Curtis Young and Mike Strautmanis

Recorded December 19, 2019 Archived December 19, 2019 54:48 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: chi003208


Curtis Young (81) and his son, Mike Strautmanis (50), talk about their relationship, which had been distant earlier in Mike's life but came to develop and deepen decades later.

Subject Log / Time Code

CY talks about what was going on in his life when CY was born.
CY explains why he gave MS's mother permission for her husband to adopt MS and for MS to have her husband's last name.
CY lists the ways that MS reminds him of himself and explains how MS is living his own dreams that had derailed.
MS talks about his relationship with his dad (Stroutmanis) and with his father (CY) and how he felt about them throughout his life.
MS says that his mother treated CY "like a cautionary tale" as he was growing up. He tells a story about a Kodak Disc Camera he had asked CY for for Christmas, which never came, and how dealing with his disappointment was a pivotal moment in his relationship with CY. He tells CY, "I don't need you as an archetype anymore. I can just have you."
CY talks about going to UCLA at age 60.
CY remembers his reaction when MS told him Obama was going to be President, and that MS was going to work in the White House.
MS talks about his sister's encouragement and what led to the development of his relationship with CY.
CY explains how they ended up spending time together regularly during what he calls "the great trauma" of MS's life.
MS talks about some of the mentors he's had in his life, like Michelle and Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, and his other parents. But, he says, it was CY who helped him get through the most difficult moments in his adult life, and to have CY there to "neither sugar coat, nor judge, nor talk down to me," saved his life and showed him that he could be the person he wanted to be.


  • Curtis Young
  • Mike Strautmanis

Recording Locations

Chicago Cultural Center

Venue / Recording Kit