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  • DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT IT WAS LIKE WHEN WE WERE 19

  • AND TOTALLY IN LOVE AND COULDN'T TELL ANYONE?

  • MY FATHER WAS EVERYTHING TO ME.

  • I LIVE MY LIFE TRYING TO BE HALF THE MAN MY FATHER WAS.

  • DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS, GRANDPA?

  • NOPE, LIVED A WONDERFUL LIFE.

  • I WANT YOU TO DO THE SAME THING, LIVE WITH COURAGE.

  • [INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC]

  • [INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC]

  • BENJI: I JUST START BY ASKING YOU

  • ONE OF THE QUESTIONS ON MY LIST, RIGHT?

  • ANYTHING YOU WANT.

  • OKAY.

  • SO WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A KID?

  • I WAS PRETTY WEIRD.

  • I DIDN'T WANT TO DO ANYTHING BUT WATCH TV

  • AND I SPENT A LOT OF TIME BY MYSELF.

  • BUT I ALWAYS LIKED TALKING TO OLDER PEOPLE,

  • LIKE THE WAITRESS AT THE LUNCHEONETTE AT NEAR MY HOUSE

  • OR MY GRANDPARENTS.

  • I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS JUST A FEW YEARS OLDER THAN YOU,

  • YOUR GREAT-GRANDPA ABE AND YOUR GREAT-GRANDMA ROSE

  • AND HER SISTERS CAME OVER TO OUR APARTMENT FOR THANKSGIVING.

  • AFTER DINNER, I FOUND THIS TAPE RECORDER LYING AROUND

  • AND SOMEHOW I GOT THE IDEA TO INTERVIEW THEM.

  • I DIDN'T HAVE A CLUE WHAT I WAS DOING,

  • BUT I RECORDED THEIR VOICES AND STORIES

  • AND I SAW HOW MUCH THEY LOVED BEING LISTENED TO.

  • A FEW YEARS LATER, YOUR GREAT-GRANDPA

  • AND YOUR GREAT-GRANDMA AND ALL HER SISTERS PASSED AWAY,

  • BUT I REMEMBERED I'D MADE THAT TAPE.

  • SO I WENT LOOKING FOR IT, BUT I COULDN'T FIND IT.

  • EVEN NOW WHEN I GO TO YOUR GRANDMA'S HOUSE,

  • I GO LOOKING FOR THAT TAPE, JUST HOPING IT'S GONNA TURN UP.

  • BENJI: I DON'T GET IT. WHY DO YOU KEEP LOOKING FOR IT?

  • BECAUSE IT WOULD MAKE ME SO HAPPY

  • TO HEAR THOSE VOICES AGAIN,

  • AND I'D LOVE TO PLAY THAT TAPE FOR YOU.

  • YOU KNOW, DOING THAT RECORDING REALLY TAUGHT ME SOMETHING.

  • YOU CAN FIND THE MOST AMAZING STORIES FROM REGULAR PEOPLE.

  • ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS ASK THEM ABOUT THEIR LIVES AND LISTEN.

  • BENJI: REALLY? THAT'S IT?

  • DAVE: YEAH, IT'S SIMPLE.

  • WE CAN LEARN SO MUCH ABOUT THE PEOPLE ALL AROUND US,

  • EVEN ABOUT THE PEOPLE WE ALREADY KNOW,

  • JUST BY TAKING THE TIME TO HAVE A CONVERSATION.

  • AND IF YOU PAY JUST A LITTLE ATTENTION,

  • YOU'LL FIND WISDOM AND POETRY IN THEIR WORKS.

  • DO PEOPLE REALLY WANT YOU TO ASK ABOUT THEIR LIVES?

  • YEAH, THEY DO.

  • MOST PEOPLE LOVE TO BE LISTENED TO

  • BECAUSE IT TELLS THEM HOW MUCH THEIR LIVES MATTER.

  • ALL YOU NEED TO ASK ARE QUESTIONS LIKE:

  • WHO IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN YOUR LIFE?

  • OR, WHAT ARE YOU PROUDEST OF?

  • REALLY, LISTENING CLOSELY IS SIMPLE.

