Wisconsin Authors: June Melby, Poll On Stress In The United States, Teach Me What You Know: How To Podcast

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

In our weekly Teach Me What You Know segment, a podcaster teaches Veronica Rueckert and Gene Purcell how to start a podcast out of your own basement. They also talk to a Wisconsin author about her new memoir and discuss NPR’s stress poll, which shows that almost half of all Americans experienced a major stress event in the last year.

Featured in this Show

  • Memoirist Reflects On Summers Spent Working At Mini-Golf Course

    The writer and poet June Melby might have grown up in Iowa, but starting from age 10, she also had a second home: a miniature golf course near Waupaca that she and her family would operate during the summer months.

    As Melby shares in her new memoir, “My Family and Other Hazards,” her parents bought the Tom Thumb Miniature Golf Course on a whim, hoping it would augment their teachers’ salaries.

    “It was on a lake. There were no other businesses … It was just cottages, cottages, cottages, miniature golf course,” said Melby.

    While the Melby sisters envisioned summers that would be spent putting and relaxing, running a golf course turned out to be hard work. Melby found herself handling her first customers when she was only 10 years old. Painting, raking and ridding the course of frogs that clogged up the ball tunnels were also a regular part of her summertime life.

    “We were working so other people could have fun — and as a kid, that’s really irritating,” said Melby.

    When she grew older, however, Melby came to appreciate the happy golfers who turned up to play in her front yard, many of whom came from all around the region.

    And the foil to the daily work of Tom Thumb, was the beauty of Wisconsin. Every year on her birthday, Melby and her younger sister, Clara, made a ritual of biking out to the state park and floating in one of the area’s many lakes.

    However, the Midwest’s beauty wasn’t enough to keep Melby there once she became a young woman. She spent years in Los Angeles working as a stand-up comedian, enjoying some success but never quite breaking through.

    When the news came that her parents were going to sell Tom Thumb due to climbing property taxes, Melby was surprised to find herself heartbroken. She daydreamed that she had enough money to buy the golf course and give it to her parents, instead of watching as it was sold off.

    Luckily, Melby found an outlet for her creativity and her girlhood memories in the writing of her new memoir, as well as a way to say good-bye to her childhood.

    “I kind of feel like I did capture it in the book,” Melby said. “And that makes me happy.”

    As of the printing of Melby’s book, the Tom Thumb golf course is up for sale again.

  • Wisconsin Authors: June Melby

    Wisconsin is making its mark on the literary scene. Today, we speak with a first-time author about her new memoir which tells the story of her family’s miniature golf course in Waupaca.

  • NPR Stress Poll Shows Almost Half Of All Americans Experienced A Major Stressful Event In The Last Year

    NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a nationwide poll on stress in the United States and found that almost half of all Americans experienced a major stress event in the last year. A psychologist breaks down the findings of this poll and explains what you can do to deal with stress in your life.

  • Teach Me What You Know: Podcasting

    For the past several years, podcasts have been steadily gaining popularity. Our guest talks about his podcast, and shows us how anyone can get started podcasting from their own home.

Episode Credits

  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • June Melby Guest
  • Frank Farley Guest
  • Scott Gordon Guest
  • Amanda Magnus Producer
  • Karl Christenson Producer

Related Stories