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Oh, dotcom bigmouth. Do you miss the thrill of a live moth show? Then get your fix at one of our upcoming virtual stories. Lambs and Grand Slams held on Mondays throughout April. Don't miss our Earth themed story. Slams and making waves are Grand Slam. Come out and share your story or listen to stories from your community. Find tickets, dates and times at the moth mortgage events. This is the math review our from PUREX and I'm Catherine Burns.
This time, help me stories of the times we cry out for help or when it's offered when we didn't even ask for it.
And certainly after this last year, all of us have had moments of needing a little help.
I remember one winter a while back, it was a freezing cold day in Brooklyn. I taking my infant son for a walk in spite of the huge piles of dirty snow that had been left behind by a recent blizzard.
I was carrying even one of those little pouches hanging off your chest. And at one point we ended up waiting more than 10 minutes to cross the street because cars were whizzing by through the slash.
And I was scared about crossing the icy road with my tiny baby.
There was a man who was shoveling snow in front of his house and he was just standing there freezing in the cold.
Suddenly, he put down his shovel, got into his car, started it up and backed out of the driveway, blocking traffic in both directions. He motion for me to cross and I did. I was so grateful.
After I reached the other side of the street, the man pulled back into the driveway, turned off the car, got out and kept shoveling.
When I tried to thank him, he just shrugged.
And so our first story of unexpected help, a woman who needed a little love after getting out of a rocky marriage. She prefers to just go by her first name, Shery. She told the story at one of our Open Mike story slams in Ann Arbor, Repartner with Michigan Radio. Here's Sherri live at the mall.
My story starts back in 2014, where I got blindsided by my ex, my now ex addiction.
To sum up, the marriage would probably be the one I would have taken a bullet for, ended up being the one behind the gun.
And so during this whole process of divorce, he was.
Going to crush me, I mean, that was it was going to happen the way he wanted and how he wanted it, and so it was really difficult.
And during this whole process, I was I wanted to do was be held and I found that challenging to get mad because it's like I'm not just going to go up to a guy and say, hi, I'm Sherry. You want to hold me?
I mean, that could be awkward. And my best girlfriend was in Florida. And I'm like, wow. I mean, I just wanted to be held.
This was been so stressful. He was. Pushing and pushing and being outrageous, and I kept in my mind thinking, we're going to get in front of a judge, whatever you say, whatever you write, whatever you do, put the judge there. So I never reacted to what he did, but it was just building and building and building.
And I would talk to God a lot about it, like help. And so this one day I live off of Elsworth, down from Ann Arbor Airport, and I was driving towards State Street and there's the airport to the right and Costco to the left in this bank.
And there's this pond that I would always go visit and ducks and geese go there. And if you're from there, you know, the ducks and geese they're going across when they want. They don't wave their little wings. They just go and one follows the other. So I'm in the front line, like at the light.
Everybody's behind me.
And there's a whole, like eight geese and they're going to cross light turns green.
But I don't move because they're going to cross.
And so I can see in my side view mirror that this truck is pulling out into the center lane, probably thinking what the f why people stopped.
He doesn't see the geese.
And I'm like, oh, shit. I mean, he's really coming down.
And so I can't turn my car into the center lane and he's still coming. And I don't know if somebody's going to hurt animals. I become Robert De Niro.
It's just it's just I got out of the car. I made an X. And he's I mean, he's just so he comes and obviously he's stuck because I'm here and he swerves to the right.
And so the car, the truck he's in a big truck is to the side and he rolls down his window. And I'm like, OK, here it goes.
And he just comes off on me. I mean, motherfucker, little redheaded bitch.
And I'm you know, and I in my mind, I'm kind of motherfucker, not really sure that's possible, but little.
Yeah, I'm the red headed. You're going to go Irish on me now and and bitch. Yeah, we'll see.
And so he paused to get air and I said, do you have a gun? And he's like, you know, he didn't do Valley Girl, but that was like his like, no.
And my mouth went off on its own journey. I was mother fucking him and and just and people are out of their cars. They've got their cameras. I'm like, I'm going to be videotaped.
This is going to be on the news. He tried to save the guy's a little motherfucking redheaded little bitch.
