Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story
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#201 Some of the Things Madeleine Brand Loves

Madeleine Brand was born in Hollywood, CA, and even though her early childhood wasn’t glamorous, it was idyllic. She lived in a nice home in the hills, had two best friends, a cat named Uncle Lou, a younger sister to play with, and a Viennese grandmother who spoiled her by feeding her spoonfuls of Cool Whip and taking her to the beach. She was pretty unaware of the bad things that could happen until they did. In 1973, her parents divorced and things got dysfunctional. Madeleine’s mother took her sister and her to England to live with their other grandmother, who was loving but strict (no Cool Whip, no central heating). Her parents didn't speak to each other for 10 years. For some of this time, Madeleine listened to Carole King’s Tapestry and Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road over and over again. In college, Madeleine studied English at Berkeley and worked at her college radio station, KALX. She loved to read and write and thought that would be a great way to get through school—doing what she loves. Her first big story was covering the anti-Apartheid demonstrations on campus. The radio station had the only journalists there when the police marched onto the campus in riot gear; they were broadcasting live and it was exhilarating. Madeleine was hooked (and it helped that she had a great voice). When she was 21, Madeleine and her sister hitchhiked across Africa together. They were the first Westerners that some of the villagers had ever seen, but, even so, Madeleine wishes she would have traveled more and been more adventurous. When she was 23, Madeleine met her husband, Joe, at a public radio station in Buffalo where he was a freelance reporter, and they've been together ever since (19+ years). Madeleine loves Joe’s overflowing optimism, his playfulness with the children, and the fact that he believes in her more than she does. Joe loves how much Madeleine loves life, her joie de vivre. And Madeleine and Joe love their two amazing children—Zoe (7yo; her hair glows red in the sun and her eyes become half-moons when she laughs) and Nicky (4yo; his eyes are the color of the ocean and he can really dance). What else? Madeleine loves to read and to draw. More? She loves to dance in her backyard with her kids and husband. And Madeleine loves that her job doesn’t seem like work. So Madeleine is pretty happy and doesn’t really have any regrets (though she wishes she knew Spanish, liked swimming, and knew how to do a cartwheel). She wants to feel fulfilled and do something meaningful, something lasting, so that it's all not for nothing.

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