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American History: The 'Reagan Revolution' STEVE EMBER: Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION American history in VOA Special

l English. I'm Steve Ember. This week in our series, we look at the presidential campaign of nineteen eighty and the election of Ronald Reagan. (MUSIC) The months before Election Day in November of nineteen eighty were difficult for President Jimmy Carter. Many Americans blamed the Democrat for the nation's economic problems, including high inflation and high unemployment. Many also blamed him for not gaining the release of fifty-two American hostages in Iran. About a year earlier, Muslim extremists had seized the United States embassy in Tehran and taken the Americans as prisoners. President Carter urged all Americans to support his administration during the crisis. As the months went by, however, he made no progress in bringing the hostages home. The Iranians rejected negotiations for their release, and an attempt to rescue them failed. The president appeared powerless. Carter's political weakness led another Democrat, Ted Kennedy, to compete against him for the party's nomination. Kennedy was a powerful senator from Massachusetts and brother of former President John Kennedy. But at their national convention the Democrats nominated Carter for a second term, along with his vice president, Walter Mondale. Kennedy chose not to support them very strongly, so the Democratic Party was divided for the general election. (MUSIC) The Republican Party, however, was united behind a strong candidate -- Ronald Reagan, a former actor and former governor of California. Reagan's running mate for vice president was George H. W. Bush. Bush had served in Congress and as head of the Central Intelligence Agency. He had also represented the United States as ambassador to China and to the United Nations. The inability of the Carter administration to solve the hostage crisis and other problems made many Americans feel that their country was weak. Reagan promised to give them confidence once more in the nation's strength. Carter and Reagan debated each other several weeks before the election. To some people, Carter seemed angry and defensive while Reagan seemed calm and thoughtful. RONALD REAGAN: "Next Tuesday is Election Day. Next Tuesday, all of you will go to the polls and make a decision. I think when you make that decision, it might be well if you would ask yourself: Are you better off than you were four years ago? Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the stores than it was four years ago? Is there more, or less, unemployment in the country than there was four years ago? Is America as respected throughout the world as it was? "And if you answer all of those questions 'yes,' why then, I think your choice is very obvious as to who you'll vote for. If you don't agree -- if you don't think that this course we've been on for the last four years is what you would like to see us follow for the next four -- then, I could suggest another choice that you have." (MUSIC) On Election Day, voters gave Reagan a huge victory. It became known as the "Reagan Revolution." Inauguration Day was January twentieth, nineteen eighty-one. Ronald Reagan became the nation's fortieth president and, at sixty-nine, the oldest ever elected. In his inaugural speech, the new president talked about the goals of his administration. A major goal was to reduce the size of the federal government. Reagan and other conservatives believed that the nation's economy was suffering because of high taxes and unnecessary laws.

Government, he said, was not the solution to the problem. Government was the problem. He urged Americans to join him in what he called a "new beginning." RONALD REAGAN: "The economic ills we suffer have come upon us over several decades. They will not go away in days, weeks, or months. But they will go away. They will go away because we as Americans have the capacity now -- as we have had in the past -- to do whatever needs to be done to preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom." (MUSIC) Ronald Reagan was born in nineteen eleven in the small community of Tampico, Illinois. He was a good student and a good athlete. During summers, he worked as a lifeguard at a river and saved a number of swimmers. He studied economics and sociology and was on the swim team at Eureka College, a small school in Illinois. While in college, he became interested in acting. But he did not have enough money to go to New York or Hollywood to study to become an actor. Instead, he tried out for a job as a sports announcer on radio. To show his abilities, he made a recording of a football game in which he announced all the plays. But the game was imaginary. He invented all the action. A radio station in Davenport, Iowa, liked his creativity and gave him the job. Later, "Dutch" Reagan, as he was called, worked at a radio station in Des Moines, Iowa. And then he moved to the big city -Chicago, where he worked as an announcer for the Chicago Cubs baseball team. In March of nineteen thirty-seven, the Cubs were in California for spring training. Reagan went along, and while he was there he took a screen test with Warner Brothers. The movie studio liked the friendly, handsome young man and offered him a job. In fact, in his first movie, he played a radio announcer. Before long, Ronald Reagan was a Hollywood star. He appeared in many movies some good, some ordinary, but most very popular with the public. In the nineteen-forty film "Knute Rockne -- All American," Reagan played Notre Dame University college football player George Gipp. His deathbed speech contained a line that would often be associated with the Reagan presidency. GEORGE GIPP (RONALD REAGAN): "Ask them to go in there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper. I don't know where I'll be then, but I'll know about it, and I'll be happy." (MUSIC: "Kings Row") In "Kings Row," Reagan played a double amputee who had lost both legs. DRAKE (RONALD REAGAN): "Randy! Randy! Randy! Where's the rest of me? Randy " RANDY (ANN SHERIDAN): "Yes, Drake!" DRAKE: "It was an accident." RANDY: "Yes, dear. But don't talk about it yet." He remembered "Kings Row" as the film that made him a star. (MUSIC) During World War Two Reagan joined what was then the Army Air Corps and made training films. Reagan became deeply interested in politics during his years in Hollywood. He started out a liberal, but his political views became increasingly conservative. He served six times as president of the Screen Actors Guild, a union of movie actors. He was noted for his opposition to anyone in the movie industry who supported communism. Later, during his presidency, the public learned that he had also been a secret informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This was during a campaign against suspected communist sympathizers in Hollywood.

