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AMERICAN MOSAIC - May 10, 2002: Music by Pink / Question About Mother's Day / Some Americans Who Went Back in Time - 2002-05-09

Broadcast: May 10, 2002


Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.


This is Doug Johnson. On our program today we:

Play some music by Pink ...

Answer a question about Mother’s Day ...

And report about some Americans who went back in time.

Frontier House


A recent American television program recorded the experiences of three families who traveled back in time to live in the year eighteen-eighty-three. Sound impossible? Jim Tedder explains.


The American public broadcasting system created the five month long experiment. It wanted to find out if twenty-first century American families could survive on the western frontier as it existed in the eighteen-hundreds. Five-thousand families wanted to take part in such an experiment. Three were chosen.

The largest family group -- two adults and four children--was from California. The second family of two adults and two children lived in Tennessee. The third family was a newly married couple from Massachusetts. They all spent five months living in Montana, far from the modern world.

The television program that came out of this experience was called “Frontier House.” For six hours, people watching television saw the families living the same way as people did who first settled in Montana more than one-hundred years ago.

The families were given some supplies at the start. And they were taught about how people lived in the American west in eighteen-eighty-three. Then they had to build their own shelter, take care of animals, grow their food and prepare it just as if they were living more than one-hundred years ago.

The families talked to a camera during the filming. Each spoke about the problems and joys of living on a farm without modern equipment. They found the life extremely difficult. They said all they did every day was work from the time they got up in the morning until they went to bed.

The experience had a huge effect on everyone. The husband and wife in one family separated at the end of the experiment. Another family was able to survive the five months only by cheating. They bought extra food and used a few modern devices during the experiment. The youngest husband and wife in the group were the most successful. They worked well together as a team.

It was the children who seemed to learn the most from the experience. After returning to their twenty-first century lives, each said, in a different way, that living on the frontier taught them a lot about themselves. They said the experience helped them deal better with modern life.

Mother’s Day


Our VOA listener question this week comes from Vietnam. Nguyen Thi Trang Thao asks about Mother’s Day.

Sunday is Mother’s Day in the United States. Mother’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world, but not always on the same day. Some historians say the holiday comes from ancient spring festivals in Greece and Rome. A more modern Mother’s Day began in the seventeenth century in Britain.

The writer Julia Ward Howe made the first known suggestion for a Mother’s Day in the United States. That was in eighteen-seventy-two. She said it should be a day to celebrate peace.

Mother’s Day as it is celebrated today began with a woman named Anna Jarvis. In nineteen-oh-seven, she held a ceremony to honor her mother at a church in the state of West Virginia. She held the ceremony on the anniversary of her mother’s death. Later, she and others wrote thousands of letters to public officials urging that the second Sunday in May be declared Mother’s Day.

President Woodrow Wilson and the United States Congress finally agreed in nineteen-fourteen. The second Sunday in May became a day of public expression of love for mothers throughout the country. It became popular for people to send gifts of flowers and candy to their mothers on Mother’s Day.

Today, children of all ages still give their mothers special gifts on Mother’s Day. Older children may travel to visit their mothers. If they cannot, they usually send a special card with a message of love. Or they send flowers. They also usually call their mothers on the telephone to wish them a happy day. Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for America’s telephone companies.

Some families get together on Mother’s Day to honor all the women in the family who are mothers. Many go to a restaurant for a special Mother’s Day meal.



A popular American singer is known as “Pink.” How did she get her name? Is it because of her colorful hair? Mary Tillotson has that answer and tells us more about her.


Pink’s real name is Alicia Moore. She is twenty-two years old. People began calling Alicia “Pink” because of the natural appearance of her skin. Years later, she thought it would be funny if “Pink” also had pink hair.

Music always has been a part of Pink’s life. She says her father played guitar and taught her songs. She began singing and dancing when she was a teenager.

By age nineteen, Pink had recorded her first album. It is called “Can’t Take Me Home.” Three of its songs were hits. Here she sings “There You Go.”

((CUT ONE - “There You Go”))

Pink recently received a Grammy Award for a new recording of the song “Lady Marmalade” (MAR-ma-lahd). The song was in the movie “Moulin Rouge.” It was a hit for the rhythm and blues group LaBelle in the Nineteen-Seventies. Listen now as Pink, Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, and Mya sing “Lady Marmalade.”

((CUT TWO – “Lady Marmalade”))

Pink’s latest album is called “Missundaztood.” She helped write most of the songs. We leave you a song from that album, “Get the Party Started.”

((CUT THREE – “Get the Party Started”))


This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. And I hope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.

Remember to write us with your questions about American life. We will try to answer them on future programs. Listeners whose questions are chosen will receive a Random House Webster’s College Dictionary.

Send your questions to American Mosaic, Special English, Voice of America, Washington, D.C., two-zero-two-three-seven, USA. Or use a computer to e-mail your question to Please include your name and postal address. This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Lawan Davis and Nancy Steinbach. Our studio engineer was Curtis Bynum. And our producer was Paul Thompson.