StoryCorps 450: Up To No Good

In this podcast, we hear four stories about kids getting into mischief and how their childhood antics sometimes followed them into adulthood. By their own admission, these adults were at times liars, thieves, or disrespectful to others–occasionally thinking they were getting away with it, but oftentimes later finding out they did not.

In our first story, 85-year-old New Yorker Miriam Kerpen tells her daughter, Lisa Shufro (top photo), about a racy discovery she made while paging through her uncle’s dictionary, and how it got her in trouble later that summer at sleep away camp.

Next we hear from Olly Neal, who grew up in Arkansas in the 1950s. In his younger years, he didn’t care much for high school, but one day during his senior year, while cutting class, he wandered in to the library and stumbled upon a book by famous African American novelist Frank Yerby that he then took without ever checking it out.NealAt StoryCorps, he explained to his daughter, Karama (pictured above), what it was about that particular book that drew him to it, and how 13 years later he found out his “crime” had actually been a set-up.

In 1991, Olly became the first African American district prosecuting attorney in the state of Arkansas. He was then elected First Judicial District Circuit Court Judge and later appointed by the governor to the Arkansas Court of Appeals.Judge Neal retired in 2007.

For these next two storytellers, childhood mischief followed them into adulthood.CollinsdrSean Collins, a medical student at Cornell University, comes from three generations of doctors. He came to StoryCorps with his 81-year-old grandfather, Dr. Richard Collins (pictured above), to hear about two pranks the older Collins pulled—one when he was a young boy attending Catholic school, and the other when he was a medical student making his rounds at an upstate New York hospital.WangFinally, we hear from three generations of the Wong family, 87-year-old Kay, her son Chung, and her granddaughter Chen (pictured above).

As a child, Kay gained a reputation for being strong-willed,and it is easy to hear that her reputation—which followed her into adulthood—was well-earned.

Just weeks after recording their conversation, Kay died of cancer, and in the second part of our final story, Chung and Chen return to StoryCorps to remember Kay.

Like the music in this episode? Support the artists:
“Boop” and “Elephant Walk” by Podington Bear from the album Playful
“Has Pluck” by Poddington Bear from the album Backbeat
“Good Times” by Poddington Bear from the album Upbeat
“Three for the Show” by The Johnny Staccato Band from the album Girls! Girls! Girls! The Best of Burlesque & Striptease Music
“Somewhere New” by Lee Rosevere from the album Music for Malls