Insights Into Teens: Episode 20 “Fathers Day Q & A”

This week the tables are turned and Madison is hosting the show. In her debut as show writer, producer and host she grills dad with a series of pointed and revealing questions that lets her get to know dad a little bit better and mark Father’s Day with a special episode to all the fathers out there in the audience. Not only do we get to learn a little more about Joe, but also the relationship that Joe and Madison share. It’s a touching and heartfelt episode for the holiday.

Insights Into Teens


Speaker 1:
Insightful podcasts by informative post insights into a podcast network.:
Speaker 2:
Speaker 3:
welcome to insights into teens, a podcast series, exploring the issues and challenges of today’s youth. Your hosts are Joseph and Madison Whale, a father and daughter team making their way through the challenges of the teenage years.:
Speaker 4:
Welcome to insight into teens. This is episode 20 father’s Day Q and a. I’m your host, Madison Waylon. And My cohost, my dad Joseph Foil on hello Maddy. Hi. So we’re in a bit of a different situation, aren’t we?:
Speaker 5:
We are, uh, your roof kind of switched roles. You’re running the board today, so this is kind of a learning experience for you.:
Speaker 4:
Yeah. So, um, since it’s father’s day, um, we’re doing a small special, I’m going to be asking you some questions and you’re going to give me your answers. Yes, I am. So I’ve looked on a couple of different websites and found, um, a bunch of different questions related towards fathers, like you and I also added in some questions that I think should also be in this podcast. Sounds good. So are you ready? Let’s do it. So my first question for you is, has something ever happened at a wedding that you would never forget?:
Speaker 5:
Well, probably the biggest thing that sticks out to me at weddings was at my wedding to my first wife where the limit was supposed to pick the girls up and then the limo was supposed to come pick the guys up with a limo, never showed up. We were at my mom’s house. The Limo never showed up. And we’re looking at the clock looking at the clock doesn’t get there. We’re frantically calling around and you kind of have to remember, this was, I don’t know, 15 years ago where cell phones weren’t as prevalent as they work today. Okay. So it was hard to get ahold of the people that you had to call. And we eventually just made the decision to get in the car and go, and I wound up having to get into a old beat up red pickup truck and go to my wedding on with the my brother’s and my red pickup truck.:
Speaker 4:
Wow. That does Max the, that fun:
Speaker 5:
it, it was,:
Speaker 4:
I guess from the outside observer kind of hilarious. Okay. So next question is, think of some relatives that have passed away in the last few years and what would they be doing if they were with you?:
Speaker 5:
The one that comes to mind is probably my dad. Okay. Oh, he loved the summer, which clearly I don’t clearly he loved to work out in his yard, gardening and stuff like that. And He loved to just go sit in the shade and have a beer and a, even though I don’t drink, I imagine I’d probably be sitting on the deck with him under the big umbrella having a beer at some point on the weekend.:
Speaker 4:
Alright. So our next question is what do you remember about the houses you lived in as a kid and the, which one did you like best?:
Speaker 5:
Well, I lived in to, as a kid, one we moved down to when I was like two, so I don’t really remember that. Um, the only thing I do remember that was when we were in the process of moving and a was in the same neighborhood and we walked from one house to the other. I remember walking up the sidewalk with my mom and tripping and falling and scraping my hands. So it’s all a very pleasant memory that I have that house. Um, so it’s the second house that I really grew up in and the biggest thing that I remember about that was it was a small three bedroom house that had, um, seven of us in there as my mom and dad, my three brothers and I and my grandmother. So it was very cramped, but very cozy.:
Speaker 4:
Definitely sounds a bit cramped. Yep. All right, so my next question is what did you have that as a child that kids today don’t have?:
Speaker 5:
Well, there was a lot. Um, not that I had a lot, but there’s a lot that we had back then that we don’t have today. Okay. Um, biggest one that I can think of is probably my typewriter. I used to take this thing everywhere with me and it wasn’t like a laptop computer. Now this was like 30 pounds, all metal in a case. It was like carrying a suitcase around. Wow. And it was a manual type writer. So do you want it to type, you know, you practically had lean on the keys to get anything out of it. There was no way to do any kind of corrections or anything. So if you made a mistake, you had to go in there with a special eraser and hopefully not tear through the paper when you erased it. Oh God. Um, but type writers I think are largely a thing of the past these days.:
Speaker 4:
Yeah. It doesn’t seem too pleasant. Yeah. I’m ready. So my next question is, what family member has been your greatest coach in life? How have they coached you and what made them good at it?:
Speaker 5:
This one’s kind of easy. This one would be my mom. My mom was not well educated and she didn’t have a fancy job or anything, but she had a lot of worldly experience and she had wisdom beyond her years. I like to say. Okay. She always had a way of making the worst situation seem manageable. She didn’t necessarily solve the problem, but when you felt overwhelmed, um, and you didn’t know which direction to go, or he’d be able to do something, she had this way of just listening. She was the best listener. And, uh, even if she couldn’t give you a solution to it, her ability to listen made you feel like that burden wasn’t entirely yours. And when you walked away from that conversation, you felt unburdened enough to actually tackle whatever it was. And it was a real talent she had for that.:
Speaker 4:
6:49 she’s definitely seems like a real nice mom. Absolutely. Next question. When you were a teenager, which family member did you go to for advice and looking back? Was it good advice?:
Speaker 5:
Uh, the only family member I went to for advice other than my mom was probably my brother can. Okay. Um, he and I were the closest in age. There was only a four year difference there. Uh, we never really got along all that well, but, um, if I went to him for advice, he would, he would give me honest advice and he never had a problem expressing his opinions.:
Speaker 4:
So, like I said, the floor. Was it good advice?:
Speaker 5:
Um, usually it was, um, I think a lot of times the advice that he gave, he gave honestly from the heart, but it was very specific to his needs and his abilities. Uh, he never really tried to understand my perspective and he and I were two very different people. So while his advice on most things was good, some of the advice itself wasn’t necessarily applicable to me because we were just two different.:
Speaker 4:
Alrighty. So next question. Tell me a story about a family reunion or a family party that you remember attending as a child.:
Speaker 5:
The one that probably sticks out was sort of a recurring visit we would get from my cousin Marie and her husband already. Uh, they would sort of pumping out of the blue on, announced when they were in the neighborhood because they lived in, you know, a couple hours away at the time. And one day would stop in. It was like, you know, the family would sort of pick up where things were as if no time had passed. And, uh, one of the things they always did was cook what, you know, the, the big, the big family thing in my family, the big social thing in my family was food and cooking. Wow. Um, as demonstrated by my size I think. But, um, they would cook Bellini’s and Blaney’s or sort of a potato pancake. It’s fried in oil. And they were very good. They tasted very good. But more importantly they made the house smell very good.:
Speaker 4:
Good. Sounds like you probably enjoyed their visits.:
Speaker 5:
I do. And, and you know, it’s funny, around the Jewish holidays, when Mommy makes, um, potato pancakes here, it’s a very similar type of a smell and taste that fills the house. So it makes me kind of nostalgic.:
Speaker 4:
What does that mean?:
Speaker 5:
That means I makes me remember back and, and takes me back to when I was a kid.:
Speaker 4:
Ah. So my next question is if you can know anything about your family history or about a relative who has passed away, what would you want to know?:
Speaker 5:
Well, my dad was married to someone before he married my mom. Kay. And, uh, that marriage, I yielded a child, a son, and my mom talked about them occasionally. My Dad never talked about him and, and I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that, um, when the marriage ended, his ex wife took her there son and moved away and he lost both of wife and a son from it. So he was very scarred from that. So he never wanted to talk about it. But my mom had told me that his name was Johnny. And you know, what I’d like to do is know more about him and who he was and what happened to him. And even, you know, if he’s still alive, meet him. But I don’t know if that’s even remotely possible at this point.:
Speaker 4:
So you want to know more about Johnny? I would, yeah. Yeah. It would be interesting to know more about him. Indeed. My next question is, what is the most embarrassing thing your mother or father ever did to you?:
Speaker 5:
So this goes to my first holy communion. Okay. We didn’t have a lot of money. We never had a lot of money, so they couldn’t afford to buy me, you know, a new suit or clothes for the event. So I wound up wearing a hand me down set of clothes. It was really this huge, an ugly old brown suit that my brother wore and it was probably 10 years out of style when he worked in 10 years, more out of style when I work.:
Speaker 4:
I don’t know whenever that was ever style. Well,:
Speaker 5:
uh, in, you know, it’s one of those things where when you wear clothes like that, kids kind of know why you’re wearing it and kids can be cruel and they will make fun of her for it. Um, so that was kind of a painful period that I got through, but it’s one of those things, there’s more important things to spend money on, like food to put on the table then nice clothes. So, yeah.:
Speaker 4:
My next question is what are your best memories of holidays or family gatherings as a child? Well,:
Speaker 5:
a Christmas was probably the best and it was the best because as I said, we didn’t have a lot of money. So the only time we ever really got any kind of presence was for Christmas. Uh, you’d get something small on your birthday. But since my birthday was so close to Christmas, there wasn’t a lot of money leftover for my birthday. So I kind of got left out on my birthday. Um, but the more important thing in their presence was that most of the year my father was a very distant and cold individual. He wasn’t very affectionate, didn’t spend a lot of time with this. And a lot of that had to do with the fact that he worked third shift. So you didn’t get to see him that often. And you know, there’s a number of factors. But uh, around Christmas time his affection came out and you got to see it. So he was a very different person around Christmas and he went out of his way to try to make Christmas special for us. So that was always something that I appreciate it.:
Speaker 4:
I definitely think that was a special thing that he did, even though he didn’t really show much affection to you guys the rest of the year.:
Speaker 5:
Yeah, that was tough. But you know, you get by, right? Yup.:
Speaker 4:
My next question is, did your parents ever lose their jobs and what happened?:
Speaker 5:
Well, my mom didn’t work, at least not when I was a kid. Um, she had stopped working when she had my two brothers and she was a stay at home mom. My Dad was a laborer or a grocer at, at amp when they were around and when he was coming up on 25 30 years there and he was coming up on retirement, uh, they kind of forced him out earlier than he was planning on being forced out.:
Speaker 4:
That doesn’t exactly sound good.:
Speaker 5:
Well he, like, he’d expected to work another two years and then retire and he kinda, you know, that’s what he was planning for. And when he hit that retirement age, which wasn’t mandatory retirement for them, but when he hit that retirement age, they made him retire. At that point I really compensated then, you know, they gave me his pension and all that stuff, but he had planned on working another two years, so he didn’t have another job lined up. He didn’t have any other income lined up and the pension was only paying like 70% of what he was making and we were struggling week to week just on what he was making for his full salary. So when he lost the job and realized he couldn’t survive on what he was getting for his pension and he was too young to file for social security, things got really tight and they got kind of scary for a while. Like I didn’t understand that at the time. I didn’t really, I guess I was maybe 10 at the time. I didn’t really fully appreciate the situation, but there was definitely a tension and a fear that my parents had that drove a lot of anxiety at the time, which I didn’t really understand until later on in life.:
Speaker 4:
Mm, okay. It definitely doesn’t sound like the ideal habitat for a 10 year old. No, no, not at all. All righty. My next question is, where’s the best thing that your parents ever cooked?:
Speaker 5:
Well, my dad didn’t cook, so we can leave that out of the equation. K my mom pretty much anything she cooked was good. Okay. You know, and I say that now friendly because I miss her cooking. And that’s not to take anything away from mommy. Mommy’s a fantastic cook. Yes, yes. But you know, I’m sure at the time I wasn’t crazy about everything that my mom made. I especially loved the way that she made her fried chicken. Um, her lasagna, her vegetables soup. Uh, she did homemade Mac and cheese, which was awesome and she made her personal meet loans, which are little meatloaf’s did she made. Um, but even like her spaghetti meatball, she hand rolled her own meatballs with their own recipe. And that was the thing with everything that my mom made. It was all made from scratch. He didn’t cook anything out of a box. Um, being a stay at home mom, she had a surplus of time to make food. So most of our meal preparation was like an hour or more and she worked her butt off to make food and make the food that good. You know, mommy works full time, still manages to get a meal on the table every night. That’s excellent. Uh, she really is the best 15 minute cook that I’ve ever seen and hands down. I don’t think anyone can beat her.:
Speaker 4:
Yeah, I, well the thing is I actually want to try, I’m making dinner for you guys when I get into the middle school cause I’m gonna probably get home early with the new guys and I want to try and help out so momma doesn’t have to go through all the stress of cooking after probably a stressful day at work.:
Speaker 5:
Well that would be nice. I’m sure she’d appreciate that. Yeah. Once I learned to cook, but before we leave this topic, you’re, the one thing I do have to point out that we’ve managed to carry over from my mom’s cooking is her cheesecake. Oh yes we do. Or cheesecake was to die for her and you and I around the holidays we generally make a couple of cheesecakes using her recipe and I think we get it spot on. Yeah, I think we do too. So that’s a little piece of my mom but carries on and in the two of us, which is nice.:
Speaker 4:
Yeah. Maybe we can make another recipe of hers.:
Speaker 5:
We can certainly try. I’d love to make her vegetable soup.:
Speaker 4:
All right. Next question is, how did your parents change after they retired?:
Speaker 5:
Well, as I said, my mom didn’t work so she didn’t retire. Um, and my dad didn’t really get a chance to retire. When they forced him to retire from amp, he wound up, it was out of work for a little while. It wasn’t long. He did a couple of different jobs. He tended bar and did things. Eventually he wound up working for a bank as an overnight security guard, actually as a, as a driver for an armored car for the bank and then eventually moved inside. He did that right up until after he had gotten his cancer diagnosis and he physically couldn’t work anymore and he wound up going on disability. So he never had a chance to retire. But I guess when he was out on disability, that’s the closest thing to a retirement that he had. And uh, he changed. I don’t know if it was more being out of work or, or the cancer diagnosis itself, because when he was diagnosed he kinda knew. We kind of knew he wasn’t gonna survive it because it was so far along. So he changed and became more human. You know, he was more approachable, more appreciative of the people around him were prior to that. He had kind of taken that for granted.:
Speaker 4:
Hmm. Well, I guess the change is positive in some ways.:
Speaker 5:
It was. It was indeed.:
Speaker 4:
All righty. My next question is, how are you most different from your parents and how are you the same?:
Speaker 5:
Let’s take my dad first. I like to think I’m as different as I possibly can be for my dad. Not that I didn’t love my Dad, but my dad wasn’t the nicest person in the world. You had a drinking problem, Richard? I don’t, cause I don’t drink and I thank him for that to be honest with you because I don’t drink because he had a drinking problem. Huh? Just like I don’t smoke because my parents both smoked. Um, and they turned me off from that. I don’t believe in physical punishment and my children. Now you can attest to that.:
Speaker 4:
I mean, I think physical punishment is just the absolute wrong way. The most wrong way. You can actually use it. Yes. The child probably won’t do it again, but they’ll probably, they’ll probably be afraid of you every single time they make a little mistake if you heard them every time they make the littlest mistake don’t under being afraid of you. And I’m thinking that’s right for a parent.:
Speaker 5:
Exactly. And that’s the thing, I never want my kids to fear me. I think you get far more effectiveness in parenting if your kids respect you rather than fear you. Yeah. That’s why if you do something wrong or if there’s an issue, we talk about it and we discuss why it’s wrong. We discuss what lessons we learned from it and how we’re not gonna do it again in the future.:
Speaker 4:
Yeah. And you’ve done that with me and look at me now I’m am.:
Speaker 5:
You’re running a podcast. I mean that’s incredible.:
Speaker 4:
Oh my God. Daddy.:
Speaker 5:
Huh? So, you know, some of the bad traits I get from my dad is I get his, his temper. Unfortunately, you know, either you can attest to the fact that I have a bit of a temper, but over the years I’ve, I’ve learned to focus that on inanimate objects rather than people. So I may go like I did last week yelling at a, at a network router downstairs when it wasn’t working right. But I never heard anybody and my mom, you know, I wish I was more like my mom. I wish I was more patient, more caring, more selfless than her. Um, my mom was an excellent role model, but that’s not to say that she didn’t have negative qualities either. My mom could be petty at time.:
Speaker 4:
Yeah. And like you said, both your parents actually smoked. So yeah.:
Speaker 5:
Well, yeah, I mean that’s, that’s a habit that’s on a negative trade at them things. But yeah, no, like my mom could be petty sometimes she could have arguments, she can be very sensitive at times and to a certain extent I can be some of those things too. But I think my sensitivity level has been dialed back significantly in my, uh, advanced age I should say.:
Speaker 4:
And I just want to talk about how I also have your dad’s temper to do because I also do yelling at him alarm checks. And I actually, one time when I really got mad, I actually threw a squishy at the wall really hard multiple times, but at least it was a squishy and you know, not like a rock. Yeah. But yeah, I mean I think that’s the Irish side of the family coming out not to be stereotypical. Yeah. Yeah. My next question is if you could go back to one day in your childhood, what day would it be and why?:
Speaker 5:
I’m going to extend childhood to be anything before. Well, see, even that’s not not on, uh, I’m going to twist the question a little bit and just say one day in the past. Okay. Because the one day that stands out to me that I’d really want to go back to is the day before my mom went in the hospital the last time. Because if I, if I was able to go back knowing now knowing them what I know now, if I was able to go back in time, I’d be able to do things differently so that she would still be around.:
Speaker 4:
So what could you have done differently? She,:
Speaker 5:
uh, had a flu, I think it was that she had and she was chicken bad and I stopped over after work to help her out and she’s, she had other medical issues too, like she was diabetic and so forth. So I made sure she got all her medications and she was taken care of and had food and everything and I had to leave. I had to go home because I’d worked the next day and she had asked me to stay and I told her, I said, look, I can’t stay. I got to, I have work in the morning and I don’t have any clothes here or anything. I said, well, I’ll come back tomorrow and check on you. And uh, she had a medical issue that night and um, the next morning she was found unresponsive and just went downhill from there. So I’m convinced that had I had a abided by her wishes and I had the night, I would’ve been able to do something to make sure she was okay.:
Speaker 4:
I actually kind of seems a little sad. Well thank you. I appreciate that. I would definitely see why do you want to go back in time? I think that’s can properly answer the question even though it’s not a day in your childhood. Right. Well thank you. The next question is what did your parents do with you that you loved and what do they do that you didn’t enjoy so much?:
Speaker 5:
Well, the thing that we would do as a family, our family vacation, we would go down to Wildwood, New Jersey, go down the shore as your Wildwood crest. And this was later, I guess in my teen years, we started doing this and we’d, there was this one hotel that we stayed at down there, uh, the Hawaii Kai, which isn’t a hotel anymore. It’s actually, I think a condo development now. Okay. And we’d go down there, we’d spend a week down there, we’d go swimming, we do the beach. Uh, there was a large hotel across the street called the Bal harbor, which is still there. They haven’t a huge arcane. I’d spend time in the arcade, we do the boardwalk. Um, and like Christmas, this was one of those times where am I? Dad tended to unwind a little bit and uh, kind of showed his softer side. So that was kind of something that was nice. That sounds nice. It was. We really enjoyed it.:
Speaker 4:
Oh, what did you now enjoy so much? Stay parents did,:
Speaker 5:
what I did not enjoy was they both smoked, uh, and they smoke like chimneys in the house and the car out in the yard everywhere. They smoked everywhere. And it drove me crazy. Later on in life I was able to convince my mom to finally quit smoking. And what about your dad? Um, ironically enough he quit smoking when his first grandchild was born, sort of. He could be around longer for her.:
Speaker 4:
And, and can you describe why he quit smoking and the reason why he wanted to make sure to take care for someone?:
Speaker 5:
Well, you know, he, he understood that what he was doing wasn’t healthy for him and he, his hope was that if he stopped smoking, he will live longer and be able to spend more time with his granddaughter cause he desperately wanted it. Well he’s one of the daughter in general, but after having four boys, I think he finally said alone having a granddaughter. So when his granddaughter was born, she was going to be, you know, what he devoted his life to at that point in time. So he quit smoking to try and live longer.:
Speaker 4:
So basically he always wanted his own daughter or granddaughter.:
Speaker 5:
That’s correct. Um, and, and like I was saying, the ultimate irony was the doctors think that the, the change to his metabolism when he just quit cold Turkey is what actually triggered the cancer. So his, his desire to live longer wound up causing him to die sooner.:
Speaker 4:
Alrighty. So what was one thing that your mom or dad always used to tell you going up that turned out to be true?:
Speaker 5:
My Dad always, he was a practical man, wasn’t very, wasn’t a wealth of wisdom. But the one thing he would always say is the world always needs ditch diggers.:
Speaker 4:
Can you elaborate on that?:
Speaker 5:
What he meant by that is if you don’t want to succeed in life, if you don’t want to go to college, if you don’t want to be successful, if you don’t want to work hard to get ahead in life, then you can always resort to doing manual labor. It’s miserable work. It doesn’t pay well. But Hey, if you’re not interested in getting ahead in the world, that’s how you can always go. And it’s true. I mean that’s really what my dad was, you know, metaphorically, he was a ditch digger. You know, he never tried to get ahead in life. And I think especially looking at his, his siblings, because they were all college educated, they are very successful and I think he resented them for that to a certain degree and he regretted the fact that he never took the time to advance himself. My mom, my mom would like always like to say, always find time to forgive. We always, and it, that’s so typical of my mom. It really was. We always get mad at each other. There’s no relationship, marriage, friendship, you know, work relationship, no matter what. There’s no relationship where you don’t get angry at the other person, but you need to find room in your heart to forgive. And if you can do that, then you can get past just about anything.:
Speaker 4:
So next question. I early of yest, what this would be, what is your favorite movie or book when you were my age?:
Speaker 5:
Uh, when I was your age, that would have been 80 you’re at 1212. That would have been 86. So that means all three star wars movies would have come out by then. So I think at the time return of the Jedi would’ve been my favorite movie just because it was so fresh.:
Speaker 4:
Yeah. But in general you love Star Wars? Yes, I do. All righty. The next one is what is the hardest thing you went through as a child and how did you overcome it?:
Speaker 5:
Oh, the hardest thing was probably my dad having cancer. Again, I wasn’t really a child at this point. I was when he passed away, I was a senior in high school. It was something that that took up a large chunk of my time and my life in high school, he had a lot of doctor’s appointments he had to go to and I was the only person in the house they could drive because my mom didn’t drive and my brothers had all moved out. Uh, so I was taking a lot of time off from school at the time, taken to his doctor’s appointment.:
Speaker 4:
Did your grades drop?:
Speaker 5:
Did in fact, I almost got a left behind because of the excessive absences. But it was one of those things like, all right, I’m trying to say my dad’s life here. People cut me some slack of, I got to repeat the year. I’ll repeat the year if I have to, but I can’t not take him to his doctor’s appointments. You know, eventually we kind of came and came to a habit to school me, we can do a Ah, ah, agreement where they were, they were a little bit more lenient. Um, but how did they overcome it? I was working at the time too. So I was going to school full time. I was working 20 to 25 hours a week during the week and I was taking my dad to his doctor’s appointments and I poured myself into work. When he passed away, I wound up working even war and when I graduated high school, I had to work full time to support my mom at that point in time because she had no income. Uh, so it was really work. That was the coping factor for me. So:
Speaker 4:
does that work calm you down?:
Speaker 5:
Uh, it gave me enough of a distraction that, uh, I was able to step out of those problems that I was dealing with on a day to day basis.:
Speaker 4:
Okay. So my next question is, do you consider your parents to be good or bad parents, which I edit in. And why do you think so? Okay,:
Speaker 5:
good job. Pat Yourself on the back on this question. Just saying, um, we’ll take my dad first. Okay. And I don’t think my dad is good or bad. Uh, I think he was damaged from the loss of his first marriage and loss of his son and that kind of made him very distant. Um, and I don’t want to make excuses for them, but I can understand, you know, having gone through a divorce with a child involved already, I can totally understand how he was hurt by that.:
Speaker 4:
I mean you also experienced that.:
Speaker 5:
Exactly. So I don’t, looking back now, like I didn’t understand it when I was a kid cause I didn’t go through it. Having gone through something similar, I have a lot more sympathy for my dad now. I think he could have did things differently. I did different things differently. So I have to thank him for at least showing me how not to me. So I don’t think my, My, my dad’s good or bad. Really. He’s just gray, we’ll say. How about your mom? My mom, she was a scene, she was the best. And there’s, there’s too many reasons to describe why. But the biggest reason I think was that she, she never put herself before other people, whether it was my dad, my grandmother, my, you know, her children, she always put herself second. And that level of sacrifice for her entire life is commendable. Definitely. Sounds like she’s amazing. Yeah.:
Speaker 4:
Alrighty. The next question and then the final question in this section is, did you have any siblings and were you close to any of them?:
Speaker 5:
I did. I have three brothers. I’m the only one that I was ever really close to was my oldest brother Michael, until he passed away. And I think our relationship was more a default relationship because my two middle brother’s, uh, Tommy and Kenny were very close. So Mike and I just sort of gravitated towards each other because that was what was left over. You know, he and I were very different people and sometimes it was an effort to get along with him and in the end, ultimately I wound up being the one that was looking after him to a certain extent. But, um, I still miss him.:
Speaker 4:
Yeah. And you actually told me I actually met him.:
Speaker 5:
You did, you don’t remember meeting him, but he was over at the house a few times,:
Speaker 4:
so, and he’s actually the only one of your brothers I’ve ever seen. That’s correct. Alrighty. So that just about wraps up our family and friends part of this podcast. Okay. And we also have more questions that are about you.:
Speaker 5:
Okay. Ready? Yup.:
Speaker 4:
So the first question in this section is, as a kid, what do you think you wanted to be for a living?:
Speaker 5:
Oh, hands down. I want it to be a writer. I still do a novelists specifically. I wrote a lot of stuff. Uh, amateur stuff. I used to publish stuff in school, newspapers. I used to publish stuff and online publications and stuff. So I’m a writer at heart.:
Speaker 4:
Okay. So that devil sounds like a good career for you.:
Speaker 5:
All right. Well unfortunately it’s not one that I’m in, but:
Speaker 4:
yeah, absolutely. So, okay. The next question is, in hindsight, is there a time where you didn’t stand up for someone or something but wished you did and why didn’t you at the time?:
Speaker 5:
Well, yeah, my, my father was an abusive individual. Verbally, not physically, and he would go off on these rants against my mother at times. And for the sake of keeping the peace for the household, my mother didn’t fight back and it used to bother me. And at the time my father terrified me, which is exactly I think, do you want it? Uh, so I didn’t fight back on a lot of those occasions. And then one day when I was like 16, I’m not sure what it was, he was flying off on her because I think his dinner was cold. Well, his dinner was cold because when it was time for dinner, he was over at the neighbor’s house drinking and she can, he came home and my mother served and the dinner and it wasn’t piping hot lick. He wanted it and he flew off the handle on something snapped inside of me at that point in time.:
Speaker 5:
Uh, and my father was a small man. He was five, four, five, five, maybe, maybe 200 pounds soaking wet. And at 16, I was six foot, four, 300 pounds. So there wasn’t a physical intimidation factor anymore with my father. And I was just tired of him abusing my mom like that. So I got up in his face at that point in time and I got him between him and my mom and I wasn’t going to deal with it anymore and it almost came to blows. Um, but it didn’t. And um, he never yelled at my mother again after that.:
Speaker 4:
Well, that’s good.:
Speaker 5:
It is. But a couple of weeks later was diagnosed with cancer and that was probably why he didn’t yell at her anymore. But anyway,:
Speaker 4:
my next question is how has your idea of what it means to be a man changed over the span of your life?:
Speaker 5:
Being a man is less about image and more about substance.:
Speaker 4:
Okay. So that’s all you really have to say on that. That’s it. Okay. Next question is, what were some of your biggest insecurities when you were in high school?:
Speaker 5:
Uh, my weight was the number one biggest insecurity. Okay. I was always a big kid. And uh, that’s usually the first thing. Anything with your appearance is usually the first thing that kids latch onto when they’re going to be mean.:
Speaker 4:
Hmm. Doesn’t sound good. No. Alrighty. So the next question is, are you where you thought you’d be at this point in your life?:
Speaker 5:
Um, surprisingly no. I’m far more successful professionally than I ever deserved to be, to be honest with you. Uh, and I’m exceedingly fortunate to have the family life that I have. I have a wonderful wife, I have wonderful children, although I do have to admit that, uh, I thought my relationship would seem would be a little bit different than it is today.:
Speaker 4:
Well, it’s definitely gotten better.:
Speaker 5:
It has definitely gotten better, but, uh, it’s far from where it should be:
Speaker 4:
unfortunately. But most of it is all good. It is. So the next question that I have is, what is the first time you remember really getting your feelings hurt and by whom and what happened?:
Speaker 5:
Uh, first time still vivid in my memory. I was five years old and I was at the playground and this kid was making fun of my weight. And this was back before I had anger management, uh, counseling. And we wound up getting into a fight over it. And the ultimate irony is a, turns out he was a kid that was on the street next to mine and he and I became best friends for the next 20 years after that. Seriously. Yeah. Sounds kind of funny how things work out.:
Speaker 4:
Yeah, try the funny next question is who has the first person you ever said, I love you and a romantic context. And did she say back?:
Speaker 5:
The first person was Amy Siebold. She was a girl that I hadn’t met online through a dating service. She was going to college up in Ambler at temple. And uh, yes, she did say it back.:
Speaker 4:
Okay, so that answers that question. Next question is issue. Could have any, if you could have a dinner party with three people living or dead, who would it be?:
Speaker 5:
Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, and Douglas Macarthur.:
Speaker 4:
My next question is, what was the moment you realized you wanted to marry your mom?:
Speaker 5:
Uh, as Corny as it sounds, it was our first date. I’m sure she’ll claim something different, but I kind of knew after, after our first date of puffer bellies that, uh, she was the right one.:
Speaker 4:
And I just want to say something that happened on that first day that you told me right when you were there. Mommy had already gone on a bunch of dates and she was actually crying because she didn’t want this to be the final date.:
Speaker 5:
Exactly. So she fell for me at the same time. And she’ll tell you different, I’m sure. I’m sure.:
Speaker 4:
What does a typical Friday night look like for you at age 17:
Speaker 5:
by that point I was working nights after school. We’d close at about nine. I’d be there til nine 30 and then I’d come home and relax.:
Speaker 4:
Okay. Okay. That was the final question I had in this section. And since it’s our special podcast for you, I’m going to have your closing remarks and your shadows today. I get to do this, Huh? Yup. Congratulations. I hope you got it in your mind. Well, let’s get to it and now, sir, I gave it to you for your closing works and just shout outs.:
Speaker 5:
Well, thank you. I appreciate that that’s happened. Uh, my closing remarks, I really wasn’t prepared for this, but I hope this let you understand me a little bit more these questions and I would encourage our listeners out there to do sort of the same thing with their parents. Sit Down and get questions together that, that you think will help you understand your parents a little bit better and uh, and ask those questions and get those answers. Uh, some of these were some very good questions, very revealing questions and in, and I had fun doing this. I definitely had fun too. Um, shout outs while shout out to you. You did a fantastic job hosting. Not only did you produce, you wrote the show you’ve produced, you’ve run the board, you’ve hosted it and I think you’ve done a fantastic job and a, I see a future in broadcast for you at least for these podcasts. So thank you very much for hosting this today. Awesome. So that about wraps up our podcast today. I want to thank all of you is for watching and we’ll see everyone next week for our next podcast. Awesome. Bye everyone. Bye everyone.:
Speaker 6:
42:44 you were sitting:
Speaker 5:

Show Notes

  • Introductions
  • Discussing topic

Friends and family

  • Has something ever happened at a wedding that you would never forget?
    • I remember at my first wedding the Limo never coming to pick up the guys and I had to ride to my wedding in a pickup truck.  That was fun.
  • Think of some relatives that have passed away in the last few years. What would they be doing if they were with you?
    • My dad. He loved the summer. He loved working in his yard and sitting out in the shade and having a beer. Even though I don’t drink, I imagine I couldn’t resist having a beer with my dad on the deck under the big umbrella
  • What do you remember about the houses you live in as a kid? Which on did you like best?
    • I lived in two, but the first one we moved from when I was very young, like two or three. So I don’t remember it much. The other house, that was home. There were seven of us in the house at one point in time when my brothers were home and my grandmother was alive. It was cramped, but it was cozy. I miss the old house.
  • What did you have as a child that kids today don’t have?
    1. A type writer. Not even an electric one, an old manual typewriter. You didn’t have any way to correct what you typed wrong so you had to be real good. And you practically had to lean on the keys to get them to type. That’s how I learned to type.
  • What family member has been your greatest coach in life? How have they coached you? What made them good at it?
    1. My mom. She wasn’t well educated. She didn’t have a fancy job. But she had a wisdom about her they exceeded her years. She always had a way of making the worst situations seem manageable. She was the best listener I’ve ever known. Even if she didn’t have a solution or words of wisdom her ability to listen felt like any burden you brought to her was a shared burden and made it more manageable.
  • When you were a teenager, which family member did you go to for advice? Looking back, was it good advice?
    1. Advice for things I was dealing with at the time was probably my brother Ken. We never got along all that well but he was closest in age to me and when he could, he’d help with some advice.
  • Tell me a story about a family reunion or family party that you remember attending as a child.
    1. It wasn’t a formal affair, but my cousin Marie and her husband Artie would stop over a few times a year out of the blue. Whenever they did they’d make bleanies, a type of potatoe pancake. The house smelled so good and the food was the ultimate in comfort food.
  • If you could know anything about your family history or about a                   

relative who has passed away, what would you want to know?

  • My dad had a son from a previous marraige. I think his name was Johnny but I’m not entirely sure. I’d like to know more about him, who he was, what happened to him and maybe even meet him if he’s still alive.
  • What is the most embarrassing thing your mother or father ever  did to you?
    • For my first holy communion I had to dress up nice. I hate dressing up. My parents didn’t have a lot of money so they couldn’t afford to buy me new clothes. So I wound up having to wear this absolutely ugly brown suit that was a hand me down from one of my brothers which was about ten years out of date when they wore it. But you did what you had to do I guess.
  • What are your best memories of holidays or family gatherings as

a child?

  • Christmas. As I said we never had much money. So the only time we really got any presents was Christmas. And despite the fact that it probably broke the bank my dad would go overboard on Christmas to make it special. He was pretty distant the rest of the year. Christmas was when he shined as a father. Not just because of presents. That was largely the only time he showed us much affection.
  • Did your parents ever lose their jobs? What


  • My dad was a grocer at A&P for twenty five years. When he was coming up on retirement they forced him out unexpectedly. I was only about ten or so at them time. But the worry and concern he and my mom had permeated the whole house. He was the only working parent. When it became clear we couldn’t survive on his pension he had to go out and get a job again, which he did. But it was scary for a while, and I didn’t really understand why until I was older.
  • What is the best thing that your parents ever cooked?
  • Everything. No matter what my mom cooked it was good. I say now now probably because I miss her and her cooking. I’m sure at the time I wasn’t crazy about everything. But I especially loved her fried chicken, or her lasagna, or her vegetable soup, or her home made mac and cheese, or her personal meet lumps. Even her Spaghetti and Meatballs were outstanding because she’d hand roll her own meatballs made with her own recipe. Oh, and we can’t forget her cheesecake, but I think we do a fair job of recreating that ourselves with the help of her recipe.
  • How did your parents change after they retired?
    • My mom didn’t work so she never really changed. Not until my dad died at least. And he never had a chance to properly retire. He worked through his cancer diagnosis until he couldn’t anymore and then went out on dissability. He changed then, whether it was for being out of work or because he knew the cancer was terminal. But he became more…human. More approachable. In the end he finally came to appreciate those around him.
  • How are you most different from your parents?

