David and Susan Tierney just celebrated their 50th year of marriage together. Learn about how they met in Venezuela, built a life together in Phoenix and their thoughts on nomadic travel.

Today’s episode is special. For the 30th anniversary of this podcast I had the unique opportunity to sit down with my folks and interview them while visiting with them on Martha’s Vineyard for their 50th wedding anniversary. In a time when one out of every two marriages in the US ends in divorce and the average lifespan of a marriage is 8.2 years, it’s a treat to interview two people who have made it work for so long. And it’s an honor to be able to share stories and wisdom from the two people who are my greatest teachers and mentors.

In this interview we discuss how they met each other in the Peace Corps in Venezuela, their move to wild west frontier of Phoenix, AZ in 1969, starting & growing a law firm which today holds the distinction of Best Law Firm in Arizona for the 8th year running as rated by Ranking Arizona. We also discuss the immigration problem confronting the US and what can be done to develop a more sensible and sustainable immigration policy in America. Enjoy!

Show Notes

Time   Topic
0:02:51   Welcome and context
0:04:43   Tell us how you met each other
0:12:53   What was the “leaderboard” all about?
0:17:02   What was the scene during your recent visit to Colombia given the strife in Venezuela?
0:30:21   What personal character traits do you believe you developed (or reinforced) in the Peace Corps?
0:38:41   What is the secret to staying married for 50 years?
0:44:08   Is there any particular memory of Martha’s Vineyard that really stands out?
0:48:21   What was your experience as a school teacher like, what was your subject and what did you do?
0:58:43   Can you talk about coming back from the Peace Corps, settling in Arizona and starting the law firm?
1:05:02   What was your motive to start studying law?
1:14:08   How do you in good conscience defend someone that you know is guilty?
1:21:51   What type of volunteer pro bono work are you doing?
1:29:51   Let’s discuss the immigration issue facing the US
1:31:41   What does the solution look like in your eyes?
1:38:14   What is one book that has profoundly affected you?
1:41:17   What is your favorite tool that saves you time, money or headaches?
1:43:13   One piece of music or artist that is speaking to you lately?
1:44:22   What important truth do very few people agree with you on?
1:47:21   If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 20-year-old selves?


Best Lawyers in America
Peace Corps
Point Blank (1967 film)
Juan Guaidó
Nicolás Maduro
Pablo Escobar
Remote Year
Comuna 13
Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional (FALN)
The Maverick Show, Matt Bowles
Martha’s Vineyard
Nogales, Sonora
Harvard Club of Phoenix
A Day Without a Mexican
Wealth and Democracy
Yale Russian Chorus
Sean’s week-long art/music project on IG (Day 1)



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Sean Tierney: 00:02:53 All right. Welcome everybody. The nomad podcast. I’m your host, Sean Tierney and I am sitting here today with my parents, David and

Sean Tierney: 00:03:00 Susan Tierney. Dad, I’m gonna, I cannot read your bio because it’s frankly too long. So I’m just going to read pieces of it. You’re listed as the best lawyers in America every year since 2003 two time best lawyer lawyer of the year in Construction Law and construction litigation. You literally wrote the book on Construction Litigation, which we’re going to talk about a bit, a recipient of the Han Cucina award for Public Service Valley Leadership Man of the year award judge learned hand award amongst others. And you helped start one of the firms in Arizona, which is one eight years straight, the best law firm in New Jersey. Mom, you retired a school teacher of 21 years in Phoenix s chool districts, a stint of six and 15 years at Phoenix Union and central high is respectively punctuated by a stint as a stay at home mom. You are fairly active in St Thomas Church doing various volunteer work and have recently been invited to the Grand Canyon Institute think tank on educational research and perhaps most notably you guys jointly created Connor and I so welcome to the show.

Sean Tierney: 00:04:09 Thank you. Couple of errors on mine. It’s not Saint Thomas. It’s St Francis. St Francis. Okay. Saint Francis Direction. Okay. So we are here on Martha’s vineyard. Let me just set the stage for the people listening. We’ve been here all week. We’re in our last day of vacation here celebrating your guys’ 50th year of marriage, which congrats, that’s pretty impressive feat. We’ll get into that. I just wanted to I think I want to start because this podcast is aimed at people who are nomadic or are aspiring to travel the world and work remotely. And you guys met each other in the Peace Corps in Venezuela. So I figured we’d start there. Can you talk about first off, what motivated you to do the peace corps and what, what led you there? And then I want to hear about how you guys met.

David Tierney: 00:04:54 So I guess I’ll start. And in 1966 the Vietnam war was raging and every American male had to register with the draft and many were being taken by the draft to serve. And so I was finishing years and years of deferments draft deferments. I had gotten one in college. I had one in order to go to law school for three years, I had a deferment from my judicial clerkship at the Supreme Court of Massachusetts. And by the God, the draft board was just waiting for me. So as I was finishing my judicial clerkship, I had to get something put in place so that I’d have something to do and I got all ready to go in the coast guard. I took all the exams and I was going to be an officer in a coast guard, which meant five years, either on an elution island at minus 20 for five years, serving as the legal officer and a little tiny base with 30 or 40 men in it, five years or I would be on a boat about 45 feet long in the Mekong Delta with the opposition having your schedule.

David Tierney: 00:06:00 And your Azimuth and they were mortaring those boats. So it was kind of a perilous existence. And it, the very last day, three days before I was to raise my hand and swearing into the coast guard came a letter and it said, if you are fluent in Spanish and you have a law degree from either Harvard or one of the other places right there close by, you could join a group first one of its kind and you would be an assistant to the very first city manager in Venezuela. And so I decided, man, that sounded good. I was fluent in Spanish and so off I went in 1966. December.

Sean Tierney: 00:06:36 Okay, so that’s your story. Mom, how did you wind up in the Peace Corps?

Susan Tierney: 00:06:40 Okay. In 1966, I was a junior at the University of Illinois and I was walking on the quad one day and I came across a table that was advertising peace corps, become a peace corps volunteer. So I went up to the lady and filled out the paperwork, decided I wanted to go to Micronesia, and was told that Micronesia there was no openings, but that I spoke Spanish so that I ought to consider Venezuela.

Sean Tierney: 00:07:17 But what was the motive? Why were you looking to go to Micronesia?

Susan Tierney: 00:07:23 Well, as a junior in college and not sure about what I was going to do with my economics degree. I was looking for travel. Just an experience leaving a home basically. Yeah, just flying on my own.

Sean Tierney: 00:07:45 Yeah. Well, I think that’s a motive shared by a lot of people listening to this podcast is that you, they’ve arrived at some point in their careers or professional lives and they’re looking for the next thing and travel and exploring the world just seems to provide maybe inspiration and exposure to other cultures. And so I think that is a perfectly acceptable motive in and of itself. Right, right. Cool. So, okay, so that’s what motivated you guys do the Peace Corps. And then can you talk about how you actually met each other in the Peace Corps?

Susan Tierney: 00:08:13 Okay. it was probably a year after I’d been in the Peace Corps. Now I went in in 67 October and it was probably about one year, no, it was less than a year, maybe nine months later. I mean Barquisimeto in the Peace Corps office. And unbeknownst to me, there’s a man there who, I’ll let him tell you the story.

David Tierney: 00:08:43 So I’m sitting in the Peace Corps office and I’m I’m never in the Peace Corps office or all, you’re always out in your site, but you go by once every two weeks or a month and you pick up your mail and maybe, you know, notice that you have to go

David Tierney: 00:08:56 To Caracas and get some shots or something like that. But I’m in Barquisimeto in the site in the office and this blonde chick walks by and she looked pretty good. And so I inquired as to who she was and she was 120 miles away. And your Son Filippe in a small village. Somebody told me and I thought, well, okay, that’s interesting. But there wasn’t any time in any way. So the next thing I know, five, six, eight weeks later, there was a party. It was a going away party for a, a group that had been three years in the Peace Corps at that time and they were all over 65 when they came and they were making artificial limbs in the prisons, teaching the prisoners how to make prostheses and they were now deciding to go home. So they all bought motorcycles, welded racks on them and they were going to drive to Indianapolis and be the pace car in the opening of the Indianapolis 500 from Venezuela to Indianapolis on the motor up through Panama and all through Central America all together.