And so it's just going off and it's just going on. And he pauses and adds, and I'm tracking his face and he stops and he starts to see the geese. He sees them walking across and he goes. Oh, my God, I see what you were trying to do. I'm so sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
I'm really I see what you were doing.
And when he did this, I just buckled.
I fell to the pavement and I just was bawling because it's all this tension for two and a half years with my ex never getting out.
And so. I was just sobbing and the next thing I know is I see boots and he said, give me your hands. And I couldn't I was spaghetti, I couldn't.
And he bent down and he literally picked me up and he looks at me and he said, Well, OK, I should probably ask you if you have a gun.
And I said no. And he just grabbed me and started holding me and he said, I don't know what's going on in your life, but let it out, just let it. And he's holding me and I'm crying. And my prayers are getting answered because I wanted to be held and I wanted to, you know, cry.
Granted, it's not how I thought God would answer that I was looking. Still, I'm for maybe more long term solution to that.
But so he helped me off the road.
Traffic resumed and more friends. So thanks. That was Sherry.
She's a holistic health coach who also likes to blog, write poetry, draw and paint.
Next, we have another from our story slam series, this one from San Francisco, where we partner with stations KSW and KQED. Here's John Lere. It took 326 Strangers'. To help me get over the death of my mother. In 2008, I didn't know much about cancer. But when my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer, stage four, I found out that cancer doesn't have a stage five. She had a couple of options, she could get chemo, radiation, she could have surgery to remove part of her colon.
I said, hey, mom, that means you still have a semicolon.
It was just a silly, dumb thing to say. But it made her laugh and. Kind of calm down the mood a little bit. We put in for the long haul, my sister and I would take her to chemo, but we felt powerless. Kind of hopeless. Then we heard about Relay for Life. Which is a global fundraiser where people walk around a track raising money for cancer research. We went to it in Santa Rosa in August and there were over a thousand people there.
We made friends. We raised money. We actually felt like we were part of something. And when the sun set, they did this slideshow of people's faces set to music.
And each face had two words next to it and.
If they had died from cancer, it said in memory. And if there were survivors said in honor. And when my mom's face came up and it said in honor. I actually had some hope. Maybe she would survive. But the next year, she was too weak to go to relay. When her face came up and it said in honor. I was afraid that. Might not be the case next year. And then something odd happened during the slide show, a song came on that just felt wrong.
It just didn't fit the tone or, as my sister said, that song. Oh, hell no.
And I began to worry, what if the next year the wrong kind of song came about just not understanding what the music should be, a song like like yesterday or Stairway to Heaven or smells like Teen Spirit.
I couldn't risk it. The odds were long, but still I felt like I needed to jump in there and I volunteered rather aggressively to do the slideshow myself for August of 2010. Then mom passed away in February of 2010. After her funeral, I took all of the emotions as a good Irish boy and I shoved them down deep.
And they kind of shut myself off from the world and I even forgot about doing the slide show until I started getting these emails in July. Hi, John. Thanks for doing this. This is a picture of my wife in memory. Hi, John. This is my dad in honor. They just started coming in one after the other, one after the other, every age, every ethnicity, every relationship. It's my aunt in memory, my uncle in honor.
I didn't cry. Until the 12th photo. It was a four year old boy. In memory. And as I started to put all of these faces into the slideshow. All of that emotion I buried so deep just came bubbling out with each face. And I started finally. To heal. I put music to it, and then at Relais, we did a slideshow and I said, I will never, ever do this again.
So this is my ninth year.
Because I realized it wasn't about me. It was about the people watching it and seeing their loved ones and seeing what they needed to see to heal and building the fuel to their fire, to keep walking and raising money and trying to find a cure. So every year I do the slide show, every year I cry, every year I heal. And every year. I put in one specific photo right in the middle of that slideshow, the very last one.
My mother. In memory. John, Lere is a graphic designer from Sonoma County, California. He says his ongoing midlife crisis inspired him to become a standup comedian and storyteller. We wanted to give a big shout out to the organization Relay for Life. Over the years, volunteers like John have raised hundreds of millions of dollars for cancer research and support. They do things like provide hotel rooms for families who come in from out of town to take care of loved ones who are in the hospital.
