As a journalist and author, Sarah Smarsh has built her career around examining socioeconomic class. In 2018, her book Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth became a New York Times bestseller and was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award.
Sarah grew up outside of Wichita, Kansas, and spent much of her childhood on her family's farm. The Farm Crisis during the 1980s led to her family leaving farming behind, and her dad, Nick, had to find work elsewhere—first, he worked locally on construction crews; now, he puts up buildings for fast food chains in far-flung places like Mississippi and Texas.
In this audio essay, Sarah interviews her dad about the changes he's endured throughout his lifetime, and about how, at 63, he thinks about his future as someone who builds things with his hands.
This episode is part of Death, Sex & Money's 2019 Maternity Leave Lineup.