WINNETKA is a ten-episode memoir created and produced by award-winning actress Jessica Harper, with original music. The podcast features the voices of the Harper family, who share in the telling of their remarkable story.WINNETKA tells of six Harper kids coming of age in Eisenhower’s post-war America, in a Chicago suburb called Winnetka. The siblings are buffeted by the rages of a father with PTSD, challenged by life in a big family, rocked by social change in the sixties, and ultimately stunned by a long held family secret.
While going through our father’s files after the funeral, Sam finds stunning information about Dad’s ancestry that bounces crazily off of our mother’s. But Dad had altered his legacy. Also, his overt appreciation of my daughters has a healing effect.
I regret missing Woodstock, and resolve to tune in, turn on and drop out. Soon, all but one of us have left or been expelled from school. Dad melts down, then rebounds and moves his family to New York, marking the end of our childhood.
Just as Papa Harper dies of alcoholism, Dad gets promoted and moves his reluctant family to the east coast. Billy and Diana and I go to college, seeking sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll, while the younger three are miserable in their new home.Just as Papa Harper dies of alcoholism, Dad gets promoted and moves his reluctant family to the east coast. Billy and Diana and I go to college, seeking sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll, while the younger three are miserable in their new home.
JFK’s assassination in ‘62 marks a sea change. I lose faith, while big sister Diana finds it, and marches for civil rights. My brothers commit a string of petty crimes, and Billy becomes the first to push back against Dad’s anger.
Mom comes from a long line of ministers, and the goodness persists in the Emery family. The actions of Dad’s father, Papa Harper, also echo those of his forebears, but goodness has nothing to do with it.
A Marine (Dad) and a nightclub singer (Mom) are married in 1946. By 1950 they live in a Chicago suburb with three babies. Dad starts his career in advertising, while my mother struggles with being a stay-at-home mom. Dad shows an unexpected angry side, which Mom attributes to PTSD.
My family and I attend Dad’s funeral in ’13. As I listen to my siblings’ eulogies that extol his virtues, I note how our memories of childhood differ. But what we’ll all discover some days later is an awful piece of our history that none of us can change, misremember, or deny.
WINNETKA is a ten-episode memoir by actress Jessica Harper. She narrates her story of growing up in the fifties and sixties in a six-kid household in Winnetka, Illinois. You might expect a tale of an idyllic childhood. But when you meet the Harper family, you meet the unexpected…
WINNETKA is a ten-episode memoir by actress Jessica Harper. It tells her story of growing up in a six-kid household in Winnetka, Illinois, in Eisenhower’s postwar America. It seems like an idyllic time and place, but the children are dominated by an angry father, rocked by cultural change, and ultimately stunned by a long-held family secret…