Many of their events involve walks which take place at night lit by stunning luminaries, candles that have been decorated with the names of cancer patients to remember those lost, celebrate the survivors and show everyone affected by cancer that there's light in the darkness.
To learn more about Relay for Life, go to the moth tag. Coming up, two different stories about giving help to strangers and then receiving much needed help right back. That's when the Moth Radio Hour continues. The Moth Radio Hour is produced by Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and presented by PUREX, President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen have a new podcast.
And right now you can listen to renegades born in the USA exclusively on Spotify. In the podcast, longtime friends President Obama and Springsteen sit down to discuss the country that's given them both so much, chronicle the stories of its people and connect their own search for meaning, truth and community. With the larger story of America, listen free only on Spotify. This is the Moth Radio Hour from Prick's. I'm Catherine Burns. Like the last story. Our next storyteller was also inspired to help others after her mother became ill.
We met her through our Boston story. Slang for her partner with WVU are impressed. Here's Angie Chatmon. My mother was skilled at all the needle arts. She can sew and broyer knit and crochet. Her grandmother, Deery, taught her and according to family law degree, was such an accomplished seamstress that she sewed for all the wealthy families in Chicago armer McCormick Rigley.
She was so good she could go in the front door of Marshall Fields when all the other colored folk had to go in the back door if they could go at all. On one of my visits to Chicago to see my mother, I found her flora flora covered pouch, which held her knitting needles. It was underneath a stack of old magazines and around those overdue bills and final notices. I took him home with me to Connecticut. And then I went downstairs and I took out the blanket she had knitted for me when I went off to college and I wrapped it around my shoulders and I cried.
As the Alzheimer's continued, its unrelenting and cruel mission to turn my mother. My smart and beautiful mother into this stranger I met, transferring the stitches from needle to needle. Row after row was like a rosary or mala beads. It helped calm my spirit and assuage my grief just a little bit. When my mother forgot my birthday, by that time, I had knit six hats for babies in the nick you when she forgot my name, I had knit 12 scarves for the homeless.
And when she couldn't remember anything, I had by that time knit a blanket for each one of my three children, just like she had done for me and my siblings. So I got gotten pretty good at knitting and I wanted to try some harder patterns like cables and lace squares and diamonds. And so I went on the Internet and I found a site where.
You could knit and then this woman in California would collect all the blankets, she asked for everyone around the country to knit and send them these blankets, these blankets or prayer shawls, and then she would take them to nursing homes in the area and pass them out to Alzheimer's patients. So I picked the faith pattern and I went into that project with a fervor because it was like I was knitting a shield against my sorrow. I wrapped it up and mailed it to Diane.
And about a week after I got this email from her now, I had never met Diane, but I pictured her as a gracious and charming lady who was so polished that she would wear pearls in the shower.
So she didn't. This is not a quote of the email. This is how I interpreted it. Dear Angie, what the hell happened?
This blanket is a quarter size of what it should be, you might as well not even call it a blanket. It's more like a placemat.
Please send us another blanket.
So I wrote her back and I explained that my mother had passed a couple of months ago and so I didn't pay attention to this thing that knitters have to do, called Gaige.
Now gauge just how tight a knitter holds the string. And it's an individualized and personal unique to the knitter as your fingerprint. And so when it comes to a pattern, you're supposed to check your gauge against the patterns gauge. And if it doesn't match, then you're supposed to adjust your gauge by changing the needle size or the kind of yarn or some combination of both. In my grief, I skip that step.
And so Diane forgave me and she said, you know, get to it when you can. And another week passed and she sent me another email. It turns out that the blanket that I had knit the placemat had gotten caught up in her delivery bag anyway. And this Alzheimer's patient, Marta, picked it. She needed it for Toninho, her dog.
Now, nursing homes don't allow dogs. This was a stuffed animal, but it was very real to Marda and to me.
Faith is a very powerful thing, and anything done with love is never wasted. Thank you.
That was Angie Chapman. She's a writer, storyteller and writer who lives in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston with her husband Eric, their children and their rescue dog, Lizzie Diane's website. And she mentions, which offers free knitting patterns for blankets and prayer shawls, is called Alice's Embrace, its name for Diane's mother, Alice, who also passed away from complications of Alzheimer's.
