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A conversation with Carolyn LaDuke about a bucket list accomplished

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Sarah and Carolyn LaDuke

Ten years ago, I interviewed my mom, Carolyn LaDuke, for an on-air StoryCorps inspired celebration of Mother’s Day. We recorded the interview on her 70th birthday in April 2011. Two years later, I recorded an interview with her again - after she’d recovered from a heart attack and while she was undergoing treatment for a second recurrence of breast cancer. Since then - my parents relocated from Saranac Lake, New York in the Adirondack Mountains to LaFollette, Tennessee in the Cumberland Mountains. They love their new home. They’re a little bit rude about how much nicer the weather is there than here in the Northeast.

In early 2019, my Mom called to tell me that her cancer had returned, metastasized, and she’d try some treatments but not put herself through rounds of chemo and radiation again. She set a goal to live to be 80. This past April, she turned 80 and my husband Paul and I helped my Dad have a covid-safe party for her. Her new goal is to celebrate Valentine's Day - and her wedding anniversary - in February of 2022.

The last time we went to Tennessee, Paul and I had a meeting with my parents, their priest and one of my brothers about funeral planning, my dog played with the dog my Dad got to keep him company when my mom dies, and I recorded a new conversation with my Mom. Inspired, again, by StoryCorps and The Great Thanksgiving Listen - we share it with you.

Sarah has been a public radio producer for over a decade. She grew up in Saranac Lake, New York where she worked part-time at Pendragon Theatre all through high school and college. She graduated from UAlbany in 2006 with a BA in English and started at WAMC a few weeks later as a part-time board-op in the control room. Through a series of offered and seized opportunities she is now the Senior Contributing Producer of The Roundtable and Producer of The Book Show.
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