David Tierney: 00:09:53 And then they would form flanks and they would be the lead 68. So this desperately, a going away party was held at the doctor’s house and it was an all day party. Started at nine in the morning and as the day wore on everybody drinking beer in the sun all day. And Susan was a champion beer drinker. I v I glimpse Susan from time to time, but they were 50 60 people there and not much going on. So we’re jumping in the pool and having good time. But at six o’clock, Ed Calvin and I decided we would take two girls and we would go to the movies. So I looked for Susan and I asked her if she would go to the movie. And so it has instantly she said yes. And then we got to know an inner city, a taxi [inaudible] and we went off to the movies and the movies in those days in Venezuela and Marchese metal was a great big open building, no roof on the building, big box.

David Tierney: 00:10:42 And you would walk through the door, pay your believer to get a chair and you would pick up your folding chair and you go out in the center of this room and the movie would be cast out on a a a painted white wall. And so it’s like eight o’clock at night and they’re showing this incredible movie called point blank with Lee Marvin. And it’s an escape from Alcatraz movie, fairy thrilling, and it’s an English with subtitles in Spanish. And we’re sitting there, the four of us, Ed Kaufman, his girl and me and she, Susan and Susan slumped over and starts to snore. And it is this incredible movie and it’s just full of gunfights and helicopter crashes and everything. And so I wrote her off, but as fate would have it, some two or three months later, I’m in Caracas and Susan happens to be at the Peace Corps office in Caracas. And now I’ll let her speak. Okay. Your rebuttal? No, no, take it from there.

Susan Tierney: 00:11:39 Right. So I’m at my one year reunion, I think 1968 October in the Peace Corps office evaluating and you know, our group has come together 50 and so I’m gonna head back to my site that are a week long. Convention is over and all of a sudden this man comes up to me and he says, remember me? And frankly, I’m not sure I remembered him, but we, we headed, we headed off to Mike Katea where we flew back. I was going to take the inner city port Presto back to my site and he said, oh, for 50 believers you can take the plane, so why don’t you come with me and I’ll take you to your site? Because I was about an hour and a half from his location. So that’s what I did. And he dropped me off at my site. And from there he started visiting about once a week I was getting weekly visits, which I never got from anybody in the Peace Corps.

David Tierney: 00:12:53 Well, as I understand it, there was a leaderboard. Right. Can you tell that story? A leader boy? Well, actually what happened was maybe a year later or so Susan and I had dated for some time and the Peace Corps had a very strict policy that staff members could not date. Volunteers could not fraternize with volunteers. So I had become a staff person about the time that Susan was in Caracas and I met her there and we flew together. And what happened was they gave me a jeep four wheel jeep and I was visiting as a little volunteer leader. Still a volunteer, but acting as a staff person. I was visiting 50 different volunteers in different parts of the area in which I was responsible for, which was one fifth of Venezuela, an area about two and a half times the size of the state of Texas.

David Tierney: 00:13:43 And I would go driving around, visit these volunteers to see if they were okay. So I simply arranged my tour so that I always went through Susan’s site once a week or so because she made the very best chocolate cake and we were dating and so forth. So finally we got engaged and that was a story in itself. But anyway, I call up Henry Wheatley, the director of the Peace Corps the morning after we were engaged, part of my miles because there was a very strict rule about no Frederick Zation. And I said, Henry, I want you to know that last night I became engaged to Susan Fennel. And there was a pause and Henry said, damn, I didn’t win the pool. And I said, what pool? And Henry said, well, downstairs in the basement of the Peace Corps office, which was very high ceiling, there was a floor to ceiling chart and it had 300 entries, one for every volunteer in country. And every time a staff person visited a volunteer next to the name Susan Fennel, they would be a box where the report mentioning Susan Fennel and what the root observations were and the report and its number and date would be in a little box.

David Tierney: 00:14:52 So since I was honest and I put every time I saw Susan, I put something in my weekly report which I filed and Susan’s bar charts so to speak, had gone out way ahead of every other volunteer and the doctors had begun to speculate and had formed a pool, which Henry did not win. Dr Round, Horst. Wonderful intersect. You never knew that story. Okay. So you guys, that’s how you met. You were there for three years total in the two. One, two years.

Susan Tierney: 00:15:27 Yeah. Dave was there for about two and a half because he took on the job of acting director in, in our region. And Cause Bill Dewey,

David Tierney: 00:15:40 There was a reason for that. Our area director, a guy named Bill Dewey, who was quite a good friend of mine, he went off to become the country director for Peace Corps in Ecuador. Susan, I later visit him, but when he left there was a void and they made me the local area director as a volunteer leader. But my group was working in Mitchell municipal councils, Conseco municipales. And there was an election coming and quite regularly the councils were being shut up. There were 21 political parties. And so every Friday the mayor in each town would have an audiencias audience and the citizens would come and 40 or 50 people would have complaints or compliments for the mayor. But each of these other, the NC is began to get shot up or somebody would be there and they would just raise an automatic pistol and foul shots wildly into the crowd or into the mayor or whatever.

David Tierney: 00:16:32 And so the Peace Corps got nervous and they told our whole group, some 30 people that they had to leave town. So they all went to Puerto Rico. But I had recently met Susan and I wanted to run out the string with a chick. And secondly there was an election comment and I wanted her to see what was going on. So p square made me a volunteer leader and put me in Dewey’s place and I stayed there during the election, which was quite exciting in 1968. November I think. [inaudible] And you guys were recently back in Columbia, which is near there. And I think you came close to the border and sauce and I mean it’s obviously a very different place today than it was when you guys were there. What, what was the scene when you were there recently?

David Tierney: 00:17:13 Well, we had ended our, my peace corps tour in February of 1969 as I was finishing and getting ready to go back to the states on March one, Susan and I took a trip into Columbia and we spent about two weeks in maybe five or six coastal cities in Columbia. And, and we also went to Ecuador too. And so it w 50 years later to the day, almost in February of this year, 2019 Susan, I returned to Columbia for a wedding, but we bookended the wedding was a couple of days in the cities in which we had been so 50 years

David Tierney: 00:17:49 Ago. Exactly. The cities had totally transformed in the physical sense. They were larger of course, but they were also higher. They had 50 and 60 story towers instead of the two and three story buildings and they had peers where there were none and docks and ports and tremendous commercial activities and and cranes building roads and buildings. It was just incredible. Columbia is just booming, but the most important thing about it when we were there is the streets were full of Venezuelans because Columbia, which has some 30 million people has taken in two and a half million Venezuelan refugees in the last two years. Venezuela only had 12,000,004 and a half million of left. Two and a half million of those are in Columbia. That neighboring country, they have walked across the border and they are there on the streets. For example, in Cartagena, the first city to which we went there, 80,000 Venezuelans walking on the streets.

David Tierney: 00:18:44 They are refugees and they have no place to go. They’re living in cardboard boxes or little hovels or whatever. They can’t bring anything out of Venezuela to speak of maybe shoe coins at all. And so we met people who were Venezuelan refugees and they are being treated so well by the Colombians. And for us, it was such an amazing thing to see after what’s been going on in the United States with all the stuff about refugees and all of the hatred coming out of Washington directed towards anybody crossing our border. Just paltry numbers that they are compared to what’s going on at the border of Kukutai and Columbia where the Venezuelans cross mostly. It is astounding to see how well the Venezuelans are being received in Columbia

Susan Tierney: 00:19:30 During the time we were in Columbia this past February one. Guido, the, I believe he’s head of the Congress in Venezuela, young 38 year old man met with president Trump while we were in, in Columbia. And of course, Trump embraced him and promised that the u s was going to be helping and aiding the problems in Venezuela. However the issue is so much more complex and who knows what’s going to happen to those people. But it was hard. It really was a good feeling to see the outpouring of compassion for the Venezuelans. One of the things that happened, we were leaving. There was a concert and there were something like 30 stars from all over South America who came together at Kuka Tele and did a one day Woodstock,

David Tierney: 00:20:48 Woodstock, it would be equivalent to Woodstock, 250,000 people attended to raise funds, interest and, and compassion for the Venezuelans. It was an incredible outpouring of support and it was 31 different groups, bands and, and, and, you know, stars from all over South America who flew there to perform. There was no MC. They simply agreed among themselves who would go first, who would go second, how to get on and off the stage and all that kind of stuff. And Sir Edward ransom that a virgin airlines had paid to erect the stage and had just, you know, built the stage and said, let’s see what happens. And these stars came from all of the, you know, all the countries in South America and they performed. And to see on the television the wave being done by 250,000 people in a peaceful assembly with volunteers, singers to benefit a cause like that and split screen as we were in the airport.

