Your Connection To Jazz, Blues and NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Other News

Eavesdropping On My Mom In Her 20s: How Old Tapes Reveal A Unique Friendship

Courtesy of Polly Story-Lebl
Polly Story-Lebl and Rachel McArthur surprise Lanora Walker in Nebraska in 1995.


This story originally aired on January 21, 2017.

One big way to flip the script is to mess with the traditional parent-child dynamic. For many, it can seem like parents are these older beings with no life before their children were born. In modern parenting especially, parents don't appear to even have a life when you're a kid.


But what if you could meet your mom or dad at a younger age? Maybe even the same age you are now? What would it be like? What would that person be like?


Sound Effect producer Allie Ferguson got that chance in a strange way after discovering old mini-cassette tapes her mom made in the 1990s. The tapes document Ferguson's mom, Polly Story-Lebl, on a road trip with her best friend, Rachel McArthur. The two are traveling through Nebraska joking and goofing around before surprising McArthur's mother at a Tupperware party.


Ferguson and her mom, Polly Story-Lebl, are close but listening in on these tapes was a surreal experience for them both. It illuminated the unique relationship Story-Lebl had with her best friend and how it influenced her parenting decisions. Ferguson and her mom sat down to talk about what Story-Lebl's life was like back then and how she navigated motherhood as a single twenty-something.