After the war, Reagan guided the Screen Actors Guild through a frightening time for actors and others in the entertainment industry. It was the time of the powerful House Un-American Activities Committee. Its hearings resulted in the feared "blacklist." The blacklist was responsible for hurting -- even ending --the careers of many in the film and television industries if they were thought to be communists or to have communist sympathies. (MUSIC) It was through the blacklist scare that Reagan met his second wife, Nancy Davis. Her name had mistakenly been confused with that of another actress, causing it to appear on a blacklist, and she sought Reagan's help in correcting the mistake. They fell in love, and would marry in nineteen fifty-two. HELEN BLAIR (NANCY DAVIS): "Must be a big push this time, Case." CASEY ABBOTT (RONALD REAGAN): "The admiral told me not to tell." Reagan and Nancy Davis appeared together in the World War Two drama "Hellcats of the Navy," in which he played a naval officer and she a navy nurse who loved him. HELEN BLAIR: "The admiral should have told me not to worry." CASEY ABBOTT: "I thought we'd settled all that. About you and me." HELEN BLAIR: "It won't stay settled, Case. Not until you tell me you've stopped caring." By the early nineteen fifties, Reagan stopped appearing in movies and turned instead to a new medium -- television. RONALD REAGAN: "And every Sunday night, General Electric brings you the finest motion picture stars on TV. The great names in comedy, in mystery, in romance. Every week, a star, all summer long, on the General Electric Theater." (MUSIC) For many years, Ronald Reagan was the commercial spokesman for General Electric and host of a series of dramatic shows. For much of his life Ronald Reagan was a Democrat. But, by nineteen sixty, however, he was making speeches for conservative Republican candidates. In nineteen sixty-six, he became a candidate himself. He ran as a Republican for governor of California. Democrats did not take him seriously. They made fun of some of his movie roles, as in "Bedtime for Bonzo," a comedy where his co-star was a chimp. But Reagan had the last laugh. He won the election by almost a million votes. As governor, Reagan was praised for reducing the state's debt but criticized for raising taxes. Some people also thought he reacted too strongly against student unrest on college campuses. But he won reelection in nineteen seventy. In nineteen seventy-six Reagan ran for the Republican presidential nomination. He came close to winning that nomination away from President Gerald Ford. Ford recognized that there was strong support for Reagan among the convention delegates. After accepting the nomination, Ford asked Reagan to share the stage with him. The strong welcome that Reagan received was a clear sign of his future in the party. (MUSIC) That future would come just four years later, when Reagan won the presidency. On Reagan's Inauguration Day, Iran finally released the hostages it had been holding for four hundred forty-four days. Walter Cronkite paused in his CBS television coverage of the inauguration for this breaking news report from Dan Rather. DAN RATHER: "Walter, according to our CBS News sources at Tehran airport, one of the two Algerian jetliners is taxiing, or was just a few moments ago. And the drama on the runway of the Tehran airport continues, as the long agony for the brave fifty-two has continued throughout this morning.

"Now, as best as we can make it out, here is where the situation with the American hostages stands at this moment. They remain in Tehran, at least they were just a few moments ago at the airport, apparently moments away from their flight to freedom, a few moments after spending four hundred and forty-four days in captivity. "And can you imagine what it must have been like inside that airliner for the hostages this morning?" As president, Ronald Reagan quickly began work to get Congress to reduce taxes. He also began a weekly series of radio broadcasts. Each Saturday he would comment on developments in American life and politics. The broadcasts were similar to the "fireside chats" of President Franklin Roosevelt during the nineteen thirties. Reagan's ability to relate to people earned him the nickname "the Great Communicator." (MUSIC) Two months after he took office, Ronald Reagan was shot while leaving an event at a hotel in Washington. (SOUND) In the first moments, no one realized that he had been hit. But there was a bullet in his left lung, close to his heart. At the hospital, Reagan jokingly told the doctors: "I hope you're all Republicans." They were able to remove the bullet and he made a full recovery. But the shooting left his press secretary, James Brady, permanently disabled from a head wound. A Secret Service agent was also seriously wounded. The gunman, twenty-five year old John Hinckley Junior, was sent to a mental hospital. His explanation for the attack was that he was trying to impress the actress Jodie Foster. (MUSIC) We'll continue the story of the Reagan presidency next week. You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts and pictures at You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. I'm Steve Ember, inviting you to join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- American history in VOA Special English. ___ Contributing: Jerilyn Watson

Break-Up Songs: The Sound of a Broken Heart JUNE SIMMS: Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English. (MUSIC) Im June Simms. This week on our program, we tell about an old Roman Catholic mission in California, once known for getting winged visitors each spring. And we listen to some songs about the different ways humans experience the end of love. (MUSIC) Swallows of Capistrano JUNE SIMMS: San Juan Capistrano is one of the oldest Roman Catholic missions in California. The religious center was established in the seventeen seventies. San Juan Capistrano is not just famous for its age, however. Its history also includes some extraordinary visitors. Shirley

Griffith has our story about the American cliff swallows of San Juan Capistrano.

John Mione, playing Father Serra, looks skyward for swallows following the ringing of the bells in March 17 at the Mission San Juan Capistrano SHIRLEY GIRFFITH: The swallows migrate in March from Goya, Argentina, to spend the spring in San Juan Capistrano. For years and years, the birds built nests under the top of buildings at the Catholic mission. But no more. In the nineteen nineties, workers repaired and secured the old buildings. Hundreds of old nests were removed. The swallows returned in fewer and fewer numbers. They were not found at the mission at all in the past ten years. The little brown birds with the white triangles on their faces still fly back to the city of San Juan Capistrano every spring. But, the swallows no longer make their home at the mission. Pat March is a volunteer at Mission San Juan Capistrano. She says there have been many attempts to get the birds to return, including setting out food. PAT MARCH: What they would do is they would put out ladybugs to attract the swallows. Employees also dug shallow holes in the ground around the mission and added water to make mud. The birds make their nests from wet earth. Workers also placed man-made nests under the roof line of mission buildings. None of the attempts worked. So officials decided it was time to seek professional help. Enter scientist Charles Brown. CHARLES BROWN: Ive been studying cliff swallows for about thirty years. Mister Brown is an ornithologist from the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. He says forty years of development around San Juan Capistrano has led to a fifty percent reduction of the swallow population in southern California. CHARLES BROWN: That is the one part of North America where the numbers have been going down. The bird expert offered an unusual idea to mission operators about how to get the swallows back. It centered on the sociable nature of the animals. CHARLES BROWN: The social species, they often look to see if others have settled there and have others been successful there. So we have to fool them into thinking that birds have been there recently. Charles Brown made recordings of swallows in Oklahoma. The mission hid sound systems in bushes. Soon, swallow song filled the air. The swallow recordings played for two months this spring. The birds did not return to nest at the mission. But, there were signs that they might in the future. Walter Piper is with Chapman University in nearby Orange, California. In early May, he found about one hundred swallows nesting on buildings just a half-kilometer from the mission. WALTER PIPER: This is the first indication that cliff swallows were nesting nearby the mission. Bit by bit, they build these huge nests. So thats what were seeing. Its cute to see them poke their heads out of there. Mister Piper says any of these birds could be nesters at the mission in the future. He says they could make the move as early

