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  • Writer's pictureNora Walsh Kerr

Meatloaf Unites Us

Updated: Jun 29, 2022

kids at dinner table 1970
Dinner table, 1970s

I just did the math—we’ve interviewed 123 people about their lives since starting up in 2015. That’s a lot of stories! While most are American experiences, they include memories and traditions from Poland, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, and Russia. We hope to add to this list of countries and cultures in the coming years.

In working with unique families from all over, I’ve found striking similarities that bind us together as humans. A few of my favorites include:

  • Nearly everyone grew up with scarcity of some sort: money, food, love, or attention. That shortage develops a sense of appreciation and gratitude for those necessities later on in life.

  • Sibling rivalry was common but a brother or sister was the first person to come to your rescue.

  • Family BBQs and picnics were more memorable than any nice dinner out.

  • From the Northside to the Southside, kids played outdoors until the streetlamps came on. That was the universal signal to come home.

  • There were often too many children and not enough bedrooms.

  • New parents have no idea what they are doing. That includes your parents.

  • Neighborhood friends were like family.

  • Pot roasts, tuna casseroles, and meatloaf often showed up on the dinner table.

  • While not everyone had a Norman Rockwell childhood, most remember their parents as doing the best they could to make life better for their children.

  • All stories include moments of joy, success, and pride, as well as mistakes, loss and grief. Most would not trade the lows for the highs, knowing that together they define a life.

In a time where viewpoints and experiences are often used to divide one another, it’s good to reflect on what unites us. I look forward to hearing more amazing life stories for years to come!


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