Angie writes, Although I still haven't met Diane in real life, she's a kind and gracious woman who let me know via email that she has never worn her pearls in the shower to see a photo of Angie and her mother go to the morgue.
While there, you can call our pitch line and leave us a two minute version of a story you'd like to tell. Do you have a story about being helped or helping someone else?
I personally cannot get enough of these stories about helping. They seem to go straight into my bone marrow and fortify me. The number to call is 877 799 MOTHE. Or you can purchase your own story at the morgue.
Uh. Next, we have a story from Carla Katz, she told it in New York City, where WNYC is a media partner of The Moth. Here's Carla. So I grew up in Paterson, New Jersey, which is famous for the Great Falls of Passaic, the rapper Fetty WAP and violent crime.
So it was normal for me in elementary school that our teachers would line us up at the schoolhouse door at the end of the day and count off one, two, three, run.
And we were supposed to race home as quickly as humanly possible to avoid being shot or snatched by some psycho upside.
As I turned into a lifelong runner. And, you know, I loved school, but things were tough for me at home.
My father had a hair trigger temper and I had what my father referred to as a big mouth.
And it was not a good combination.
And my mother would beg me to just don't egg him on, you know what he's like. And I promised all the time to be quiet, but but that was very hard for me.
But when I walked into the schoolhouse door every morning, I felt safe and special.
My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Rocker, was this sort of big, loving woman, and she made me her assistant to help the other kids learn how to read because I already knew how.
I'm not bragging, but and all my teachers growing up were wonderful until I hit fourth grade.
Mrs. Campbell, Mrs. Campbell, my fourth grade teacher, was thin as a rake and mean as a snake, and she was the worst kind of bully, an adult that picks on kids.
And she was mean to all of us, but she had a particular affinity for just torturing this one boy, Paul Buscaino.
And Paul was a chubby kid from a big Italian family that lived in my neighborhood. And the buscaino sort of looked like Russian nesting dolls if you pull them apart.
And Paul and I were really close. But, you know, we were friends from the neighborhood. And one particular day, Mrs. Campbell called Paul up to the blackboard and he was moving a little slow and she just started in on her usual sort of barrage of insults.
Move your fat butt, stop waddling. And Paul was looking down and starting to cry. And I was doing everything I could, honestly, to avoid eye contact with Mrs. Campbell because I just didn't want to be next. And I'm looking down into my lap and I just felt something welling in my chest. And before I knew it, I heard myself scream, leave him alone. You, which I'm pretty sure she heard bitch, but.
She forgot about Paul, and she dragged me up to the the blackboard and she just started whacking me across the backside with a yardstick until it broke because she wanted me to cry and I hadn't cried yet. So she had me turn around and put my hands out and she just beat me across the knuckles over and over, trying to get me to cry.
But honestly, I had a lot of practice at home, sort of defiantly withholding my tears. And eventually I just sat down. My hands were throbbing and my mind was just racing with fantasies of revenge. I was going to go home.
I was going to tell my parents they were going to race to the school. She was going to go to jail and she'd be in a little cell and just drinking water. She'd be even skinnier and turn into a skeleton.
And my eight year old said she was going to be in so much trouble.
But when I got home and told my father, he punched me and said for disrespecting the teacher.
And I went to my room and cried and hid under the covers, just feeling incredibly small, sort of more stung by my father's rebuke than Mrs. Campbell's yardstick.
And then I heard the doorbell rang, my father yelled Carl door, and I thought I was definitely in trouble again. So I tiptoed out. And when he swung the door open, though, I could see the entire Buscaino family standing on our stoop. And Mrs. Buscaino sort of nudged Paul forward a little bit. And he looked at me and said, thank you for today. And then Mr. Buscaino put his hand out to shake my father's hand and said we came as a family to thank Carla, but also to thank you and Mrs.
Katz for raising a kind and caring daughter.
And in my head, I just was fervently hoping that my father was ashamed for having just hit me. And also, I guess, hoping that he was a little bit proud, but he never said anything. And he's gone now, so I'll never know. But what I do know is that that moment changed everything for me, because in that moment, I sort of suddenly stopped feeling so afraid. And in that moment was the first time I felt a real sense of my own personal power.
And that's the moment when I look back that I attribute to my becoming an advocate.