as next spring. And the San Juan Capistrano mission plans to again play Charles Browns swallow welcome song. (MUSIC) Break-Up Songs JUNE SIMMS: When love ends somebody usually feels really bad. Sadness, anger, distrust, and disbelief are some of the feelings that often go along with a break-up. It is emotionally powerful stuff. Maybe that is one reason why break-up songs are so popular. They seem to pour out of the radio more often than songs about lovers staying together. Today, Christopher Cruise and I play some break-up songs from today and yesterday and look at the language used in them. (MUSIC)

Gotye performs in April at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California CHRISTOPHER CRUISE: That song is Somebody That I Used to Know by Australian singer and songwriter Gotye. Singer Kimbra from New Zealand also is heard on the single. Right now, it is the number one song on Billboard Magazines Hot 100 singles chart. It has been on the chart for twenty-one weeks. Why is this song so popular? For one thing, it uses a phrase common to break-ups. Gotye sings you said we would still be friends. (MUSIC) Men and women often say this during a break-up, but it is not usually true. And it definitely is not the truth in this song. Gotye sings about being treated like a stranger. He sings that the woman acted as if they never had a relationship. The song expresses anger felt from betrayal and dismissal. It is hard for the listener to not feel sympathetic. JUNE SIMMS: But then we hear from the former girlfriend. She feels she was screwed over or treated unfairly. And yet, she says, he always made her feel like she was to blame. Finally, Kimbra sings, I didnt want to live that way / reading into every word you say. Her part expresses a tired defeat and is also easy to sympathize with. (MUSIC) But, the position of the woman almost did not get written. In fact, Gotye almost gave up on the song. Gotye says he felt blocked after finishing the first verse. And the songwriter says he spent weeks deciding if he should add the female part. (MUSIC) CHRISTOPHER CRUISE: Now we hear a break-up song from an earlier generation. Dont You Want Me, by the Human League came out in nineteen eighty-one. (MUSIC) It also includes a male and female point of view. And, as in Gotyes song, the girl is the one who ends the relationship. The

boy is hurt. JUNE SIMMS: The song tells the story of two people who have been together five years. The male character is shocked by the break-up. He suggests the girl owes him something. He says that when they met, she was serving drinks in a bar. He argues that he made her a better, more successful person. I picked you up, I shook you out / Turned you into someone new. But the woman argues with him. The only thing she agrees with is that when they met she was working as a cocktail waitress. (MUSIC) CHRISTOPHER CRUISE: Pride and strength in the face of break-ups are also a common theme. Songwriters often tell of people who are determined to recover after heartbreak. A major favorite in this group would be I Will Survive, a nineteen seventy-eight hit song for Gloria Gaynor. (MUSIC) One of todays versions might be Stronger (What Doesnt Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson. (MUSIC) CHRISTOPHER CRUISE: Finally, we leave you with a song about how hurt and distrust of a past relationship can affect chances for a new relationship. In the Drake song Take Care, two people are hurting from break-ups. The singer Rihanna opens the song with the words: I know youve been hurt by someone else/I can tell by the way you carry yourself / If you let me, heres what Ill do / Ill take care of you. Can the two repair each other? Listen and decide for yourself. (MUSIC) JUNE SIMMS: Are there break-up songs that have touched you deeply? Any that helped you get over your ex and move on with your life? We would love to know about them. Send an email about your favorites to Im June Simms. Join us again next week for music and more on AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.

Harry Styles of One Direction: We Work So, So Hard and Play Hard As Well JUNE SIMMS: Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English. (MUSIC) Im June Simms. This week on our program, we talk to Harry Styles of the boy band One Direction and play some of the groups music We also take a look at some of your comments But first, we visit a building project in Washington, DC, where volunteers are working to help homeless teens. (MUSIC) Home for Homeless Teens JUNE SIMMS: Sasha Bruce Youthwork helps poor and homeless children in Washington, D.C. The not-for-profit group recently received an unusual donation: an old, unlivable house. Sasha Bruce is repairing the building to make a safe home for homeless teenagers. Shirley Griffith has more. SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Members of the American Institute of Architects are among the volunteers working at the house. The designers and builders are in Washington for the institutes yearly meeting. But on this day, they are carrying pieces of wood,

