Filed Under:

Teenage Diaries Revisited: Mother And Son Listen To The Past

Name: Melissa Rodriguez

Hometown: New Haven, Conn.

Current city: Orange, N.J.

Occupation: Customer service representative


"I just started my life. I just started to go to school, I just started working, and I just didn't have anything settled yet."

In 1996, after 12 years living in the foster care system, Melissa recorded a diary about getting pregnant and becoming a mother. She was trying to straddle life as a teenager with the coming responsibilities of parenthood. When Issaiah was born, she struggled to create a more stable family than she'd experienced as a child. "I'm the keeper," she said. "When I hold him, I just feel, you know, important to him."


Melissa's son is a teenager. She and Issaiah have faced many challenges, from eviction notices to his serious health issues. Now, she shares her teenage diary with him and reveals things about her past that she's never mentioned.

On recording her teen audio diary:

"I recorded it because I had a lot on my mind, and it made me feel better when I talked about it. When you talk about it, those thoughts and those feelings kind of fade away a little bit, kinda make you understand the situation you're in."

Produced for All Things Considered by Joe Richman of Radio Diaries, edited by Deborah George, Ben Shapiro and Sarah Kate Kramer.

You can subscribe to the Radio Diaries podcast at

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit

WAMU 88.5

A Conversation With "Broad City" Co-Star Abbi Jacobson

What do Michelle Obama, Anna Wintour and Michael Jordan carry in their bags? Abbi Jacobson imagines the things you might find in her new illustrated book, "Carry This Book." We talk to the "Broad City" co-star about what you can learn from the contents of bags—and her success creating and starring in the hit Comedy Central show.

WAMU 88.5

New Approaches To Tackling Local Youth Hunger

The First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe and other regional leaders are exploring new, innovative ways to combat local food insecurity.

WAMU 88.5

What Washington Really Thinks of the Rest of America

Kojo explores the surprising findings of a Johns Hopkins survey on what D.C.'s federal workers and unelected policy makers really think of the American public.


Social Media Company Twitter Struggles Financially

Steve Inskeep talks to Emily Bell, director for the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia Journalism School, about the challenges Twitter faces.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.