And years later, I became a union organizer and a union leader and a political activist and a labor lawyer. And five decades have passed and I'm still at it.
I still have a big mouth, but in my deepest heart, still, that eight year old girl standing on the stoop in Paterson, New Jersey, finding her mighty new voice. Thank you. Carla Katz is a comic actor and moth story slam champion who lives in Hoboken, New Jersey. Her stories have been featured on many of the podcasts put out by our storytelling friends, including Story Collider and Fish Out of Aqua and her other life. Carla is still a labor attorney and professor, a political activist and a union organizer.
Coming up, Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi talks about how she cut her famous scar. That's when the Moth Radio Hour continues. The Moth Radio Hour is produced by Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and presented by the Public Radio Exchange PUREX Doug.
This is the Moth Radio Hour from Pretz, I'm Catherine Burns. Our final storyteller in this hour is author and television host Padma Lakshmi. I was introduced to Padma through a mutual friend, was a little nervous because she was the first storyteller I'd be working with since giving birth to my son. I was extremely sleep deprived and worried that wasn't my game. But then the first time we spoke, I found out that Padma had a baby to her daughter. Krishna had been born the day after my son Harry.
So Padma wasn't getting any sleep either. We ended up working out the beats of her story over the phone with her babies, sleeping in our arms, trying to get through without either of the baby's cry or us crying. As it turns out, Padma wanted to tell a story about her own mother, a warning. It includes a description of a pretty nasty car accident. Here's Padma Lakshmi live at the mall.
People often ask me how I got the scar on my arm. And. What happened was when I was 14 years old, I got really sick and no one could figure out what was wrong with me.
I was very ill. And finally, after a week of not getting better, my mother took me to the hospital. And I, after many tests, was finally days and days later diagnosed with a hyper allergy, something called Stephens Johnson Syndrome. And once they finally found out what was wrong with me, they treated me for it. But not before I had spent weeks in the hospital, weeks blind and mute, as well as being fed by tubes and having to sleep sitting up so that I wouldn't choke on my own saliva.
In her fashion, moved in to the hospital to be by my bedside and slept every night in the hospital to take care of me, and she wouldn't leave my side. And finally, when I was released on February 1st, I remember it was a Friday as we were riding home in our car. She said, I've made a promise to God that if God delivers you safely out of the hospital, that I would go and I would do a penance and I would go to the temple and make an offering to give thanks for delivering my child home safely.
So I know you're really sick, but I'm going to see if your stepdad can can drive us on Sunday to the temple.
And I just sort of nodded in my very ill way and I said, OK. And on that Sunday, February 3rd, my stepfather and my mother and I drove in our red Ford Mercury car with the black interior to the Hindu temple. And I was very ill.
I was very, very weak and frail.
And that was long enough ago. I was 14 a long time ago when they still had the front seat.
That was a couch seat.
So my mother wedged me in between her and my stepdad because, you know, she wanted to take care of me. I was still really sick. I could barely hold my head up.
I had lost a lot of weight. I was so weak that she said, you stay in the car, I'll do the offering. She she went. She did the prayers. She did the flowers. She rang the bell. She got the food. And they came back in the car and she handed me the squeaky round Styrofoam plate with a bunch of yellow rice on it and some vegetable curry or whatever it was.
And off we went back down the highway. And I remember thinking, what a beautiful, sunny Sunday it was. And I was trying desperately to concentrate on this plate of food. And my mother said, you know, just try and have a couple bites of it. Just, you know, it's it's blessed. It's from the the puja we did.
And as I was eating this rice, suddenly I heard a loud bang and I looked up and I can remember the plane flying. And yellow rice everywhere like confetti. And as the race came down, all I could see was this beautiful blue sky, this crystal clear blue sky.
No clouds, no cars, no road in front of us, no trees, nothing, just a. miraculous blue sky and this kind of yellow grains flying all around.
And then all of a sudden I heard another thud.
And then I kind of heard and it was us.
We were flying and then we were airborne. I realized.
And then what stopped our fall was this tree. And then we kind of went down further down this embankment and. Then finally came to a last bud. And there was just stillness. I.
Kind of strained my neck and I could see my mother to my right and we were all pinned very closely together and my mother had her eyes closed and her mouth open and blood was trickling out of the side of her mouth. And to my left, my stepfather was saying over and over again, this mantra of where are we, Vijay?