adding nails to the floors and putting window glass into window frames. A few others are outside the house, digging a garden. One of the volunteers is Gwen Berlekamp from Ohio. She suggests the work being done will change more than just one house. GWEN BERLEKAMP: When you make improvements to communities, it has a ripple effect. So other people, the neighbors will feel better about living here, the children have a better neighborhood to grow up in. Bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, living and dining areas begin to take shape in the two-level house. Nineteen-year-old Kevin Vines is excited by the speed at which the repairs are being made. He has been on the job for several months as part of the Sasha Bruce YouthBuild, a work and life skills program. KEVIN VINES: Im getting carpentry, as of right now. Thats what I like to do. Hands on work. The young man left high school before finishing. He was unemployed and facing legal problems when he entered the YouthBuild program. Marcus Brooks is showing him and other young people how to build houses. The trainer is proud of the progress Kevin Vines has made. MARCUS BROOKS: Kevin has really shown a lot of leadership and is pretty good with his hands. I expect him to be a big shining star for this program. However, Marcus Brooks says it has not been easy. MARCUS BROOKS: We deal with the kids nobody else wants to deal with. When the kids come to us they have all types of issues, personal problems. We, kind of, show them love. Marcus Brooks says the project has helped to build character in the young people. MARCUS BROOKS: What Im interested in is that they have a strong work ethic because they can take that work ethic and become anything they want to be in life. Debby Shore is the director of Sasha Bruce Youthwork. She explains the importance of the YouthBuild kids working with volunteers from around the country. DEBBY SHORE: We are building relationships here that make such a difference for young people. Architect and volunteer Tom Schell is from Florida. He says being involved in the Youthwork project helps him better understand the difficulties faced by homeless Americans. TOM SCHELL: I know that at any given time any of the types of situations that theyre in could happen to my kids. It could happen to me. Look at our economy and the way things are going now. Everybodys vulnerable and I think it is really important to be on the front end of giving. (MUSIC) Your Comments JUNE SIMMS: Now Christopher Cruise takes a look at some of your comments about recent American Mosaic programs. CHRISTOPHER CRUISE: Several of you wrote about our report on a food aid program that school children and their parents help run. Food on the Fifteenth provides food to older, needy people in parts of Maryland. Palla wrote to say she loved the report. She said the program shows how people provide goodwill and compassion to others. Ann agrees. She writes that she wants to be a part of Food on the Fifteenth: I can share my fortunate [life] with other people. And she says calls the program extremely wonderful for young students. Several people also enjoyed singer Lionel Richies new style on his album Tuskegee. Honny Baggy writes: Lionel changed his style from pop to country. Its not a problem, we still enjoy his voice.

Another writer, RYO, describes Lionel Richies songs as dreamy. Jean writes of a different music feature on American Mosaic. She liked Lucero, whose lead singer and songwriter visited us in the studio. Jean wrote lovely songs!!! I had a bad day, but when I heard the songs they seemed to tell me girl, cheer up! Everything will be just fine. Its almost weekend. Lets leave bad things far, far, far behind. Finally, we received a lot of messages about our story on the winners of the Goldman environmental prize. Theresa praised the honorees: I salute your bravery. Hopefully everyone will show the same kind of concern to our environment. Yoshi noted the hard work they do: to be activists is more difficult and greater than to just be critics. Neo also praised the activists but warned them not to be satisfied with the prize: keep going on in your way to give a hand to stabilize our planet. Thanks you for all of your comments and keep them coming. Also visit our relationship blog. You can provide advice to others while improving your written English. If you want to ask our audience for advice, write to Type "relationship" in the subject line. We won't publish your name but please include your age, sex and country. (MUSIC) One Directions Harry Styles JUNE SIMMS: One Direction is a hot, new boy band that got its start on the television show X-Factor. In less than two years, the group has a very popular first album and two hit singles. And, all the shows on its American concert tour are soldout.

One Direction, from left, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Harry Styles at Nickelodeon's 25th Annual Kids' Choice Awards on March 31, 2012 in Los Angeles The five members of One Direction are from England and Ireland. But the boys are extremely popular in America, too. In March, One Direction performed for the Today show television program on the streets of New York. About fifteen thousand people showed up to watch, a Today show record. Recently, VOAs Larry London spoke to singer Harry Styles at a stop on the One Direction concert series in America. LARRY LONDON: How has all of this stuff affected you? In the last year? You guys are now reviving boy bands and the British invasion again. So hows that hitting you? HARRY STYLES: I think for us where just normal lads, so, were normal teenage guys so for all this to be happening is absolutely crazy. And were having so much fun. We work so, so hard, so we play hard as well. JUNE SIMMS: One Directions first single, What Makes You Beautiful, was a number one hit in Britain and Ireland. It went to number four on Billboards singles chart after its release in America. (MUSIC) Larry London asked Harry Styles about some of the comments music critics have made about One Direction.

LARRY LONDON: Now, how does the comparison to the Beatles affect you? Because I know Sir Paul McCartney recently said something in an interview to be careful about those comparisons. HARRY STYLES: You know a lot of people aim to be stuff like the next Beatles. And I think, if you base your career on trying to achieve someone elses goals, thats kind of the wrong way to do it. So, its incredibly flattering. Im a massive fan of the Beatles. I listened to them growing up. So to have that comparison is huge, but, at the same time, we kind of find it a bit ridiculous because the Beatles are such an icon. JUNE SIMMS: One Directions album is called Up All Night. Singer Kelly Clarkson helped write this song, Tell Me A Lie. (MUSIC) One Direction is currently working on a second album. Larry London asked about that project. LARRY LONDON: Now the second album is that going to be like the first album, Up All Night? HARRY STYLES: Yeah I think its important that we dont try too many new things too soon. I think that sound is very us so I think its gonna' be the same kind of vibe as the first album. Just, I think, the music will grow up as we grow up. So it will kind of evolve a little bit. JUNE SIMMS: Harry Styles said the band has experienced all kinds of new things with all the travelling and fame. But he said one of the most exciting events was selling out the bands concert at Madison Square Garden. HARRY STYLES: Its such a prestigious venue. To be playing there is a great honor. JUNE SIMMS: We leave you with One Direction performing Gotta' Be You from the album Up All Night. (MUSIC) JUNE SIMMS: Im June Simms. This program was written and produced by Caty Weaver. Rosanne Skirble provided additional reporting. Join us again next week for music and more on AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.

Short Story: The Last Leaf by O. Henry FAITH LAPIDUS: Now, the VOA Special English program AMERICAN STORIES. (MUSIC) Our story today is called "The Last Leaf." It was written by O. Henry. Here is Barbara Klein with the story. (MUSIC) BARBARA KLEIN: Many artists lived in the Greenwich Village area of New York. Two young women named Sue and Johnsy shared a studio apartment at the top of a three-story building. Johnsy's real name was Joanna. In November, a cold, unseen stranger came to visit the city. This disease, pneumonia, killed many people. Johnsy lay on her bed, hardly moving. She looked through the small window. She could see the side of the brick house next to her building. One morning, a doctor examined Johnsy and took her temperature. Then he spoke with Sue in another room.