  • WHEN YOU'RE CURIOUS, TREAT PEOPLE WITH RESPECT

  • AND HAVE JUST A LITTLE COURAGE TO ASK THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS,

  • GREAT THING ARE GONNA HAPPEN.

  • [INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC]

  • JAMES: LET'S TALK ABOUT MISS DEVINE.

  • CHERIE: LIZZY DEVINE.

  • JAMES: MISS DEVINE WAS A WIRY LADY.

  • SHE WORE SUMMER DRESSES, SHE HAD A BANDANA AND A STRAW HAT

  • AND SHE WAS THE ONLY PERSON I KNEW

  • THAT HAD MORE POWER THAN MY GRANDMOTHER.

  • CHERIE: SHE WASN'T A MEAN PERSON, SHE WAS STERN.

  • JAMES: STERN, YES, VERY STERN.

  • CHERIE: YOU KNOW, WHEN SHE SAID SOMETHING,

  • SHE MEANT EXACTLY WHAT SHE SAID.

  • IN FACT, SHE WAS OUR SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER.

  • THE ONLY THING THAT WOULD KEEP YOU

  • FROM GOING TO SUNDAY SCHOOL,

  • YOU HAD TO HAVE ONE FOOT ON A BANANA PEEL

  • AND THE OTHER IN THE GRAVE.

  • JAMES: ABSOLUTELY. CHERIE: THAT'S THE ONLY THING.

  • JAMES: THERE'S NO EXCUSE.

  • CHERIE: YOU HAD TO GO. JAMES: HAD TO GO.

  • CHERIE: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT YOU PRAYED FOR

  • WHEN YOU WERE IN MISS DEVINE'S CLASS WAS,

  • "LORD, PLEASE LET ME GET OLD ENOUGH

  • TO GET OUT OF THIS CLASS." (LAUGHTER)

  • SHE DID THE CATECHISM, "WHO MADE YOU? GOD.

  • WHERE IS GOD? EVERYWHERE!" (LAUGHTER)

  • SHE WENT THROUGH, AND WE SAID, "OH LORD, HAVE MERCY, PLEASE."

  • JAMES: THIS MISS DEVINE WOULD COME IN ON SUNDAY MORNINGS

  • TO TAKE US TO SUNDAY SCHOOL,

  • AND WHEN I SAW HER COME, CHERIE,

  • I THOUGHT THE LEAVES WOULD BE BLOWING OFF THE TREES

  • AND THE SKY WOULD GO BLACK AND THE CLOUDS WOULD COME IN.

  • AND SHE'D COME IN THE HOUSE ONE MORNING SAYING,

  • "GOOD MORNING, CHILDREN."

  • AND EVERYBODY, MY MOTHER ON DOWN SAID,

  • "GOOD MORNING, MISS DEVINE."

  • AND SHE SAID, "IT'S TIME TO GO TO SUNDAY SCHOOL

  • THIS MORNING, CHILDREN."

  • I SAID, "MISS DEVINE, I CAN'T GO TO SUNDAY SCHOOL TODAY."

  • SHE SAID, "NO?" I SAID, "NO, MA'AM."

  • SHE SAID, "WHY NOT?"

  • I SAID, "BECAUSE MY MOTHER DIDN'T BRING ENOUGH CLOTHES

  • FOR ME TO GO TO SUNDAY SCHOOL THIS MORNING."

  • SHE SAID, "OH, NO?" I SAID, "NO MA'AM."

  • SHE SAID, "WHAT DO YOU HAVE?

  • WHAT KIND OF CLOTHES DO YOU HAVE?"

  • I SAID, "ALL I HAVE, MISS DEVINE,

  • ARE MY PAJAMAS AND MY TENNIS SHOES."

  • SHE SAID, "WELL, THAT'S OKAY, HONEY.

  • PUT YOUR TENNIS SHOES ON.

  • WE'LL GO TO SUNDAY SCHOOL."

  • I LOOKED AT MY MOTHER AND SHE LOOKED AWAY, CHERIE.

  • MISS DEVINE MADE ME WALK TWO BLOCKS

  • IN MY PAJAMAS AND MY TENNIS SHOES.

  • I HAD TO SIT IN CHURCH WITH MY FRIENDS,

  • DOING SUNDAY SCHOOL IN MY PAJAMAS AND MY TENNIS SHOES.

