Des Moines – StoryCorps

A Wife Remembers Her Husband and the Stress of Family Farming

Springtime is planting season on farms all across the country. The stress of the season can take its toll: farmers have one of the highest suicide rates of any profession in the United States.

For more than 35 years, Matt Peters grew corn and soybeans on the Iowa farm that his father and grandfather farmed before him. Then in May of 2011, at the age of 55, he took his own life.

His wife, Ginnie Peters, came to StoryCorps to remember him. She spoke with Trent Andrews, the man who took over the farm after her husband’s death.

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Today, Ginnie lives a few miles away from the farm where she and Matt made their life together. Now and then she returns to visit Trent and his family, who continue to work the 1,500-acre farm.

Top photo: Trent Andrews and Ginnie Peters at their StoryCorps interview in Des Moines, Iowa, on April 19, 2018.

Bottom photo: Ginnie Peters and Matt Peters on vacation in February of 2011. Courtesy of Ginnie Peters.

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal or just needs someone to talk to, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Originally aired May 18, 2018, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

The Country’s Oldest Female BMX Bike Racer on Her Thrills and Spills

At nearly 70 years old, Kittie Weston-Knauer is the oldest female BMX racer in the United States.

When she started competing in off-road bicycle races, or BMX, in the late 1980s she was often the only woman on the track. It was her son Max Knauer, a championship BMX rider himself, who introduced her to the sport when he was ten years old.

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While Max, now 40, is currently retired from the sport, Kittie has no plans to quit any time soon. She looks forward to the day she can watch her grandchildren hit the track — and hopes Max will start competing again with them, too.

Top photo: Max Knauer and Kittie Weston-Knauer at their StoryCorps interview in Des Moines, Iowa on April 20, 2018.

Bottom photo: Max Knauer assists Kittie Weston-Knauer as she prepares to start her first-ever BMX race on Mother’s Day of 1988. Courtesy of Kittie Weston-Knauer.

Originally aired May 11, 2018, on NPR’s Morning Edition.