"She has one chance in -- let us say ten," he said. "And that chance is for her to want to live. Your friend has made up her mind that she is not going to get well. Has she anything on her mind?" "She -- she wanted to paint the Bay of Naples in Italy some day," said Sue. "Paint?" said the doctor. "Bosh! Has she anything on her mind worth thinking twice -- a man for example?" "A man?" said Sue. "Is a man worth -- but, no, doctor; there is nothing of the kind." "I will do all that science can do," said the doctor. "But whenever my patient begins to count the carriages at her funeral, I take away fifty percent from the curative power of medicines." After the doctor had gone, Sue went into the workroom and cried. Then she went to Johnsy's room with her drawing board, whistling ragtime. Johnsy lay with her face toward the window. Sue stopped whistling, thinking she was asleep. She began making a pen and ink drawing for a story in a magazine. Young artists must work their way to "Art" by making pictures for magazine stories. Sue heard a low sound, several times repeated. She went quickly to the bedside. Johnsy's eyes were open wide. She was looking out the window and counting -- counting backward. "Twelve," she said, and a little later "eleven"; and then "ten" and "nine;" and then "eight" and "seven," almost together. Sue looked out the window. What was there to count? There was only an empty yard and the blank side of the house seven meters away. An old ivy vine, going bad at the roots, climbed half way up the wall. The cold breath of autumn had stricken leaves from the plant until its branches, almost bare, hung on the bricks. "What is it, dear?" asked Sue. "Six," said Johnsy, quietly. "They're falling faster now. Three days ago there were almost a hundred. It made my head hurt to count them. But now it's easy. There goes another one. There are only five left now." "Five what, dear?" asked Sue. "Leaves. On the plant. When the last one falls I must go, too. I've known that for three days. Didn't the doctor tell you?" "Oh, I never heard of such a thing," said Sue. "What have old ivy leaves to do with your getting well? And you used to love that vine. Don't be silly. Why, the doctor told me this morning that your chances for getting well real soon were -- let's see exactly what he said he said the chances were ten to one! Try to eat some soup now. And, let me go back to my drawing, so I can sell it to the magazine and buy food and wine for us." "You needn't get any more wine," said Johnsy, keeping her eyes fixed out the window. "There goes another one. No, I don't want any soup. That leaves just four. I want to see the last one fall before it gets dark. Then I'll go, too."

"Johnsy, dear," said Sue, "will you promise me to keep your eyes closed, and not look out the window until I am done working? I must hand those drawings in by tomorrow." "Tell me as soon as you have finished," said Johnsy, closing her eyes and lying white and still as a fallen statue. "I want to see the last one fall. I'm tired of waiting. I'm tired of thinking. I want to turn loose my hold on everything, and go sailing down, down, just like one of those poor, tired leaves." "Try to sleep," said Sue. "I must call Mister Behrman up to be my model for my drawing of an old miner. Don't try to move until I come back." Old Behrman was a painter who lived on the ground floor of the apartment building. Behrman was a failure in art. For years, he had always been planning to paint a work of art, but had never yet begun it. He earned a little money by serving as a model to artists who could not pay for a professional model. He was a fierce, little, old man who protected the two young women in the studio apartment above him. Sue found Behrman in his room. In one area was a blank canvas that had been waiting twenty-five years for the first line of paint. Sue told him about Johnsy and how she feared that her friend would float away like a leaf. Old Behrman was angered at such an idea. "Are there people in the world with the foolishness to die because leaves drop off a vine? Why do you let that silly business come in her brain?" "She is very sick and weak," said Sue, "and the disease has left her mind full of strange ideas." "This is not any place in which one so good as Miss Johnsy shall lie sick," yelled Behrman. "Some day I will paint a masterpiece, and we shall all go away." Johnsy was sleeping when they went upstairs. Sue pulled the shade down to cover the window. She and Behrman went into the other room. They looked out a window fearfully at the ivy vine. Then they looked at each other without speaking. A cold rain was falling, mixed with snow. Behrman sat and posed as the miner. The next morning, Sue awoke after an hour's sleep. She found Johnsy with wide-open eyes staring at the covered window. "Pull up the shade; I want to see," she ordered, quietly. Sue obeyed. After the beating rain and fierce wind that blew through the night, there yet stood against the wall one ivy leaf. It was the last one on the vine. It was still dark green at the center. But its edges were colored with the yellow. It hung bravely from the branch about seven meters above the ground. "It is the last one," said Johnsy. "I thought it would surely fall during the night. I heard the wind. It will fall today and I shall die at the same time." "Dear, dear!" said Sue, leaning her worn face down toward the bed. "Think of me, if you won't think of yourself. What would I do?"

But Johnsy did not answer. (MUSIC) The next morning, when it was light, Johnsy demanded that the window shade be raised. The ivy leaf was still there. Johnsy lay for a long time, looking at it. And then she called to Sue, who was preparing chicken soup. "I've been a bad girl," said Johnsy. "Something has made that last leaf stay there to show me how bad I was. It is wrong to want to die. You may bring me a little soup now." An hour later she said: "Someday I hope to paint the Bay of Naples." Later in the day, the doctor came, and Sue talked to him in the hallway. "Even chances," said the doctor. "With good care, you'll win. And now I must see another case I have in your building. Behrman, his name is -- some kind of an artist, I believe. Pneumonia, too. He is an old, weak man and his case is severe. There is no hope for him; but he goes to the hospital today to ease his pain." The next day, the doctor said to Sue: "She's out of danger. You won. Nutrition and care now -- that's all." Later that day, Sue came to the bed where Johnsy lay, and put one arm around her. "I have something to tell you, white mouse," she said. "Mister Behrman died of pneumonia today in the hospital. He was sick only two days. They found him the morning of the first day in his room downstairs helpless with pain. His shoes and clothing were completely wet and icy cold. They could not imagine where he had been on such a terrible night. And then they found a lantern, still lighted. And they found a ladder that had been moved from its place. And art supplies and a painting board with green and yellow colors mixed on it. And look out the window, dear, at the last ivy leaf on the wall. Didn't you wonder why it never moved when the wind blew? Ah, darling, it is Behrman's masterpiece he painted it there the night that the last leaf fell." (MUSIC) FAITH LAPIDUS: You have heard the story "The Last Leaf" by O.Henry. Your storyteller was Barbara Klein. This story was adapted by Shelley Gollust and produced by Lawan Davis. You can read and listen to other American Stories on our Web site,