David Tierney: 00:21:52 The other screen would show the frontier where mother Udo, who is the Coveo, the head of a Venezuela chief executive of Venezuela who was in opposition to one guy, wait, oh, my little head welded three supertankers to the rails on enormous bridge at Kuka to block the avalanche of humanity that Guido had called on to have crossed the bridge, pick up the aide, which has been stockpiled in huge bunkers there by the eyes states and Chile and Argentina. And when when the bridge was blocked by the Maduro guys and an army, people were put in place to shoot down the folks. If they were to go across that bridge. Everybody in Columbia was quite an uncle on one screen watching the potential armed conflict at the bridge, which would have been war and in the other, this incredible concert going on only a few miles away.

David Tierney: 00:22:52 The confrontation never occurred and Columbia breathe easier and we left that day from the airport with everybody in Columbia, absolutely glued to the television screens, watching the concert on one hand and on the other screen watching the confrontation going on. That sounds like a pretty momentous time to be where you guys were in that country. There was one of the thing that was going on as we drove to the airport, leaving Methene, which you suggested that we spent some time in as we drove up the hill, going to the international airport in Midian. I said to the driver, why are all these cars stopped on the side of the road? He said, oh, today’s the day that the government is going to blow up the home and the office building of Pablo Escobar, the famous drug lord the El Chapo of Columbia. He lived in Midian and he had this office building and a big home next door.

David Tierney: 00:23:50 I said, where are they going to blow it up? Is there something wrong with the house? Oh no, he says perfectly good office building and house too. But the government has decided we must make a point that we are done with the cartels. We are done with the drug people and and they’re going to blow up the house. And so we kind of pulled over and slowed and he held up his cell phone and showed us, cause it was kind of far in the distance and you watched them implode. The building, which went down in a great collateral, huge clouds of dust and everybody cheered and then we drove on to the airport. So three things are coming to conclusion.

Sean Tierney: 00:24:24 Yeah. We as you know, live for a month in metagene as part of remote year

Sean Tierney: 00:24:29 And it gets

Sean Tierney: 00:24:32 For sure. All of them. The most of the feedback I got from everyone in the u s at least because they see narcos and you know, has this big stigma of association with Pablo Escobar. Everyone says, oh, it’s completely unsafe. Did you guys ever feel at all unsafe when you were in Medellin?

Susan Tierney: 00:24:48 Never ever did we feel unsafe. Everybody we interfaced with, they were just so overwhelmingly friendly. We had this enormous great chance to have a guy who took us to even dangerous places. Not Anymore, but they were dangerous at one time. You guys went to Area 13, right? Yes. Yes. Dad tells that story so much better than I can.

David Tierney: 00:25:28 So you had recommended that we go there and we did. And could I say in 13 is one of the many barrios that skate up the sides of the enormous hills that form a cup. The city of Medellin down in the valley and the barrios sort of step up the hills to the sides. And many of the Barrios have these tariff Tele Federico’s, these cable cars that service them and each cable car goes up to five, six, eight stops and the people come with their bags and baggage and they ride the cable car and they go home. However, there’s one barrio that we went to at your recommendation, Tracy, and it did not have a cable car. Instead, it had a series of enormous escalators and I said to the guy, why is it there are the escalators? He said, let me tell you the story.

David Tierney: 00:26:16 On February 2nd, 2012 the government was very angry because the f a l n had taken over this barrio and it was infested with gorillas and they were mounting operations and the government was at an end of it, you know, they decided to act. So they brought in two huge Huey gun ships and a thousand soldiers with automatic weapons. And for four days they shut the shit out of this barrio. They warn nobody who was living there and thousands of innocent people as well as the gorillas were killed in the carnage. The buildings, building’s roll destroyed. The place was bombed flat and it’s on a mountain going up the side of a mountain. So then the government pretty smart to took all the buddies and Barry Dominion Joining Hill and an enormous mass grave, which is a scar that can be seen today. But then they had an international competition as to how that they should do something other than fellow Federico.

David Tierney: 00:27:15 They would give access to this Barrio hill. And then after they, they gave a prize to a French firm who built the escalators. The government gave the people blocks, concrete rebar, wood. And the people rebuilt that Barrio of that distinctive rig brick, which they use in Medillin. And so now when you go there, there’s a brand new barrio. It is not broken down and falling apart like many of the other barrios. And instead it is modern in as much as you can make it. But anyway, the people there have forgotten or suppressed what happened to them and their town and they have at every stop on the escalator, there are little parks and in the parks or people dancing. So we were there on a Thursday afternoon, I think it was two, three 30 in the afternoon. And every time you get off the escalator there’d be a small park within I shot and be a hundred 150 people standing there and watching eight kids doing break dancing or salsa dancing.

David Tierney: 00:28:15 And there are cafes and they’re at restaurants and the streets are too small for anything except motorcycles. But that’s all right because you can’t get up there anyway. I mean you have to take an escalator and then you can walk off to one side or the other. So our guide had been one of the people that escaped the carnage and he helped in the rebuilding of this bar. He who knew, he knew everybody. So we got fist bumps and you know, handshakes and backslaps everywhere he went, he took us to the home of the guy that has done the 17 huge murals that dominate this barrio. I was going to say, there’s really impressive street art there. His name was Choteau or chapel or something like that. And we went to his home, met his grandfather or grandmother and his dog and went to his studio.

David Tierney: 00:29:00 But we also went to a cafe where everybody was sitting around drinking cafe and or Jetta and whatever. Maybe there was being served and people were so easy and so friendly and so happy and so go lucky. But the place is booming and teaming and it’s like the rest, it’s like all of Columbia right now. The economy is booming. The people are very, pappy. The piece that was brought two and a half years ago with the Fal n the suppression of the cartels to a small vestige of what they used to be. Columbia is just an amazing place right now. Yeah. That, that neighborhood in particular I think is just such an example of a community together

David Tierney: 00:29:42 And rising back up after being complete. Decimated, like you said. Really impressive. Not Bowls, as you know, who has the other podcast has a whole episode where they’re talking about audio that I say and the breakdancing and just specifically how that came about. And between that and the street art, it’s really, it’s like a grassroots community effort, you know, bringing these kids up, giving them something to do, really impressive. But I sort of put a bow on this air on the Venezuela Peace Corps era. I wanted to ask you, what traits do you feel were strengthened from that experience? And let me just preface this by saying, when I did the, the nomadic travel for however many, two and a half years, I felt like the traits of tolerance and resilience and patients and things like that really get a workout. It’s almost like weightlifting for those traits.

David Tierney: 00:30:36 G, you know, going and being in some of these uncomfortable situations and having to figure out things you’ve never done before. But what do you feel, what did you take from the Peace Corps in terms of, are there any character, character traits that were strengthened over there? So when I was growing up at age eight, I left a very comfortable suburban house and Irish enclave near Boston. And my parents moved us some 30, 40 miles to the south. And my family, my sister and I parents lived in a huge restaurant. My father bought in a town which was holy Protestant and had no use for any of the Irish that I had grown up with. And it was like a culture change. And then when I finished high school, I chose out of all the universities I was gonna have an application into, I chose to go to Brandeis, which was a heavily Jewish university or something I had no experience with.

David Tierney: 00:31:30 And so I went there and I had a culture change. And so after law school in a clerkship, I wind up in a peace corps, which was a culture change. And so by the time I got through with Venezuela, I had learned that people are the same in the sense that they all have interesting traits and capabilities and tolerance and they will teach and you and you will learn and so forth. But Peace Corps was like the icing on a cake that had been baked in Arlington, Massachusetts and hanged them. And in Waltham, Massachusetts some years before. But being in the Peace Corps and meeting Brazilians and Colombians and Ecuadorians working in Venezuela, which in those days was the powerhouse economy in all of South America. And My town in particular, but Casey Meto was the commercial center of the heart, the beating heart event as well. He was a powerhouse. There were factories everywhere. Those communication lines leading all over the country that came to a head to a central place in Marchese metal. There was a rail line, the only rail line that went to the ocean and Barky c Meto was a polyglot

David Tierney: 00:32:40 City. They were Europeans. There were Cubans who were refugees. They were everybody you could imagine was there and bark. You see Mento speaking all kinds of languages and with all sorts of backgrounds and man, it taught you how to listen and listen, not to reply, but to listen and hear. And it taught you how to be understanding and accept accepting of what it is that they’re doing and saying and to appreciate that this comes from some well of experience is quite different than your own. And coming to Arizona thereafter was another culture shock

David Tierney: 00:33:18 Condition. Political enclosures, [inaudible] right after Liberal Boston and South American, the p score to be in conservative Arizona. Oh Shit. Well, I don’t even know if you remember this, but when I did the exchange program in Ecuador that I did you, when I left, I took a journal and on the back page of that journal, maybe I wouldn’t because it was flipped upside down. I didn’t see it until like halfway through my trip. But you had written on the last page, observe, inquire, reflect, just three words. And I think that’s consistent with what you’re saying. It sounds like the Peace Corps taught you how to listen more than to talk. Just to observe. And Peace Corps tells you when you go to your site, when you get your country for three months, don’t seek to do anything. Don’t make any suggestions, just listen. Just absorb. Just sink it into your heart, what’s going on.

