, "They're not ever going to play ours."
But we didn't do it for that. We just did it to have that experience and share that moment. And have it forever.