  • I'M GONNA TELL YOU, CHERIE, I NEVER LIED AGAIN. (LAUGHS)

  • CHERIE: MISS DEVINE WAS ALWAYS THERE TO TAKE CARE OF US.

  • JAMES: RIGHT.

  • CHERIE: BUT WHEN MISS DEVINE BRAIDED YOUR HAIR,

  • YOUR EYES WENT UP LIKE THIS. (LAUGHTER)

  • YOU HAD TO SLEEP ON SOFT PILLOWS

  • BECAUSE, I MEAN, BOY, SHE HAD IT TIGHT.

  • JAMES: MM-MM.

  • CHERIE: AND MISS DEVINE HAD MANGO TREES ALL OVER HER YARD,

  • BUT MISS DEVINE NEVER BROUGHT YOU A MANGO

  • UNTIL IT WAS ROTTEN. (LAUGHTER)

  • IT WOULD BE, IT WOULD SMELL LIKE LIQUOR. (LAUGHTER)

  • THAT'S WHEN SHE BROUGHT YOU A MANGO.

  • JAMES: YOU KNOW WHAT, THAT'S THE KIND OF STUFF

  • THAT WE GOT GROWING UP, AND I NEVER FORGET THAT.

  • [INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC]

  • NOE: MY MOTHER, SHE WOULD ACTUALLY MAKE

  • UNDER $8,000 A YEAR.

  • AND IF SHE REACHED THE $8,000,

  • SHE WOULD ACTUALLY BE HAPPY THAT SHE MADE THAT MUCH.

  • SO, I WOULD LITERALLY GO OUTSIDE MY HOUSE,

  • PUT ALL MY PRODUCTS THERE AND SELL THEM.

  • I DIDN'T MAKE MUCH.

  • I MADE, WHAT, 20 BUCKS A WEEK.

  • BUT FOR A EIGHT YEAR OLD,

  • YOU'RE A MILLIONAIRE WITH THAT KIND OF MONEY.

  • ALEX: THAT'S A LOT OF COMIC BOOKS AND STUFF, YEAH.

  • NOE: BUT THE THING IS, I WASN'T LIKE OTHER KIDS.

  • I DIDN'T GO BUY POKEMON CARDS.

  • LITTLE MONEY I MADE, I GAVE IT TO MY MOM.

  • THE FIRST TIME, I REMEMBER SHE WAS COOKING

  • AND I CAME UP TO HER AND I TOLD HER,

  • "MOM, I KNOW YOU DON'T HAVE MONEY,

  • SO HERE'S 15 BUCKS I MADE."

  • SHE TURNED OFF THE STOVE,

  • SHE TURNED AROUND AND STARTED CRYING AND HUGGED ME.

  • FROM THAT POINT ON,

  • I JUST DEDICATED ON GETTING MONEY FOR MY FAMILY.

  • ALEX: HOW DID YOU MAKE THAT MONEY?

  • NOE: FIRST OF ALL, THE ONE THING THAT COMES TO PEOPLE'S MIND

  • IN THE BAD NEIGHBORHOODS IS DRUGS,

  • BUT I DID NOT SELL DRUGS.

  • REASON FOR THAT IS, FIRST OF ALL, I KNOW IT'S WRONG.

  • SECONDLY, I PICTURE MY MOM, HOW DISAPPOINTED SHE'LL BE

  • IF SHE FINDS THAT OUT.

  • SO, I ACTUALLY STARTED HELPING IN A CONSTRUCTION SITE,

  • AND THIS WAS IN FIFTH GRADE.

  • IT WAS BAD ON MY BONES.

  • I HAVE BAD SHOULDERS, BAD KNEES,

  • FOR ALL THE STUFF THAT I WAS CARRYING.

  • ALEX: WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER, DID YOU REALIZE KIND OF LIKE,

  • HEY, THIS ISN'T NORMAL,

  • OR THIS ISN'T WHAT OTHER PEOPLE GO THROUGH.

  • NOE: WELL, I ALWAYS KNEW I WAS POOR.

  • BUT I REMEMBER ONE TIME IN PARTICULAR,

  • MY SHOES WERE ALL SCRAPED UP,

  • SO I GOT PAINT AND I PAINTED THEM WHITE.