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A Family Recovers After Three-Year Housing Heartache

Makele White, with her parents Lin and Milo.
Courtesy Photo
Makele White, with her parents Lin and Milo.

Three years ago, right around Christmas, I met Lin and Milo White.

The premise for my story was simple. Sit around the kitchen table and talk about the miserable economy -- because that's what most Americans were doing then anyway.


Milo had lost his job, and the only hope of saving the family house depended on Milo taking work in Utah.

So he moved.

Lin stayed in Arizona with the kids.

And it was terribly hard on everyone.

In my career as a journalist, I had never met a family so honest with a stranger about such an obvious and open wound.


I still wonder why they told me so many family secrets. And I'm still thankful that they did, because soon it didn't feel like we were strangers at all. Seven months later, I wrote a second story. This time the Whites were moving out of the house.

The bank had auctioned it.

That day Lin told me: "Every time I feel like there's a light at the end of the tunnel, I get run over by a damned train."

All along, the White's teenage daughter, Makele, wanted nothing to do with my stories. I asked her for an interview, and she refused.

So when Milo sent me this note earlier this year, I had to catch my breath.

Makele attends a Charter School and has a class in Radio.<br><br>While we were there, she interviewed Lin and I for a radio story that she is doing for her class. The story is about our family’s adventures over the last few years and how it has affected her.<br><br>In preparation for her story, she listened to the Christmas 2009 story on NPR...She is hoping that NPR might be interested in her radio story when it is complete. I think it might be a cool story within a story if you were to do a follow up story with her.<br><br>Remember that when you tried to interview her in 2009, she ran upstairs.
Of course I remember. She was crying.

Three years after the White's drama unraveled, the family is finally starting its slow recovery.

Judging by Makele's story, the light in that tunnel seems more promising this time. I'm proud to say Makele's tremendous work has inspired -- and will be the first story -- in KJZZ's "Recovery" series.

In the course of three days we'll find other examples of the way Arizonans have emerged from the torrent of an historically bad economy.

Thank you, Makele. Thank you, Milo and Lin.

I'm glad to know you're doing well.