For our first podcast of the new year, we plumbed through our archives for stories of people starting over, turning a page, or wiping their slate clean. For some it was by choice. For others, they had no other options.


We start off with Len Berk, a longtime accountant who didn’t particularly like his work. So after retiring, he followed his heart — and stomach — to the fish counter of a gourmet grocery store in Manhattan where he began a second career as a slicer of lox , the salt-cured salmon that pairs best with bagels and cream cheese. In his interview, Len waxes philosophical about his favorite fish and his work at the world famous Zabar’s.

Starting over for Len meant chasing a dream, but for the people in the next two stories it was more about escaping from bad dreams.

Jeff Ingram (top photo) has a rare type of amnesia called dissociative fugue. When Jeff has an episode, he loses almost all of his memories, including no longer knowing who he is and where he’s from. Jeff’s wife, Penny, has been through this with him several times and has always been there to help him piece his life back together again. They came to StoryCorps to preserve the memories of how they met in case Jeff loses his memories once again.


Our final story comes from Dawn Maestas, who runs a tattoo removal business in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dawn provides her services free to women who have been tattooed forcibly by abusive partners. Dawn herself has lived through domestic violence and she came to StoryCorps with one of her customers — a woman who wanted to remain anonymous — to talk about her work.

Like the music in this episode? Support the artists:
Podington Bear “Chauncy”
Scott Holmes “Rainbow Street”
Alan Fitch “Secret Place”
Max Richter “Vladimir’s Blues” and “Horizon Variations”