What happened? Vijay, weren't we driving? Vijay We were at the temple, Vijay. Vijay. Vijay, my mother. And from my mother emanated this profound and nauseating silence. And I started to scream at my mother, I say, Mom, are you awake, are you awake? If you're awake, say something. Say something, please. If you're not awake, I love you, Mommy. I love you. If you are awake, I love you.
But please say something.
And in the back of me screaming was this chorus, this nonstop loop of my stepfather, almost like that clichéd image or track that the, you know, the cartoons when a bird or a cartoon characters hit on the head and they say, where am I?
You know, what's going on? That was exactly what he was doing. And he just kept repeating this. And it was all of a sudden I started feeling things. I started feeling hot and cold and wet and sticky and itchy and burning and.
All I could feel from my mother was this silence emanating from her that kept getting louder and louder, the silence.
Then I finally heard a man call down to us and say, are you OK? Are you OK? I said, Yes, we're alive. We're alive. Please get help. Please, please get help. And then a bunch of firemen came and I remember hearing the crunch of their boots down, the leaves down, you know, on the leaves down the embankment. And they came and, you know, they. Kind of got I heard chainsaws, I heard a helicopter in the distance approaching, I heard blow torches, I would later learn that they had to use these famous things called the jaws of life to cut open the roof of this red Ford, Mercury, Zephyr.
And so, you know, I got taken to the City of Angels and my parents got taken somewhere else, my arm, you know, because we were pinned so tight, my arm had flown across my mother's chest. And so my arm was just shattered in many pieces.
And I lay there for hours and hours not knowing what happened to my parents, not knowing if my parents were OK, if my mother was alive.
And I remember being incredibly uncomfortable in a cold hospital bed with glass everywhere in every crevice of my body, under my nails, in my hair, in my ears, shattered glass everywhere. And I remember, you know, in the emergency room, I remember vague bits and pieces of what people said, like, you know, well, I don't think it's worth doing.
But, you know, I question the mobility of that arm or as well as I want to. And we were home. It took us a long time to heal. My stepfather broke his leg, his left leg in four places, as happened to my mother, had to come home and still have a hospital bed at home for weeks and months. And we had one to one nursing 24 hours around the clock at home because of course, my mother this time could not care for me, could not be by my side.
And she had her own hospital bed. But my mother was determined.
They said that they weren't going to do any surgery on my arm because they thought it wasn't really worth it, that it would probably be dormandy be kind of semi lame at my side.
And, you know, I was so young I could learn to do everything with my left hand. And so my mother was determined not to let this happen.
And so she, from her hospital bed at home, ordered me to go to another orthopedist whom she had found on the phone through colleagues.
And he said, well, she's so young, we should do it.
And he decided to do surgery on my arm. And I got this very beautiful, thin scratch of a surgery incision. And there was a cylindrical metal plate that was put on, and as my arm got better, the scar got worse. And, you know, I was very awkward to begin with and I was feeling, you know, I was 14 at all these hormones and feeling off about my body.
And I knew that the scar on my forearm was looking bad. And so I knew what was to come with this scar. And so anyway, years go by and I had to have multiple surgeries on the arm every time the arm got more and more better. And every time the scar got longer and thicker and a root beer and darker. And, you know, I kind of found ways to look.
Normal while hiding it, you know, and I would go on dates in college and I would have to really think about whether I was going to wear a short sleeved blouse or a long sleeved blouse. And then I was studying abroad and I started modeling, of all things. And, you know, I wasn't a fancy model. I, I used it. I graduated from college. And then I really started modeling to pay off my college loans. It was a fit model, a workaday model.
And then this weird thing happened. The agency called me and they said, guess what?
Helmut Newton wants to shoot you.
And, you know, I was young and I I was like, who's Helmut Newton?
I said, you know, Helmut Newton, the guy, he's great as his beautiful, sexy, dangerous, edgy pictures of women and he wants to shoot you. So, you know, before my agency would, you know, and they were calling around. So they get comments like, you know, she's yeah, she's kind of pretty, but that's scar.
Those same people were calling going, can we book the girl with the scar?