David Tierney: 00:34:14 And then after all of that, then from your wealth of experience, you might make suggestions and Peace Corp has three requests that you go and experience. Something that will change yourself, that you go on experience and leave something physical behind you and then would you come back that you put to use in the United States, the change in yourself to make better the life of those people whose culture you have experienced. I don’t think many peace corps people have done a very good job of the ladder. Yeah. So it’s not just about bringing an impact to the community that you’re doing your service in, but it’s also then a matter of taking that back to the u s when you finish your, your stint in the Peace Corps. Would you agree with that more?

Susan Tierney: 00:35:05 Totally. That the Peace Corps experience I just, first of all, I, I came from a rural Illinois background and had not been further than probably 300 miles from my farm before I went to college. And it was probably for that reason that in my junior year of college I decided I wanted to experience more than the rural Illinois farm land. It was a great experience. But if I was going to be allowed the chance to see other culture and experience other people, I was going to have to figure out how to do that in the peace corps was the perfect way. So the experience I had in the peace corps was much different than my husband’s. I was in a very tiny rural community. I was supposed to teach women to drive tractors. The women didn’t know how to drive, nor did they, were they ever able, because there were no tractors.

Susan Tierney: 00:36:33 So I basically worked with a women to teach them how to maintain their homes and have a better lifestyle for their family raising, you know, having gardens. And we made beds so they didn’t have to sleep in hammocks. I do have an interesting story though. When I moved to my town they told me I could select anywhere I wanted to stay. And I did find a pigsty. It was a house that had been built by the government and the people had left the house because they wanted to go back to their own hovel where it was thatched roofed mud walls. The kitchen was outside on a little outdoor patio rather than indoors. And so they had basically abandoned this Vivian de [inaudible] and there were pigs living in it. So when I walked into San Javier in October of 1967, first thing I did was spend a week cleaning them pig, take shit house and fixing it up. And the women that came there for glasses were just astonished. They couldn’t believe that I could turn something like that into a livable space. I’m not sure I changed anybody’s mind about moving into those houses, but anyway I mainly worked with the young people, the little kids in the school and yeah, so. All right, well let’s, let’s transition and shift gears here. You went to Phoenix after that before. We talked

Sean Tierney: 00:38:36 About that though. 50 years of marriage. How have you guys stayed together for 50 years? How have we stayed together for 50 years? I mean, you’re very different.

Susan Tierney: 00:38:45 Oh God. We still are married and that’s probably part of the, the beauty of this is we each have our own life apart. I mean, you know, we have lots of different hobbies that we enjoy. But when it comes right down to it there’s nobody I’d rather come home and stay with and sleep with than my own. David [inaudible],

David Tierney: 00:39:18 No x-rated stuff here. Hey man, the trick is to listen and try and accommodate and so forth and you know, and, and you, you start off from a basis of love and trust and then you have a lot of shared experiences and as time goes on and you build this incredible base of shared experiences and that kind of strengthens and fortifies whatever you started with, I think [inaudible]

Sean Tierney: 00:39:45 How, so? We’re here on the vineyard and you’re seeing audio and John, the [inaudible] is our cousins. Your nieces and nephews, Mary’s here too. You’re seeing the next generation, you know, at the age where Connor and I were when we were here on the vineyard. How has that been seeing, you know, them, you know, essentially the next generation coming up

Susan Tierney: 00:40:11 Basically. This week on the vineyard has been so refreshing. Just being able to come and, and again experience what we experienced in the eighties and nineties with our nieces and nephews and now their kids. It’s, it’s so refreshing just to realize that everyone is healthy looking terrific. And we’re so grateful that this was part of our 50th wedding anniversary.

David Tierney: 00:40:57 But the question was about how does it make you feel to see the cycle? This is like the Buddhist wheel of life, the cycle of life. I mean really we’re going to camp ground that commenced in the 1870s. The buildings here were built on the tops of tent platforms that were here in 1870 and then they built buildings. And so by 1880 these 360 buildings here in the campground were fully formed and in place covered with scrimshaw, made by the whalers, outer work whalers from Nantucket. And so now we went to the communities seeing the at the night and they sang songs. It was sun here in 1904 the same songs and the same little kids are running in circles around the bandstand from which the music is being performed. There were people sitting to my left that had been singing here for 85 years when they were children.

David Tierney: 00:41:52 They sang and ran around, sat around and ran around the bandstand 85 years ago. Yeah, it was. It was unbelievable to see. I think in the, the, the, the handbook it said something like 180 third sing sing is unbelievable. And so the cycle of life here is incredible. So the kids that we’ve been with all week were eight nine, 11 and so forth. These kids are repeating what their parents did, who are repeating what Robert and Bootsy rh did, who are repeating what Robert’s parents did. And Robert came here, his parents came here as children to go through this same cycle. So this is a community like the one in Buddy hill three, say back in Colombia, which has pulled itself together, established traditions and we are here seeing the 184 through whatever year of the Tabernacle and the hummingbird and 50 ninths singing. And I mean it is an extending indication of how people can come together form traditions and then assure their passage.

David Tierney: 00:43:02 Yeah. Well, I mean, I can definitely remember some of those songs, the Bi NGO and the Swiss navy. I mean, I remember when Connor and I were even younger, I think then audient John’s kids those exact same songs. And so yeah, it’s, and they’re interspersed, if you remember though, not just the ones like you remember Bingo and so forth, but they’re intersperse with these hymns that are civil war era hims, which are play every other song is a hymn that was sung about the time of the civil war being sung here for the, I don’t know what it’s Roberts 200th sing in a row. Yeah. He, he conducted the saying the other night. I mean it’s astounding to me how much history is here. I read this morning a book on the history of the vineyard and pictures of the history and the vineyard. But this is a place steeped in tradition. What would you say if you had to pick one memory of all the years, how many years did we come here by the way? As it was? 14, 14 summers. Yeah. 14 summers of all those, is there one particular memory that stands out? A situation or a, I mean, the rotten cheese is what comes to my mind, but I don’t know, well, you may not remember it, but I remember one where your cousin John, whose children we watched eat pancakes and whatever this morning John was here and he was about 13 and I think you were

David Tierney: 00:44:32 14 and John was at the bridge down by the beach where the kids jump off into the raceway that goes there when the tide changes. And John had dislocated his shoulder two or three times and foolishly John leaped in at the raceway with a tiger, runs through, dislocated his shoulder in the process and was out there floundering and you swam out and save John’s life. It was on a morning, you know, in the summer, like this some 50 years ago or so. We remember, I think that was the first time he dislocated it. But yeah, I do remember jumping in a deck that had made quite an impression on me.

Susan Tierney: 00:45:14 I think one thing I remember is the year my sister who was on Cape Cod decided to come over with her nine month old child, Christopher. And they were just gonna come for a day or so. And my sister Christopher was crying and crying and crying and she couldn’t get him to quiet down. And she goes out and admit knight pushing him in a Stroller walking around in her 90 on the campground.

David Tierney: 00:45:51 I think you’d chugged a bunch of saltwater if I remember. He’d just been drinking. Had an ocean. Yeah, I think that’s what it was. Oh, I think you’re right. Yeah, true. Yeah. That’s just one of many things I remember. Yeah. Just all the good meals that we had when grampy would, you know, do all the cooking basically. And we w grammy and I would come and clean the house and get everything ready and the kids just, they spent all day at the beach basically. Oh, in the coin diving, I think the coin diving yeah. Coin diving for the people listening that my brother and I and our cousins were engaged in this practice that we later realized was actually just begging. But we thought it was an actual profession where you, you’d swim off the pier and you just endlessly say, how about a coin? How about a coin and the tourist passing by getting on the ferry, we just throw coins at you. And you just thought that this was like a noble line of work. But we later realized that that was actually, no, we’re just beggars at that point. We made a very decent income every day. Yeah.

