When you look back at things, from a perspective of a new time and place, they tend to look different. That’s our theme for the latest episode of Sound Effect, “Benefit of Hindsight” — how a little time passing can reveal the things we were once blind to.
“Almost Live” cast members reflect on a Space Needle prank that went sideways. A woman shares her experience discovery her lack of smell. A country singer reunites with his “kitchen mom,” who inspired one of his songs. A Seattle woman talks about how a call from the FBI revealed her childhood friend’s home as a house of horrors. And a longtime musician reflects on offensive lyrics in her past. Also, in the full broadcast audio, we hear about a woman who saved Sound Effect producer Posey Gruener’s birthday, after a cult took it away.
SPACE NEEDLE COLLAPSE
On April 1, 1989, people tuning in to watch the show "Almost Live" on KING TV were greeted with a disturbing (fake) news update: the Space Needle in Seattle had collapsed.
Despite an April Fools’ Day banner tucked into the broadcast, many people believed it had really happened. In this story, hear how a well played prank went sideways. And how, after a little time, the once-dire situation no longer looks so terrible.
Posey Gruener was born into the Love Family, a culty commune that existed in Seattle in the 1970s and '80s. She calls it a culty commune because "commune" explains why people joined it, and everything positive they left with. "Cult" explains all the things that went wrong, and why it eventually ended. This story is about one of the things that went wrong. And the woman who made it right.
Sara Feigl may not be able to smell the flowers, but she's totally unfazed by stinky port-a-potties. She was 15 years old when she realized something was missing. She was hanging out with her friend, who had just spent $12 on perfume. Feigl told her friend that it was a waste of money to buy purple water. Confused, her friend said it was lavender-scented perfume. Feigl smelled nothing. In this story, she shares what it was like to realize that she had gone 15 years without realizing that she was missing the ability to smell.
Country musician Jon Boy and “Momma” Penny Reagan have the kind of unlikely friendship that only a hectic kitchen job could foster. When Jon Boy left his job without saying goodbye to his “kitchen mom,” he experienced a difficult six months: he went through a messy break up, he got in a car crash, his cat died.
So, he did what any good country musician does: he wrote a song about what he was feeling. At the time, he missed his friend Penny, and wondered what advice she’d have for him in his time of need. They reunite in this story, and Penny hears the song for the first time.
HOUSE OF HORRORS
Growing up in New Jersey, Jamie Sumire Costantino had plenty of friends — especially this one girl. “She was one of my closest friends, and one of my oldest friends,” said Jamie, now a teacher in Seattle.
Time spent at her friend’s house was a big part of Jamie’s childhood. But much later, she’d learn things about that home that would shake her life and sense of self to their foundations. Jamie joined Sound Effect host Gabriel Spitzer to tell her story. Please note that this story contains references to child pornography.
LYRICS OF THE PAST
Seattle-based songwriter Kimya Dawson has had a long career, and when she looks back on some of her own lyrics, she cringes a little. Back then, she used some words in her songs that she would never say today. So how do you take it back? Kimya reflects on the evolution in a conversation with Sound Effect host Gabriel Spitzer.
“The more people told me not to change it, the more it made me want to change it. Because it made me realize how little people were thinking about the impact that words could have on more marginalized folks,” Kimya says. “Regardless of what our intention was when we wrote it, what mattered was how it affected the people who were hearing it.”