How are you the same?

  • I like to think I’m very different than my father. I don’t have a drinking problem, I don’t drink. I don’t believe in physical punishment of my children. Though I do have a bit of his temper, I’ve learned over the years to focus it on inanimate objects unlike he did.

    My mom…I wish I was more like her. I wish I had more of her patience, her caring, her selflessness.
  • If you could go back one day in your childhood, which day would

it be? Why?

  • I wish I could go back to the day before my mom went into the hospital that last time. I’m sure if I’d done things differently she would still be here with me today.
  • What did your parents do with you that you loved? What did

they do that you didn’t enjoy so much?

  • Wildwood. We used to vacation in Wildwood, well Wildwood crest actually. I used to love that week we spent down the shore.
  • What I didn’t enjoy, they smoked. Both of them. Like Chimney’s
  • What’s one thing that your mom or dad always used to tell you growing up that turned out to be true?
    • My dad. The world always needs ditch diggers.
    • My mom. Always find room to forgive.
  • What was your favorite movie or book when you were my age?
    • Star Wars
  • What is the hardest thing you went through as a child? How did you overcome it?
    • My having cancer then passing away. I wouldn’t say I was a child at this point, I was a senior in highschool. But this probably counts. I poured myself into work. I was working part-time and going to school. When he passed away I had to go to work full time to make sure my mom was taken care of.
  • Do you consider your parents good or bad parents? Why do you think so?
    • I don’t consider my dad good or bad. He was damaged by loss from his first marriage and losing his son through it and just didn’t know how to be a good father after that.
    • My mom, the best. There are too many reasons to even describe. The biggest was that she always put herself second and her kids first, in everything.
  • Did you have any siblings? Were you close to them?
    • I had three brothers. I was close to my oldest brother Mike until he passed away. Our relationship I think was more because the middle two were so close and Mike and I just sort of wound up with what was left over.

About you

  • As a kid, what do you think you wanted to be for a living?
    • I always wanted to be a writer. A novelist to be precise.
  • In hindsight, is there a time were you didn’t stand up for someone or something, but wished you did? Why didn’t you at the time?
    • My father was a rather abusive individual, verbally not physically so much. Especially when he drank. There were many a times that he would go off on a yelling spree on my mom. It always bugged me that she never defended herself, more so that I didn’. Until one day when I was about 16 and finally decided I’d had enough of his abuse and finally did stand up to him.
  • How has your idea of what it means to be a man changed over the span of your life?
    • It’s less about image and more about substance.
  • What were some of your biggest insecurities when you were in high school?
    • My weight, I was always the fat kid. And our economic status. We were always a poor family.
  • Are you where you thought you’d be at this point in your life?
    • Surprisingly no. I’ve become far more successful professionally than I ever thought. And I’m exceedingly fortunate to have a wonderful wife and wonderful children. Though I have to admit, I had though my relationship with Sam would be very different than it is today.
  • What was the first time you remember really getting your feelings hurt? By whom and what happened?
    • Ironically it was when I was about five and at the neighborhood playground. This kid who was significantly smaller but older than me had made a comment about my weight. We got into a big fight. The ironic part was, he turned out to be my best friend through most of my childhood and into highschool.
  • Who was the first person you said “I love you” to in a romantic context? Did she say it back?
    • Amy Seybold. And yes, yes she did.
  • What was the moment you realize you wanted to marry Mom?
    • As corny as this sounds it was on our first date. Though I’m sure she’ll probably claim something different.
  • If you could have a dinner party with three famous people, living or dead, who would they be?
    • Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, Douglas MacArthur
  • What did a typical Friday night look like for you at age 17?
    • Work. By that point I was working nights afterschool. We’d close at 9pm I’d be out of there by 9:30 and then I’d be home to relax and go to bed. Not a very exciting life. But I had more important things to worry about at the time than socializing.
  • Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, but never got the chance?
    • A castle tour of the UK and Europe
  • When do you feel the happiest?
    • On the weekends when I’m around my family
  • What’s one underrated but important skill a person should possess?
    • Honesty.
  • What is the best gift you have ever received?
    • The Autobot Transformer Starfire. It wasn’t the give that was important, it was what my Dad went through to get the give for me for Christmas. His effort was the real gift.
  • What is your favorite age so far and why?
    • Probably my thirties. I was young enough to still fall in love. Old enough to know it was true love. And wise enough to make it last.
  • How do you want to be remembered?
    • With a smile