David Tierney: 00:46:56 Somewhere in the middle of these 14 years. You had developed quite a bit. You were bringing your own fan every summer when we came here, we would plug a fan on the air cause the house kind of airless but one year you had been given an electric car, a remote control car and we came here and the, the camp ground where we were the center of the campground is quite dark in the evening and you decided that it would be great fun to put your car out in the the middle of this place. And when people walked by, you would activate

David Tierney: 00:47:31 This electric car and it would chase them. And so people would be walking unsuspected down a dark lane in the middle of this camp ground under the spreading oaks and so forth, t simply walking through the campground and suddenly with a whore, a small object chasing them down and people would panic. And you thought this was great fun. Well, what you neglected was we also made some, some construction paper cutouts and decorated it as a skunk. Actually. I think that was the better part of that. Nice. Alright, well let’s transition yet again. I want to talk about professional wise and mom, how about you start, what was, so your school teacher of 21 years and that experience was punctuated by taking care of us and raising us. What was your subject? What did you do?

Susan Tierney: 00:48:25 Okay. How did I get into to teaching? Came out of the Peace Corps, didn’t have any education didn’t have any formal, you know to, to become a teacher you needed, you know, like psychology and philosophy and a lot of other courses that I’d never had. So basically I had to read tool, but I got hired to teach in a bilingual program and qualified to teach mathematics and did that for six years. Meanwhile, I got my masters and I got it in education. So but when I started teaching, I was earning $21 a day and that went on for about a year. It was basically sub pay. So I taught Algebra two kids who spoke, whose main language was Spanish. But they were highly motivated. These were kids who really wanted to you know, make it go up. And one of the things today that is so refreshing, I ran into a young man who I had taught in 1974 and he now runs one of the largest nonprofit St Vincent DePaul operations in the United States.

David Tierney: 00:50:01 I think. We’ve had a number of lucky occurrences and when we very first arrived in Phoenix, Arizona in 1969 and Susan came kind of late in the year, so it was early 1970. She needed to find a job either as a social worker or doing something that use her language and education was one. And so she went out to Glendale far western corner of Phoenix

David Tierney: 00:50:28 And found a job with a migrant opportunity program where they would take her because her language was so strong and the children were turn over children, they would be there too or a or 15 weeks. And then they would be moving on because their parents were migrants who pick the crops. And so that migrant opportunity gave her a place to learn education skills. And while she was doing that, she made some friends and one of them happened to call her because there was an opportunity that came up at Phoenix Union high school. They were well into the school year and they had a teacher who was a professional ball player and he had played in the minor leagues and he got a call up to the major leagues. And so he said, [inaudible], I’m Outta here. And he left and they had a vacancy and they needed an Algebra teacher that would teach freshman Algebra in Spanish and they weren’t too many of those around.

David Tierney: 00:51:21 And so Susan had a chance to get a job in what was a frontier position in 1969 70 in Phoenix, there was no bilingual program and no appetite for one, except that the federal government wanted to have a bilingual program. And so they funded it. And at one high school out of 16 high schools, there was a small bilingual program. And so there were like 12 or 10 teachers in that program and it was run by this fiercely domineering woman, Mrs. Vega. And she was like a mother hand and she had ties in the community. And so while Susan and Christie and mon teaching in the classroom, if somebody was absent, Mrs. Vega would get in her car and go to that person’s house and say, you get Jorge out here. He’s coming to school, give me Jorge and take him down to school. And so there was this iron clad running of this program forcing these kids to attend.

David Tierney: 00:52:19 But once they were in the classroom, teachers like Susan, we’re dealing with kids that had gone through eighth grade and they were social past, even though they couldn’t do the math, they’d pass them because the system wanting them to get the hell out of the courses. And so they would go to Susan’s classroom and occasionally I would go and watch it and these kids will be taught in their own language. When we came here in 69 only a few years before it had been a crime to speak Spanish on a public school playground, a crime. And so here is this bilingual program. These kids have been social passed and told they can’t speak Spanish in the classroom, are now being taught in their own language and they’re eager to learn. It was incredible to watch. The kids just burst in a flower. They were just so animated, so motivated. So Susan worked with good people that were like her, you know, frontier program in a frontier effort with kids. Highly motivated who flowered under her administration. It was unbelievable.

Susan Tierney: 00:53:26 Yeah. Escalante, I think of that standard deliver movie scene. That’s actually, most of the teachers were Mexicans. So when David says they were liked me, we had similar aspirations for kids for sure. And that was one of the primary reasons. Yeah. And you did that up until the point that we were born. And took time off. Yeah. I went on part-time status after Sean was born in 75. I went part time and then Connor was born two years later. And at that point David said to me, okay, I think you should stay at home. So I became a mom that raised two boys and was very hands on in their school teaching masterpiece art subbing for the Spanish teacher when she was ill, and just basically being on the parents’ Council at All Saints Episcopal school where the boys went for nine years. And we certainly had a share of Spanish growing up as well.

Susan Tierney: 00:54:33 I know you guys instituted that rule. Like one night a week we had to speak Spanish. This is even better when Sean was born. May 7th, 1975. It was like I had three weeks left of school to teach, but my doctor said, you’re gonna have this baby this week. I want you to quit teaching. So on April 30th, I announced that I had to stay home. And which meant that in September when school started he would have been about three months old. So we had spent the summer finding a nanny who was going to become his primary caregiver while I taught school. And I believe I only taught like four hours a day instead of eight hours. But Sean from the time he was a baby heard Spanish spoken every day. And so he’s, he’s a perfect example of a person who is truly bilingual cause he learned it from the day he was a native English Spanish. He refused though to t to speak to David Nye in Spanish. Even though we told him that on Monday nights we were going to have Spanish only dinner. He just put his foot down, no, I’m not doing. And eventually when he got to all saints and took Spanish in kindergarten, then it was okay for him to speak Spanish to us cause he was learning it at school and he thought that was adequate. In my defense, it’s something called transfer appropriate

David Tierney: 00:56:24 Processing. When you learn under certain conditions, then you basically pair it back under those conditions, but you’re unable to transfer it to a different set of circumstances. So I don’t think I was rebelling necessarily in that situation, although maybe, but yeah. Interesting. I’m not a psychologist. I do remember Carlos Toorak and Maria Toorak, the nanny, they had three kids, I think it was and one of them was oldest, Eduardo. And when you were two and a half, maybe three, Eduardo came to the House one day and I was sitting with my legs in the pool and you were playing in the pool and we were all there in water, would have brought me legal papers that he wanted me to read. And so I’m sitting with my legs in the pool and I’m reading and he standing over my shoulder and he says, Huh, I’ve never heard Shawn speak English.

David Tierney: 00:57:12 And I looked at him and I said, Duh. And he said, well at our house we only speak Spanish and Sean relates and speaks back to us in Spanish. And I said, oh, interesting. So he left and I began trying to talk to you in Spanish and you just did ignored me. You pretended you did not know what I was saying. You just would not converse with me. And we had been speaking Spanish in the household around you in Connor because we thought we could speak and get by you. You wouldn’t know what we were talking about. Right, and so to our amazement, surprise you. We had been secretly observing and recording. I guess all we knew cleaner anyway, the bottom line was, and for another five or six years, we could not get you to converse with us at all in Spanish. But then finally when it was a man made apparent in the preschool or wherever it was, what they was teaching you Spanish, then you realize that it was okay to speak that outside of the context of Maria and Carlos to is home.

David Tierney: 00:58:15 Yeah. I don’t know why this made me think of it, but the other day in Lisbon, I had a cab where I was, I know nothing about Portuguese. Right? I know Spanish at this point of, I don’t know Portuguese, but I was able to completely replay back an entire song that I learned in Brazilian Portuguese and this guy swore that I was Brazilian. He at that point was conversing with me in Portuguese. It just wouldn’t take, wouldn’t accept that I didn’t help her. She just told him no, I just know this song. I don’t know anything that I’m saying right now. I know the song. Okay, well, so work-wise, dad, let’s talk about what you did. So you came back from the Peace Corps, went to Phoenix and we’re one of the founding partners or how did that play out with no do shotgun socks was a different firm at that point. Actually before I left Venezuela in March, early March of 1969, Susan and I agreed that there was a chance we’d work in Boston, stay in Boston and if not, maybe we’d come to Phoenix. And so I went to Boston and it was like, it is always in Boston on March 10th or so cold, rainy, inhospitable, cram the buildings all chipping and falling down,

David Tierney: 00:59:22 Nobody speaking Spanish, none of the Cubans and the Puerto Ricans that I remembered in Boston and my old days. And so at an appointed arrange day, I called Susan on a long distance call and I said, you know, I’ve interviewed with 10 firms here. The town is really, I think we should go to Phoenix, Arizona, and she said, whatever. And so I accepted an offer I had, I had received that offer by phone in Venezuela some months before. And so I came to Phoenix and oddly enough, the people from Phoenix who would offer me a job had never mentioned salary. And so I came to Phoenix, I went to the law firm and maybe two weeks into my work there, the lead secretary office manager said to me, did you ever discuss salary with m j do shoffen size x? I said, no. She said, okay. And she went away in a little while.

