The Root of Howard’s Fears

Robin, Fred and Gary try to figure out how deep the Stern family fear runs

May 8, 2007

Howard began this morning saying he ran into his father, Ben, yesterday “on the street,” and they spent time talking about the potential SIRIUS-XM merger.

Howard also noted his parents were active everyday, and that, right after his divorce, he used to spend time with his youngest daughter by walking with his parents at a local track.

Howard then reported Ben was upset because, according to one analyst, there was only about a “20-percent chance” of the merger going through, before telling Gary to get Ben on the line later in the show so they could discuss the topic further. Howard went on to blame his “neurotic” behavior on the stories his mother, Ray, and Ben used to tell him, recalling how Ray always used to talk about the Holocaust in vivid detail as he grew up. However, Howard added both Ray and Ben had calmed down over the years, something he credited to their meditation practice.

As Howard continued with his impressions of his mother and father, including how they broke the news to him that his piano teacher had killed herself and also how they worried him about Yellow Fever and being homeless, Artie wondered how Ben became an engineer, and he responded – in his Ben voice – that he studied the subject on his own after the army “cancelled his college.”

Robin then asked Howard if he thought he passed on his fears to his own daughters, and he insisted he hadn’t, pointing out that one of them was studying overseas as an example. Given the topic, a caller wanted to know if Ben and Ray would ever air another episode of “Meet the Sterns,” but Howard acknowledged he didn’t think they liked doing the show last year because of the schedule they keep, but that if they ever expressed interest in doing it again he’d set up the broadcast right away.

Fred next asked Howard if his sister, Ellen, had the same memories about their parents, but he claimed she didn’t. After Howard then mentioned he didn’t feel discussing his childhood with his sister would do any good, Fred said he thought it would’ve been like “two Holocaust survivors” reuniting, explaining he believed getting his past out in the open with someone else who lived it as well would do him good.