Critics Picks: The Top Music of 2011 MUSIC) DOUG JOHNSON: Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.

(MUSIC) Im Doug Johnson. Today on the program: some favorite songs of top music critics for two thousand eleven. We also play music from some of the top selling artists. But first we tell about someone working to increase the number of African-American women in a specialized industry. (MUSIC)The Ormes Society DOUG JOHNSON: Comic strips and comic books are popular in the United States. What makes comics different from other printed media is that they use pictures to tell a story. Most of the stories are funny or filled with action. For years, very few African-American characters have appeared in comics. The number of African-Americans producing comics also is small. And, the number of African-American women involved is even smaller. But Cheryl Lynn Eaton is hoping to change that. Barbara Klein has more. BARBARA KLEIN: Cheryl Lynn Eaton has been a lover of comics since she was a child. She formed an organization called The Ormes Society in two thousand seven. She hopes the group will help to increase interest in comics among AfricanAmerican women. CHERYL LYNN EATON: The Ormes Society is an organization dedicated to promoting black women as creators, artists and writers, as consumers of sequential art and comics and the organization was named after Jackie Ormes, who was the first African-American female cartoonist. Artist Jackie Ormes made comics from the nineteen thirties to the nineteen fifties. Her work was published in two leading African-American newspapers of that time: The Pittsburgh Courier and The Chicago Defender. Cheryl Lynn Eaton first learned about her work in a report by comic book historian Tim Jackson. CHERYL LYNN EATON: I was just amazed that there was this black woman in the forties and fifties, basically going against the trend; creating comics about black women as they loved and how they actually lived, and how they actually looked, which is completely different from what other creators were doing at the time. Ms. Eaton says most of the images that other artists were producing at the time were very offensive to African-Americans. CHERYL LYNN EATON: Works that demonized African-Americans and exaggerated their features in horrific ways and projected them as ignorant, unintelligent, and unable to be heroes. And here Jackie was producing works that had women who were doing things who were heroic and funny and witty and smart and it was just very important to know about this woman. Jackie Ormes created a number of characters, but the most famous were two sisters named Patty Jo and Ginger. The two were from an upper class family. They were fashionable and intelligent. They often discussed the social and political issues of the day.

In the years since she organized the Ormes Society, Cheryl Lynn Eaton has found a number of African-American women who love comics as much as she does. And, she says the number of African-Americans in comics is growing, mostly because of the Internet. CHERYL LYNN EATON: Black cartoonists dont have to wait for Marvel and DC to come to them. Basically, it helps them to distribute their art without having to have a serious monetary input. So you dont need a lot of money to publish your art on the web you dont need a lot of money to obtain a following. Diamond Comic Distributors, the leading supplier of comics, reported nearly three hundred forty million dollars in sales in North America during the first ten months of the year. Cheryl Lynn Eaton says she hopes to persuade other AfricanAmericans to work in the industry. Top Music of 2011 DOUG JOHNSON: This week we are taking a look and a listen to the music that came out during two thousand eleven. This was a good year for female artists. Most critics place Adele, Beyonc, Lady Gaga and others high on their list of best recordings. Electronic music also saw a jump in popularity. And, billions were made by artists on tour, even during troubled economic times. Come along with us has our two thousand eleven musical tour. (MUSIC) The British singer Adele is at the top of most critics best singles list. Spin, Rolling Stone and Billboard magazine each named her song Rolling in the Deep as the best song of the year. Rolling in the Deep tells the story of a woman rejected by her boyfriend. The song expresses her anger as she realizes the man was not what he appeared to be. (MUSIC) Finally I can see you crystal clear Go ahead and sell me out and Ill lay your ship bare (MUSIC) Spin magazine compares the song to the Bible story in which the ancient Israelites destroy the walls of Jericho by blowing their trumpets. Rolling Stone magazine chose Adeles record album 21 as the best of the year. Number two on the list was Watch the Throne, the joint effort by Kanye West and Jay-Z. Spin placed Otis, a single from that album, at number seventeen on its twenty best songs of the year.

(MUSIC) The website chose its forty favorite music videos of two thousand eleven. One of them was from the folk rock group Fleet Foxes. The Shrine/An Argument is a beautifully animated video filled with human-like and animal-like creatures all wearing masks. The animation is mostly in red, brown and other earthy colors. It opens with a deer mourning the death of a loved one. The animal leans close to the body and then pushes it off a cliff. The Shrine/An Argument is a song in three movements. Here is part of the first. (MUSIC) Florence and the Machines made many of the best lists of two thousand eleven. Ceremonials, the groups second album, was released October thirty-first. New Musical Express, or, included the song Shake It Out on its fifty best tracks list. (MUSIC) released a list of the top twenty-five tours of the year. The list is based on tickets sales. Taylor Swift had the top selling country music tour, coming in at number five on Billboards list. But it was another country singer, Jason Aldean, who had a break-out year. Fifty of his shows were sold out. His album My Kinda Party also sold more than two million copies, more than any other country album this year. We leave you with the song that Billboard called a set list essential for Jason Aldeans current tour. Here is See You When I See You, from My Kinda Party. (MUSIC) DOUG JOHNSON: Im Doug Johnson. Our program was written by June Simms and Caty Weaver, who was also our producer. Join us again next week for music and more on AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.