David Tierney: 01:00:12 Then she came back and she said with 12,000 bok with you. And I say, Oh yeah, great. Because believe me, 12,000 in 1969 70 was just a fantastic wage for young lawyer. And so I started in this law firm and I came here in order to be the spear carrier or the second to a very distinguished guy named Bob Corcoran. And Corcoran had been in the air force and Catholic New Yorker grown up in entirely Irish Catholic neighborhood in New York and he came out to Phoenix and joined a law firm here. He’d been at Fordham law school. He went to Lewis and Roca, a very fine law firm, but he went there to be a water bond lawyer. And He, and a guy named Jim Mueller across the alley from where we eventually ended, they were at Lewis Neurobic until Bob Cork and got very, very bored. And one day he walked down to the county attorney’s office three blocks away and he walked in and he said, would you guys take me in as a trial lawyer?

David Tierney: 01:01:13 Can I try murder cases? And the county attorney, you had about 25 employees in those days, has 3,300 today. County attorney looked at him and said, you’re from Lewis and Roque okay, you’re on. And so Corcoran, about 1963 suddenly became a murder trial guy, a prosecutor, and he found himself on the front page of the paper all the time, trying one murder case after another. And he came out of that and went to do shots, ax and Corcoran and he needed an assistant. And so in 1966 I was visiting just for a week and I met Bob Corcoran and he decided I’d be a good second for him. So he called me in or they called me in Venezuela and I came back to be Bob Corcoran’s spear carrier. And so in 1969 70 I’m up all hours of the night going down and helping people make bail. I am going to initial appearance hearings, criminal defense.

David Tierney: 01:02:10 I’m going to stand outside grand jury proceedings. I’m getting a US senator. Fanon Fanon was in jail for drunk driving. I’m there at three in the morning, getting Senator Fanon out of the jail and going with him to an initial appearance a day later and so forth. I am doing criminal defense at a great rate and the firm is prospering and Corcoran’s doing just fine. But all of a sudden, about 1973 or so in Phoenix, Arizona, they suddenly decided after years of not doing it that they should be an enormous public defender’s office. And there hadn’t been one up to that point, they paid private lawyers 50 bucks an hour and they would have to defend people ever assigned to defend. They just decided not to do that. And once they hired public defenders, lots of them, and all of a sudden there was no more criminal law practice.

David Tierney: 01:03:01 And so I had been, you know, trying cases and learning from Bob Corkin at a great rate for almost four years. And now there was no criminal work. So Corcoran was next door to a big firm, which became kind of more [inaudible] bigger firm. But I stay behind with a CYA and j and the firm was only four lawyers at the time. And I all of a sudden found myself doing civil work, not criminal, but civil work and trial work. And so the first case or two I had that were civil cases happen to be construction cases. And the way it works in most law firms is once you do one, the next time a construction casing comes in, everybody says, Dave does that kind of stuff. And so I began getting all the construction work and there was plenty of it around because Phoenix was growing like crazy in those days.

David Tierney: 01:03:50 And then he’d 74 was just booming town construction in all directions and all of a sudden I found myself doing nothing but construction work. And it was a small firm and we were in a nice office building downtown and if you had, and we did all Harvard guys and you’re doing civil practice and it’s a very rapidly growing town, you’d have to be an idiot not to be able to grow a law firm. And we did, we began Audra adding people and we went to about 25 people and then we moved the firm uptown to an even nicest office building, grew to about 30. And then we ended up moving to Scottsdale and all during these years, you know, 1970s, 80s and so forth. I am trying construction cases, but it was all arbitrary. It was based on that first, first construction case that came through the door that you happen to take and that kind of stuff.

David Tierney: 01:04:45 That, of course, the first three or five cases that I tried had been personal injury cases, I would end up doing personal injury law all the rest of my life. Yeah, I had friends who did nothing but personal injury. That’s how they got there. So you mentioned Harvard, so you, I mean this is, I know we’re backtracking now, but you, you went to Harvard law school and you put yourself through Harvard law school as I understand it. What was, what got you into the vein of studying law? What was your motive there? So I went to Brandeis, which was a mostly Jewish university, very high quality, very new, very avant garde, very, you know, Daring University in Waltham, Massachusetts. It had been formed right after World War Two because the jewelry of America were really pissed off that they could not get their children into Harvard, Columbia, and Yale because of the antisemitism.

David Tierney: 01:05:41 And so Jews all over the country contributed money. And the guy named Abrams Sachar was the president. He, he created Brandeis University and it was small, crazy art van guard. It was like a boat going to sea. And we were building it as we went. And so while I was there, it was, you know, my, my music teacher was the guy that wrote west side story, Leonard Burton Flanner Brett’s team. My psychology teacher was Abraham Maslow. Sure. I had constitutional law with Henry Levy, a scholar in that field. I was a protege of Richard O. Smith who was a fugitive from Harvard, but a remarkable child psychologist. I had great professors and they were all there because they wanted this strange new vibrant university to grow. And my year from our class of 246 of us went to Harvard law school was the largest group we ever sent. But for any school that was, you know, other than Harvard college to send six to be in the class at Harvard University was pretty amazing.

David Tierney: 01:06:53 And I got there in large part. I had wonderful grades and I did very well on the l l sat test that you take. But the thing that got me there was I think I had met a fellow who was given a fellowship at Brandeis. His name was Higgs. And Higgs was a civil rights lawyer from Jackson, Mississippi and became a good friend of mine and I spent time working with him in Mississippi and Higgs was only five years or so out of Harvard and Higgs was one of the hundred brightest young men in America, featured in life magazine in 19 I don’t know, 1963 something like that. But anyway, I met him when he was a up and coming civil rights lawyer and as quite a story there. But anyway, Higgs I believe had a lot to do with me getting into Harvard law school and going to Harvard law school.

David Tierney: 01:07:52 Really? I mean they take one out of 50 and that is an incredible opportunity once you get in there. But when I went to Harvard law school, I had no money. My parents had exhausted what little they could pay and I had a full ride at Brandeis University and just the minor expenses that my parents paid, there was no money for law school. Bootsie was, my sister was going to Boston University. That was free cause my mother was on the faculty there and a off I go to Harvard law school and I have to work, I gotta Tell Ya, of my 540 classmates, nobody else worked. I had to work at night. And so the first week I was in Cambridge and I was just going to open up my apartment and I had two friends and Brandeis that I was rooming with. Somebody came to the door and they were doing a survey of hair tonic or something like that and they had a clipboard and they were doing this survey with questions and the forth.

David Tierney: 01:08:47 And I said, Jesus, somebody pay you to do this. And they said yes. I said, what do they call this? And they said, market research. And so I finished answering and I say, give me your card, tell me where you work. And that afternoon I went down to this office, which was in the center of Harvard Square on the second floor that the research firm. And I went in and said, hey, I’m a graduate at Brandeis University with a degree in psychology. Did Not mention it was child psychology and I said, I would like to work for you. And they said, okay, we may have an opening. So then I got a job and the job paid six and a quarter, an hour, which was three and a half times the minimum wage [inaudible] and my deal was that I had to go to, for example, Brookline on a Tuesday night, you would had to be in a certain block, which they would mark on them app.

David Tierney: 01:09:37 You had to be there at six 30 and you would take, they would color code the houses around the block and you would go to the first house. And if it wasn’t nobody there, you’d go to the second house and so on. And you would have a clipboard and you would have questions, well, pardon me, but for one who’s going to be a trial lawyer, the best thing you could have this person do for a job is to go to total strangers and do questioning and get answers. And these were not all checked the boxes types. These were interviews they were opening. I remember doing it for Gillette Sword Blades for royal tires for Chevrolet. I was sent on a couple occasions to independent car, lots to spend a day observing how the independent car lots were selling so many cars. All I had to do was go and lounge, drink cokes and talk to the guys and spend the day.

