All posts by Ted Landphair

Weedpatch Dust Bowl Memories

Posted August 24th, 2011 at 7:39 pm (UTC-4)

Reading about the incessant wave of 100° (F; 38° C) temperatures and terrible drought conditions that thousands of Americans living in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas have endured this summer, I got to thinking about the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl conditions that ruined the land in those very places in the 1930s and early […]

Quakin’ but Unshaken

Posted August 24th, 2011 at 3:46 pm (UTC-4)
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Before I begin a brief riff about the 5.8-level earthquake that rattled Washington and much of the American East Coast yesterday, let me assure those of you who have experienced severe quakes, up to and including the loss of life and homes around you, that I realize earthquakes are no laughing matter in much of […]

Hard Times in the Country Country

Posted August 19th, 2011 at 6:24 pm (UTC-4)
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These are gloomy days in much of rural America.  One national newspaper described what it called a giant “rural ghetto.”  Another’s story, titled “America’s Failed Frontier,” concluded that the farm belt is steadily dying.  When we think about ghettos, we picture old, dilapidated inner-city communities.  But poverty and decay are rife in the country as […]

Where Have You Gone, D.B. Cooper?

Posted August 17th, 2011 at 5:26 pm (UTC-4)
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One of the first things that journalists learn is that their stories should answer six essential questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? So far, I’m only 3½ out of 6 when it comes to D. B. Cooper. His story — his legend — began to unfold in Portland, Oregon, on a Wednesday afternoon […]

Flash Mobs, Jim Thorpe, and Mighty Little Leo

Posted August 12th, 2011 at 6:48 pm (UTC-4)
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There’s an amusing commercial on U.S. television these days — one of those that’s so clever, you remember everything except the name of the sponsor. It’s shot in a busy train station.  A nice-looking fellow in a trench coat walks forward while glancing furtively at the overhead terminal clock.  Tick-tick, it progresses. At the precise […]

Down in Old San Antone

Posted August 10th, 2011 at 5:17 pm (UTC-4)
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It’s “San Antonio,” of course, but I keep thinking of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, singin’ about “Old San Antone” when it was a sleepy, blistering-hot place far down at the end of the trail. It’s hotter than ever there now, as you know if you’ve heard about the record heat wave and drought […]

More On Memoirs

Posted August 5th, 2011 at 3:23 pm (UTC-4)
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Each Monday morning, VOA’s features staff gathers to rattle off the compelling stories on which we’re working or hope to work at some point in our lives. When it was my turn last week, I mentioned that I was going to write about the wrenching, sometimes scary, process of examining one’s own life through words […]

Your Life, Written Down

Posted July 29th, 2011 at 6:49 pm (UTC-4)

When it comes to autobiographies and memoirs, you think of famous or eccentric people.  But in thousands of senior centers, churches, synagogues, and night-school classes, ordinary Americans are daring to learn, and write about, their lives.   And perhaps why Iris DeMent was wrong when she sang, in one of her mournful mountain songs, “My life, […]

Re-Creations Not Going, Going but GONE

Posted July 26th, 2011 at 7:01 pm (UTC-4)

Nat Allbright died last week in a Virginia hospital at age 87.  Unless you’re an American over 60, an ardent baseball fan, and a bit of a history buff, you’ve probably never heard of him. In his day, Nat Allbright was a legend — a craftsman, an artist, a master teller of baseball tales so […]

Riding the Old Roads — and Reminiscing

Posted July 22nd, 2011 at 2:48 pm (UTC-4)

There was once a Golden Age of automobile travel in the United States, when driving seemed carefree and scenic, and two-lane highways snaked across the countryside and right through the hearts of towns and cities. No slick “bypasses” in those days.  No siree.  The whole point was to funnel travelers and their dollars right past […]

Ted Landphair


This is a far-ranging exploration of American life by a veteran Voice of America “Americana” reporter and essayist.

Ted writes about the thousands of places he has visited and written about as a broadcaster and book author. Ted Landphair’s America often showcases the work of his wife and traveling companion, renowned American photographer Carol M. Highsmith.

Ted welcomes feedback, questions, and ideas. View Ted’s profile. Watch a video about Ted and Carol by VOA’s Nico Colombant.

Photos by Carol M. Highsmith


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