Leonardo da Vinci: One of the Greatest Thinkers in History STEVE EMBER: Im Steve Ember. SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: And Im Shirley Griffith with EXPLORATIONS in VOA Special English. Today, we tell about one of the greatest thinkers in the world, Leonardo da Vinci. He began his career as an artist. But his interest in the world around him drove him to study music, math, science, engineering and building design. Many of his ideas and inventions were centuries ahead of his time. (MUSIC)

STEVE EMBER: We start with one of Leonardo da Vincis most famous drawings, called Vitruvian Man. This work is a good example of his ever questioning mind, and his effort to bring together art, math and science. Vitruvian Man is a detailed sketch of a mans body, which is drawn at the center of a square and circle. The mans stretched arms and legs are in two positions, showing the range of his motion. His arms and legs touch the edges of the square and circle. SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: With this drawing Leonardo was considering the size of the human body and its relationship to geometry and the writings of the ancient Roman building designer Vitruvius. Leonardo wrote this about how to develop a complete mind: Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses- especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else. STEVE EMBER: Leonardo da Vinci spent his life studying and observing in order to develop a scientific understanding of the world. He wrote down his thoughts and project ideas in a series of small notebooks. He made drawings and explained them with detailed notes. In these notebooks, he would write the words backwards. Some experts say he wrote this way because he wished to be secretive about his findings. But others say he wrote this way because he was left-handed and writing backwards was easier and helped keep the ink from smearing. SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: The notebooks show many very modern ideas. Leonardo designed weapons, machines, engines, robots, and many other kinds of engineering devices. When disease spread in Milan, Leonardo designed a city that would help resist the spread of infection. He designed devices to help people climb walls, and devices to help people fly. He designed early versions of modern machines such as the tank and helicopter. Few of these designs were built during his lifetime. But they show his extraordinarily forward- thinking mind. The notebooks also contain details about his daily life. These have helped historians learn more about the personal side of this great thinker. (MUSIC) STEVE EMBER: Very little is known about Leonardos early life. He was born in fourteen fifty-two in the town of Vinci. His father, Ser Piero da Vinci, was a legal expert. Experts do not know for sure about his mother, Caterina. But they do know that Leonardos parents were never married to each other. As a boy, Leonardo showed a great interest in drawing, sculpting and observing nature. However, because Leonardo was born to parents who were not married to each other, he was barred from some studies and professions. He trained as an artist after moving to Florence with his father in the fourteen sixties. SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: It was an exciting time to be in Florence, one of the cultural capitals of Europe. Leonardo trained with one of the citys very successful artists, Andrea del Verrocchio. He was a painter, sculptor and gold worker. Verrocchio told his students that they needed to understand the bodys bones and muscles when drawing people. Leonardo took his teachers advice very seriously. He spent several periods of his life studying the human body by taking apart and examining dead bodies. Experts say his later drawings of the organs and systems of the human body are still unequalled to this day.

(MUSIC) STEVE EMBER: While training as an artist, Leonardo also learned about and improved on relatively new painting methods at the time. One was the use of perspective to show depth. A method called sfumato helped to create a cloudy effect to suggest distance. Chiaroscuro is a method using light and shade as a painterly effect. The artist also used oil paints instead of the traditional tempura paints used in Italy during this period. SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Leonardos first known portrait now hangs in the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. He made this painting of a young woman named Ginevra deBenci around fourteen seventy-four. The woman has a pale face with dark hair. In the distance, Leonardo painted the Italian countryside. He soon received attention for his extraordinary artistic skills. Around fourteen seventy-five he was asked to draw an angel in Verrocchios painting Baptism of Christ. One story says that when Verrocchio saw Leonardos addition to the painting, he was so amazed by his students skill, that he said he would never paint again. (MUSIC) STEVE EMBER: Leonardo once said the following about actively using ones mental abilities: Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind. His mind was so active that he did not often finish his many projects. One religious painting he never finished was called Adoration of the Magi. He was hired to make the painting for a religious center. The complex drawing he made to prepare for the painting is very special. It shows how carefully he planned his art works. It shows his deep knowledge of geometry, volume and depth. He drew the many people in the painting without clothes so that he could make sure that their bodies would be physically correct once covered. SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Around fourteen eighty-two, Leonardo moved to Milan. There, he worked for the citys ruler, Ludovico Sforza. This ruler invited Leonardo to Milan not as an artist, but as a musician. Historians say Leonardo was one of the most skillful lyre players in all of Italy. But he also continued his work as a painter. He also designed everything from festivals to weapons and a sculpture for Ludovico Sforza. STEVE EMBER: One famous work from Leonardos Milan period is called Virgin of the Rocks. It shows Jesus as a baby along with his mother, Mary, and John the Baptist also as a baby. They are sitting outside in an unusual environment. Leonardo used his careful observations of nature to paint many kinds of plants. In the background are a series of severe rock formations. This painting helped Leonardo make it clear to the ruler and people of Milan that he was a very inventive and skillful artist. SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Leonardo later made his famous painting The Last Supper for the dining room of a religious center in Milan. He combined his studies in light, math, psychology, geometry and anatomy for this special work. He designed the painting to look like it was part of the room. The painting shows a story from the Bible in which Jesus eats a meal with his followers for the last time. Jesus announces that one of them will betray him. The work received wide praise and many artists tried to copy its beauty. One modern art expert described Leonardos Last Supper as the foundation of western art. Unfortunately, Leonardo experimented with a new painting method for this work. The paint has suffered extreme damage over the centuries.