David Tierney: 01:10:36 And then I would come back and write an observational report, which would be seven, eight pages about what they did when they interviewed possible customers and so forth. This was unbelievably good training for law school and it was just luck of the draw. I mean I mentioned to you before, we’ve had such lucky things in our lives. Imagine getting the perfect job. So here I am studying my ass off in law school and I mean I, I slept six hours at night, which was tough. And I would come home at night and I would study till two and I would get up at seven in the morning and I’d be at class at nine login to huge briefcases and then I’d come work in the library and study in the afternoon and eat dinner and go out and do market research and everything. And my roommates, Richard and Allen, they would have nothing to do.

David Tierney: 01:11:31 So while I was out at night they were studying law and so for me Harvard is hard enough but I was just killing myself and trying to stay ahead. My first year my grades weren’t very good. After that I had terrific grades cause I stopped working and I just took low. I took out loans, I did very little market research, interviewing and then the next lucky thing that happened there was no clinical education. This is 1963 now my first year law school was over and by God there is no, no clinical education in law school. You don’t get any practical training. And my first year of law school was so dry and so boring that I remember thinking whether I’d ever go back into my second year and so I went to do shafts. They were living at Brandeis and they were dormed dorm mothers and I went to and Elaine Douche offs for dinner one night and there was a guy there from a year or two ahead of me in law school and I said to him, I am so bored.

David Tierney: 01:12:32 I just, I think I may not go back. And this guy, a Friedlaender from Philadelphia said to me, you should try out for the voluntary defenders. He said, they are doing clinical type stuff. We’re only 30 students. Out of all the law school will be selected and you will interview prisoners. You will prepare their cases to be presented in court the next day because the Gideon case, promising every American citizen, a lawyer if they had a serious accusation crime against them. That case was brand new. Case was like a year or two before I went to law school and a guy named Sam Dash who was later very visible, visible and prominent. Important in the Watergate hearing. Sam Dash created our voluntary defenders, got the Supreme Court of Massachusetts to prom promising a rule will 32 Jake that students could practice law under the supervision of a lawyer. And so we would take people that were accused of crime in the jails, we would interview them and then a next upper level classmen, a third year student would take that case to trial and defend that person. And that was good enough. I was a lawyer. And so man, we were doing that big, I mean, we did lots and lots of that. What an incredible thing to add. And it saved me cause I would have dropped out of law school if I just had to sit and work with the books all the time.

Sean Tierney: 01:13:55 There’s a, there’s a particular story I wanted you to share regarding that question that I know is it’s got a, who’s someone who’s not a lawyer, they’ve gotta hear this question and say, Oh, you can only do that. But the idea of defending someone when they tell you they’re guilty, I know the story you want me to tell. Yeah. Can you explain? Well, first

David Tierney: 01:14:11 Off is the question is how do you in good conscience defend someone when they tell you that they’re there, they’re guilty and they’re your client. But as a lawyer you have an obligation to defend them to your, to the best of your ability. Right. So in my second year of law school, I’ve passed the test and I had gotten into the voluntary defenders and there are only 32nd year students and 33rd year students and I’m in the voluntary defenders and I’m doing my job, which is to go to Middlesex County and Suffolk county jails. I mean the Charles Street jail and Suffolk County Mat Boston. It’s my Wednesday afternoon this to the jail. They bring a prisoner to see me and I’ve got to take down his story. And then somebody who’s a third year student will try that case and I may assist them. I may not draw that case.

David Tierney: 01:14:58 So I’m dealing with this prisoner. His name is, I’m going to give him a name. John Ryan and John sits there. He’s all banged up and he’s got his nose bandaged nose had been set and I’m taking down his story. And the story is that he is accused of having gotten in a cab up on beacon hill and he gets into the cab, he sits behind the driver as a passenger. Drivers, starts off to a destination that John gives him. And then John takes a butter knife, a real table knife with razorblades tape to it, and he holds it in front against the Cabbie’s neck. And he says, gimme your money and the cabby stops the cap. Hands back all the cash. She’s got to John John Steps, then back out getting out of the cab and he’s getting out of the cab. He’s wearing a leather jacket and the, the little band of, you know, little strap on the jacket, catches on the door handle and he’s kind of stuck and he’s trying to free himself and not drop the knife.

David Tierney: 01:16:04 And he’s got the money in the cab, he sees he’s occupied. So Kathy starts jerking the cab, jerk in the cab and John has fallen down and so forth. And he’s finally, he struggles out of the jacket, dropping the knife in a way. He goes running down the street, kv, screaming, thief, the thief. It’s six o’clock at night, you know, the shadows are falling, the streetlights there. And as the fleeing suspect runs down the street, he snatching at women’s pocketbooks. And so there’s a dozen people who are offended by what’s going on, including the cab driver and this serious crime here. But the jacket has John’s name in it. And so the cops knows he’s a, he’s a juvenile offender that’s known to them. They go to his house in Dorchester, it’s a third floor walkup, and they kick him down the stairs and it’s the broken nose, scrapes in the bangs and everything.

David Tierney: 01:16:54 And I’m there and John is telling me the story. I gotta have it straight because the next morning he’s going to be offended by a Massachusetts voluntary defender and he’ll be in court the next morning. This is a pretty serious crime. And he’s just now over 18. And John says, I did it. And he says, I hope you’ll defend me. And I say, terrific. And somehow the next day I could draw that case and I am second in command and we do the trial. I do one or two of the witnesses, we’ve called witnesses and gotten them there and they’re going to defend John Z. He’s a good character and so forth. But there’s been a lineup and there are people who are saying, John’s the person who tried to snatch my purse and the cab, he just says, I’ve recognize him. I looked in the mirror and I saw who he was, looked in the mirror.

David Tierney: 01:17:42 Anyway, time goes on and John gets sentenced that day and he sends to a year in deer island prison. It’s an island off the coast of Boston in the harbor. Very old, 200 year old prison. Very grim, very awful place. Very dangerous place for young guys. Just over 18 a lot of hardened criminals for young meat like John. So your girl is by, and I finished law school now and I’m, I’m, I’m out of law school. I’m in a clerkship so I’m living still in my same apartment and the phone rings one night and it’s John Ryan and he says, I just want you to know and Mr Lawyer, I managed to get out and then I’d done my time and I’m out and he says, you really worked your heart out for me. He said, I appreciate it, I’d like to do something for you.

David Tierney: 01:18:27 And I say, John, it’s not eating. He said, no, seriously, you got a car, I see ya. Does it need any work? And I said, yeah. As a matter of fact, I got a 62 Chevy and it really needs a valve job. He says, you bring that car on Saturday and my brother and I will do a valve job for you, bring it out to some town right north of Boston, right. Looking down at Boston Everett. And so I go to Everett on a Saturday morning, it’s nine o’clock, it’s hot and I’m there. I’m working on the engine with John and his brother Alex or something. We work all morning and we take the valve covers off and we redo the valves and everything. And so maybe three o’clock in the afternoon, we finished hot and we sit on the back porch, put our feet up on the rail, looking out at the mud flats and Logan airport out there.

David Tierney: 01:19:15 And Alex is sitting one over and John is sitting next to me and I’m drinking a carlings black label long nick B. And I’m sitting there and John says to me, you know, I didn’t do it. And I look at him and I say, John, you know, you told me it did it. It’s, it’s old news. Let it go. He says, none. Ice Is Alex. Tell a man and his brother who’s short and dark and swarthy and John is tall, enlightened blonde. Alex leans forward and he says, yeah, I did the job. I wore John’s jacket. John did the time for me because I had a baby on the way. And I look at these two brothers, totally different. John Having been identified in the lineup by all those women who thought that person was about to be snatched. And that cab who was I took from that two or three things.

David Tierney: 01:20:10 First is eye witness testimony is worth nothing. Those people who identified John as the miscreant, they thought they were doing the right thing but they were dead wrong. They were significantly encouraged by the police to make data edification and secondly there was a reason why the system is set up such that I as a lawyer have to take John’s story, not put him on the stand, give them the best possible defense, challenging the eye witnesses and so forth because sometimes the system is wrong, the witnesses are in error and the system doesn’t work unless the lawyers worked their hearts out trying to defend as best they can, the accused, and if that doesn’t work, that doesn’t happen. Then the police get to guide this. The results here and the police are always interested in getting convictions and clearing folks who might commit crimes off the streets and they want this case closed and onto the next one they’ll say anything.

