The Race Grows Sweeter | With Mary Chapin Carpenter

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(Brian Rea for The New York Times)
(Brian Rea for The New York Times)

Young Love.

The butterflies, the sweaty palms, the sleepless nights. But who says that experience is only for young people? This week's essay "The Race Grows Sweeter Near Its Final Lap" — written by Eve Pell — explores just that.

Sam and I dated for two years. Then, when I turned 70 and he 80, we had a joint 150th birthday party and announced our engagement.

Singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter reads us Eve's story. She's known for songs like "Down at the Twist and Shout," "I Feel Lucky" and of course, her rendition of"Passionate Kisses." She released a new album this year called "The Things That We Are Made Of." She was particularly attracted to Eve's essay because it reminded her of one of her songs, "Old Love."

When I was making the record that that song is on, I was talking to this dear, dear friend of mine — great bass player, Glenn Wharf, and he and his wife have been married a very long time, and they go up to this cabin up in Wisconsin. And when they're not there, their neighbor, an old fellow, checks the cabin for them. One day, Glenn and this neighbor were having a long talk, and I think the neighbor had been married like, 60 or something incredible like that. And Glenn said, 'How did you do this? How did you stay married for so long?' He just had one sentence in his answer: 'Nobody left.' And I just love that. Nobody left.

Eve Pell loves stories like that, too.  After she wrote this Modern Love piece, she was asked to write a book about love later in life.  She accepted the offer and traveled the country speaking with those who had fallen in love after the age of 60.  After the publication of that book, "Love Again: The Wisdom of Unexpected Romance," Eve's inbox started piling up with what she calls, 'Dear Eve Letters."  So she started giving out advice.

And now she wants to answer your questions.  

Have you had a hard time finding love? Are you trying to get back in the dating game after a loss? Maybe one of your parents has fallen in love again and it's been difficult to watch? Send a voice memo or a written question to Eve will come back to answer some of your questions. 

Voices in this Episode

(Courtesy of Mary Chapin Carpenter)
(Courtesy of Mary Chapin Carpenter)

For nearly thirty years strong, on many albums like "Come On Come On," "Stones in the Road," "Between Here and Gone," and "Ashes and Roses," Mary Chapin Carpenter has earned the trust of her audience through her willingness to look deep into herself and share joys and sorrows, good times and bad. That honesty, that quiet fearlessness, reaches a startling new level on her latest album "The Things That We Are Made Of." These eleven songs communicate with the plain-spokenness of handwritten, heartfelt letters from a confiding friend; this is art without the artifice.

"The Things That We Are Made Of" offers listeners a significant gift – an unguarded look into the beating heart of one of the strongest singer-songwriters of our time. In an intriguing way, Carpenter occasionally sounds as if she stands in the same relationship to the album that we do, that having created it, she is still plumbing it for meaning and for sustenance. “I feel as if I’m still trying to come up with a reliable way of talking about what this album is about,” Carpenter says. “I haven’t finished thinking about it. It’s part of an ongoing conversation that I’m having with myself about my life. But if you’re not trying to connect in some way to the world, what else is there? All I can hope for is that people connect to it. That’s the most rewarding part of doing this work – believing that you’re speaking to what we all feel.”

Carpenter's storied career has earned her five Grammy Awards, two Country Music Association awards, and two Academy of Country Music awards.  She will be touring the country through November.

(Courtesy of Eve Pell)
(Courtesy of Eve Pell)

Eve Pell is the author of "Love, Again - The Wisdom of Unexpected Romance," and the nationally acclaimed memoir "We Used To Own The Bronx.” Pell has received awards for print reporting and television documentaries and her work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Nation, Ms., Runners World, and other publications. She has been a staff reporter at the Center for Investigative Reporting and taught journalism at San Francisco State University. A  grandmother and world-class senior runner, she lives in Mill Valley, California.

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Jessica Alpert Managing Producer, Program Development
Jessica Alpert is the managing producer for program development at WBUR. In this position, she develops new podcasts and programs while also launching and nurturing WBUR’s newest projects.



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