(MUSIC) STEVE EMBER: In addition to the portrait of Ginevra deBenci that we talked about earlier, Leonardo also painted several other non-religious paintings of women. One painting of Cecilia Gallerani has come to be known as Lady with an Ermine because of the small white animal she is holding. This woman was the lover of Milans ruler, Ludovico Sforza. However, Leonardos most famous portrait of a woman is called the Mona Lisa. It is now in the collection of the Louvre museum in Paris. He painted this image of Lisa Gherardini starting around fifteen-oh-three. She was the wife of a wealthy businessman from Florence named Francesco del Giocondo. It is from him that the painting takes its Italian name, La Gioconda. SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Lisa Gherardini is sitting down with her hands crossed in her lap. She looks directly at the painter. She seems to be smiling ever so slightly. A great deal of mystery surrounds the painting. Experts are not sure about how or why Leonardo came to paint the work. But they do know that he never gave it to the Giocondo family. He kept the painting with him for the rest of his life, during his travels through France and Italy. Leonardo da Vinci died in France in fifteen nineteen. A friend who was with him at his death said this of the great mans life: May God Almighty grant him eternal peace. Every one laments the loss of a man, whose like Nature cannot produce a second time. STEVE EMBER: This program was written and produced by Dana Demange. Im Steve Ember. SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: And Im Shirley Griffith. You can see some of Leonardo da Vincis work at our website Join us again next week for EXPLORATIONS in VOA Special English.

Muppets, Penguins and Vampires Take a Big Bite of Movie Sales DOUG JOHNSON: Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English. (MUSIC) I'm Doug Johnson. Today, we tell about some of the major Hollywood movies, showing in theaters now, for young people. And we play music from the most successful of those films. (MUSIC) Movie Time DOUG JOHNSON: The winter holiday movie season is here. Many production houses release their major movies in late November, around the Thanksgiving holiday. Last week was no exception. Faith Lapidus has more about the big Hollywood films playing in theaters now.

FAITH LAPIDUS: The top five films in ticket sales right now are all aimed at young movie-goers. "The Muppets" opened in second place last week. It has already made more than forty million dollars in ticket sales across the United States. That is very good, considering the movie's budget was fifty million dollars. Disney Enterprises The Muppets were the creation of puppeteer Jim Henson in the nineteen-fifties. They became extremely well known characters on the public television children's show "Sesame Street." The Muppets also had a popular television show of their own. And they made several movies before this one. (SOUND "The Muppets") Jason Segal wrote the latest movie and is one of its stars. But he also had to persuade Walt Disney Studios to make it. JASON SEGAL: "Well, it's hard to get a movie made in general, but I think that the big thing that we had to get across was that we had a pure love for the Muppets." (SOUND "Hugo") The new movie "Hugo" is based on the book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret," by Brian Selznick. "Hugo" tells the story of a boy in Paris whose parents have died. He lives alone in a train station, stealing for food. But, he also works on a special, secret invention. Martin Scorsese directed "Hugo." The family film is not like other movies he directed. Scorsese's works are usually violent dramas, like "Raging Bull," "Goodfellas" and "The Departed." Scorsese told the magazine Time Out London that he wanted to make a movie his twelve year old daughter could watch. And, he told Reuters he felt an immediate connection to the story of the boy. "Hugo" was released the day before Thanksgiving. It has made about seventeen million dollars in American theaters. The movie cost more than one hundred fifty million to make. There are two major animated movies for children in theaters now. They are "Arthur Christmas" and "Happy Feet Two," which expands on the two thousand six film "Happy Feet." "Happy Feet Two" is about a young penguin Erik. He comes from a land of great penguin dancers. But he does not trust in his own skill at dancing. (SOUND "Happy Feet") "Arthur Christmas" is about Arthur and Steve, sons of Santa Claus and his wife. Steve is ready to be the new Santa Claus, but his father is not yet ready to surrender the position. And, could Arthur be the better man for the job, anyway? (SOUND: "Arthur Christmas")

"Arthur Christmas" came out last week. Americans have bought about seventeen million dollars worth of tickets to the movie. "Happy Feet Two" was released two weeks ago. It has more than forty million dollars in ticket sales. (SOUND: "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1") Finally, we tell about a huge hit movie for somewhat older children. "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1" was released November eighteenth. It is the fourth film based on the Twilight series of books by writer Stephenie Meyer. Movie goers looked forward to this part because it opens with the marriage of the series' heroes. The young beauty Bella, played by Kristen Stewart, marries the vampire Edward, played by Robert Pattison. But there is also still romantic tension between Bella and Taylor Lautner's werewolf character, Jacob. The main concern of the movie is the baby in Bella and Edward's near future. What will this product of mortal and undead parents be like? (SOUND) "Breaking Dawn, Part 1" has earned more than five hundred million dollars worldwide since its release two weeks ago. The movie is now showing in more than fifty countries. It has done especially well in the United States, Britain and Russia. Music from "Breaking Dawn" DOUG JOHNSON: With all that business at theaters, it is no surprise that "Breaking Dawn" also has a best-selling album. The movie soundtrack entered Billboard's Top Two Hundred Albums chart at number four last week. It remains in the top ten list this week. Shirley Griffith has more. SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Christina Perri is a twenty-five year old singer and songwriter from Philadelphia. She says she first discovered the Twilight series in two thousand nine. She watched the first movie months after its release. She says she became an immediate and major fan of Twilight. She says she read all the books, saw all the movies and even got a Twilight tattoo. Perri says writing a song about the love between Bella and Edward came easily because she felt she knew them well. She describes "A Thousand Years" as a beautiful and simple song. (MUSIC) "Neighbors" is a song by Theophilus London, a native of Brooklyn, New York. He released his first album earlier this year. "Neighbors" is as sexy a song as "A Thousand Years" is sweet. (MUSIC)

Some critics are not happy with so much popular music on the "Breaking Dawn" soundtrack. And, it is true that one of the biggest pop stars performs the album's lead single. We leave you with Bruno Mars singing "It Will Rain," from "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1." (MUSIC) DOUG JOHNSON: I'm Doug Johnson. Our program was written by and produced by Caty Weaver. If you have a question about American life, send it to or click on the Contact Us link at Join us again next week for music and more on AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.