It's amazing that somebody else thinking you're cool can make you think differently of yourself. And, you know, so all of a sudden I was doing all these runway shows, you know, I was, like, doing a Alberta Ferreti and Herve Leger and all these great. And so my salary went up and, you know, all of a sudden I was the girl with the scar.
So, you know, maybe the scar was this mixed blessing in a way. Right, because it paid off my college loans and, you know, bombing apartment, paid off my mom's mortgage, a lot of cool things.
So I thought that was great. And I was thinking about all of this recently because I found myself on my back in another hospital bed staring at another white ceiling and. I was told that I would probably never have children naturally, and that was very upsetting, as many women can understand, and men, too. And then I got pregnant, which was a real surprise, but a happy one.
And then I was told it would be a difficult pregnancy. And then it was a really difficult pregnancy. And I was ordered on complete bedrest the last trimester of my pregnancy. And my mother in true fashion moved in with me the next day. Yeah, it's true. And you know, when your mother moves in with you at 39, it's a completely different experience.
But there she was, valiant in her nurturing. And, you know, it was a very scary last few weeks of the pregnancy. I wound up going to the hospital more than once before I had the baby and one time for five days with the fetal heart monitor and tubes everywhere and staring at the ceiling and thinking to myself, God, please get me out of here. Please deliver me and my child intact and healthy out of this hospital.
And I recently miraculously found myself again with my mother in another car, this time going to Flushing, Queens, to another temple, but this time to give thanks for the safety and delivery of my daughter.
Thank you. That was Padma Lakshmi. She's the executive producer and host of the long-running TV show Top Chef, which has been nominated for thirty two Emmys.
She's also the author of numerous selling cookbooks and the memoir Love Loss and What We Ate.
She's now the creator and host of Face the Nation, a gorgeous Hulu series which tells the story of America through the lens of immigration and food. It serves as a living cookbook, focusing on the people and cultures which have contributed to American cuisine.
We recently honored Padma at a virtual version of our annual gala, which we lovingly refer to as the Mothball Iroha, longtime moth host and storyteller Mike Birbiglia introduced Padma and we thought we'd include some of their remarks here.
Not only did she tell her own stories, but she's creating space for other people to tell their stories and that that that culinary and television artistic creation is ultimately feeding our souls. She's also someone who who uses storytelling as an activist. She's an ambassador for the ACLU, focuses on women's reproductive health and immigration issues. And for all those reasons and more, it is an honor and a privilege to present Padma Lakshmi with the month, award her authenticity and her candor, and bring out the courage and strength in others to share their stories.
And by showing her humanity, Padma makes it a little easier for us to show ours. And for this, we thank her.
Hi, everybody. I am so honored and beyond happy and excited and elated to get this award from the moth.
I love with the Moth does it tells the stories of our lives and it allows people to share who they are, who they were and who they hope to become. One of the reasons I did taste the nation is because I wanted to tell stories that I didn't feel were being told in mainstream media. There was so much vilification of immigrants and others that I just felt I needed to share a positive light on on how immigrants across this country are living their lives and contributing to our culture and our nation.
I'm so excited and flabbergasted to get this award because I know the amazing people who have received it before me, like Roxane Gay and Zadie Smith. And I am so humbled really to be in such company. The Moth is such an important organization to me and to be recognized by them in this way is really probably the best thing that's happened to me this year.
And that was Padma Lakshmi, the winner of the 2020 MOTHE Award.
And that's it for this episode. We hope you'll join us next time for the Moth Radio Hour.
Your host this hour was The Moth's artistic director, Catherine Burns, who also directed the stories in the show, additional Grandslam Coaching by Larry Rosen.
The rest of the MOS directorial staff includes Sara Habermann, Sara Austin, Janis Jennifer Hickson and Meg Bowles production support from Emily Couche.
Most stories are true, as remembered and affirmed by the storytellers. Our theme music is by the drift of the music. In this hour from Blue Dot Sessions, Julian Lodge, Michael Hayes Quartet and Rudresh Mahanthappa.
The Moth is produced for Radio by me Jay Allison with Viki Merrick at Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
This hour was produced with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Moth Radio Hour is presented by the Public Radio Exchange dot org. For more about our podcast. For information on pitching us your own story and everything else, go to our Web site, themoth.org.