StoryCorps Chicago: ‘I Had Closed The Door To You Being In My Life In Any Meaningful Way’

For many years, Michael Strautmanis distanced himself from his biological father. But with some encouragement from his half-sister, he re-opened the door.

StoryCorps Michael Strautmanis
Curtis Young and his son Michael Strautmanis at the StoryCorps booth in Chicago. (Courtesy of StoryCorps Chicago)
StoryCorps Michael Strautmanis
Curtis Young and his son Michael Strautmanis at the StoryCorps booth in Chicago. (Courtesy of StoryCorps Chicago)

StoryCorps Chicago: ‘I Had Closed The Door To You Being In My Life In Any Meaningful Way’

For many years, Michael Strautmanis distanced himself from his biological father. But with some encouragement from his half-sister, he re-opened the door.

Professionally, Michael Strautmanis has had a lot of success. He’s a lawyer and the chief engagement officer at the Obama Foundation. In his personal life, though, Strautmanis has struggled. He distanced himself from his biological father, even taking the last name of a stepfather who adopted him. But eventually, Strautmanis got back in touch with his biological dad, Curtis Young. Their relationship developed and deepened. And a few months ago, they sat down together at the StoryCorps booth in Chicago, the city where Young married Strautmanis’s mother.

This interview was facilitated by StoryCorps Chicago’s Mary Bess Ser.

Bill Healy produces StoryCorps Chicago for WBEZ and teaches journalism at Northwestern University. Follow him @chicagoan.