David Tierney: 01:21:12 They’ll do anything to get a conviction. The lawyers have got to use their best efforts even when they think the man is guilty. And the last person, even this was the other big thing I took away, the last person you can believe is your client. He’s not likely to tell you the truth, even if he thinks he knows the truth. And so you do the best you can for him, even though it may give you a twinge in your heart sometimes. Believe in this guy really did a crappy thing here and I am going to defend him as best I can so that the system works.

Sean Tierney: 01:21:48 I think that’s a good segue in where this is the longest interview I’ve ever done. So we’re pushing the time here. But I’m going to use that as an opportunity. It seems like the theme of doing the best you can in spite of all odds and you know that, that that sentiment has kinda been a pattern. I know you guys are both involved in various volunteer pro bono work. Mom, do you want to talk about what you do specifically? I think you, you, you should do something in Mexico.

Susan Tierney: 01:22:19 2008, we sold the house that we had lived in for 35 years and we moved over to central Phoenix on you know, yeah. Gated community near camelback and central. And I changed my church parish from St Thomas to St Francis Xavier. And so I got involved down at St Francis. And one of the programs that I got involved with involved going down to know gala’s with a priest too, made weekly or biweekly visits down to Nogalas and we serve food in a commodore on the Nogales Sonora side of the border. And from that I eventually ended up teaching English to Spanish speaking parents, which is something that all the years I taught math to a Spanish speaking students. The parents would say to me, teach us English. Our kids refused to talk to us in English. We wanna learn English. So I did that for a couple of years.

David Tierney: 01:23:45 Yeah, I think you admitted to say who the meals in the commodore or for [inaudible]

Susan Tierney: 01:23:49 The meals in the Komodo war. Okay. They were they were people that were attempting to come in across the border immigrants. And a lot of them had been in the u s for 25, 35 years, and they got returned back to Mexico, but they want to do, get back into the u s because they didn’t know anybody down in Mexico anymore. Their family was all up in the U S so they’re people who basically one to live in the United States. And, but when the U s throws them out and they have no place to go, they will go to the commodore and they stay there and what they’re given help to get back to if they have family in Mexico so they can get back to their family. Yeah. But recently I started working with these OSI leas that are coming from the Golden Triangle of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. And that’s what I’ve been doing in a different church at Lutheran Church and also an episcopal church. Cool.

David Tierney: 01:25:12 And Dude, I don’t even know how many different initiatives you’re involved with, but the health fair I know is one. Can you talk about any of the other volunteer stuff you’re involved with? I’m involved in 12 different boards and commissions that I work on right now in addition to working at the law firm as an arbitrator and a mediator. But the thing I’m doing right now that’s most interesting. I mean I, I I work with probationers who do construction work on five oh one C threes. I work with Irish cultural stuff. I work with seriously mentally ill, finding housing for them. I work with financing special courts in the Phoenix, Arizona, all kinds of things. But the thing that’s really preoccupying me right now, and it relates to what Susan just mentioned, is that the country is going through, in effect the same civil rights of 1965 thing had tore

David Tierney: 01:26:04 My generation apart and the country apart at that time. We’re going through that same sort of convulsion right now, but it has to do with immigration instead of the civil rights of citizens. It has to do with the rights of people as opposed to the rights of citizens some 50 years after the civil rights revolution. And so what I’m following up on is the people that Susan worked with in the coma door, they the people who are migrants, the people who have come into the United States either illegally or not yet have gained legal residency. These people are truly being treated abysmally. And there are hundreds of thousands of them coming across our southern border. So about two years ago, the Harvard Club of Phoenix, of which I happen to be the secretary, decided that it would bring to town for Harvard fellows. These are juniors in college, straight a students working in fields like sociology or journalism that have something to do with it.

David Tierney: 01:27:05 My bear with the immigration crisis. So we raised the money. We recruited four Harvard students out of 21 that wanted to do it and two professors that wanted to be involved. And we have brought to Phoenix four brilliant young Harvard undergraduates. They are spending 11 weeks this summer and I’m part of a little three man squad from the Harvard Club of Phoenix who works with these young people. So we have a videographer, we own article writer. We have a person who does social media, we have a policy wonk statistician in the four of them, our team and they are trying to plumb to the bottoms of a very closed and sealed up system that the US government runs. They call it the immigration system. It is a non system. It is made up of a series of disconnected silos but they’re all walled in and protected and shut away from anything that people can see.

David Tierney: 01:27:58 So the public, the people in the United States don’t know what’s going on in this non system and these young women are making a rogue efforts to put it on tape, put it on video and concoct a very cohesive look at the numbers and the policies decisions which make up this non system regarding immigration, which right at the moment has just hundreds of thousands of people who are recently arrived legally or illegally seeking admission to this country. Because they can’t live anymore in El Salvador. The gangs are pursuing them or their children. They can’t pursue their business in Honduras because of gangs will take every cent. They have not even leaving money for the people’s family. These people trek, you know, 2000 miles under the most difficult circumstances and they come across the wire and they present themselves. They asked for asylum and then the trouble starts. The Trump administration is treating them very badly.

David Tierney: 01:28:59 They can find in camps that are really sties, they are put through legal processes that are a joke. They are not given any, any to process. They aren’t given any counsel. The law is confusing. The law is very complex. The ones that do get lawyers have a 20 times better chance of getting asylum in the United States and the rest are just booted out. They go to the Komodo audit. Susan describes cause they have no money and they have to get back to El Salvador and they have nothing to get there with. This is an abysmal situation, but these young, courageous young women are are walking around at some risk to themselves. Shining a light on what’s going on and I get to, you know, work with them every week or two talking to them and guiding them on what they’re doing, what they ought not to do.

David Tierney: 01:29:46 And that is an endeavor I’m doing this summer, which is great fun. It strikes me that this scenario you describe, given the desperation of the people that are coming, that a wall of any height is kind of irrelevant. Like the, those people will figure out, cause if they’re coming from a sufficiently bad scenario, they will figure out a way to get over under, around, through the wall that you put in front of them. So the solution, which I don’t propose to know what it is, it just seems like this can’t possibly be it. Everybody on the water. We recently saw a very, very courageous sheriff who’s in the county that borders the border coaches county in Arizona saying a wall is of no use. These people are desperate to get away from the circumstances in which they find themselves and their children and they will tunnel under, walk around, crawl through the slats, climb ladders over foyer.

David Tierney: 01:30:46 And they will do anything to get by that wall and there will be coyotes. People who find the holes in the wall were create them and lead groups of 50 or a hundred or 300. As I recently saw one group crossing the river and going through a hole in the wall place, they dug underneath the wall. We are going to have just, you know, thousands of these people in there piling up in camps. We, we have an Arizona now, several thousand people sitting in camps and the camps, you know, that there’s no recreation is minimal food. There’s minimal shelter. Chicken wires have cages. There’s a loon and blankets over of children and families. Total boredom, intense heat and, and they’re waiting. Used to be 280 days. It’s now 400 days to get to a hearing. That’s a joke. And it’s what we do with our people in jail.

David Tierney: 01:31:41 I mean, we just warehoused them until some day when we throw them on a dustheap. What, what, what does the solution potentially look like in your eyes? Boy, you know, this is above my pay grade. It’s such complicated political and economic game. To me it seems so obvious that instead of doing what Trump recently done, cutting the aide to the Golden Triangle, Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, instead of cutting the aid and making people have to react even more strongly to the abysmal economic circumstances into the gangs, which maximize the physical resources of the country for themselves and oppress like slaves. The rest of the people we need to be giving aid, not reducing it, giving it in order to turn around their economies. We should have been doing this in the last 50 years since the time we were in south and Central America. We should have been showering them with aid.

David Tierney: 01:32:36 They’re our hemisphere. They’re our neighbors. They’re people. We have a lot in common with not just climate, not just the economy, not just all the things that people in this continent share, but instead Trump is casually cutting off the aid as a whip and a goad instead of giving it to them as a carrot to attract a better treatment of their people. As long as we have, it’s like us, Moses, in the mental image that I’m going and I’m working with is you have a semipermeable membrane and very highly concentration on one side and a low concentration on the other side, but the answer isn’t to reduce the permeability of the membrane. It’s to fix the concentration on the side. That’s trying to flow through, right? You only increase the pressure and your analogy, if you build better membrane, you increase the pressure at exactly the same disparity in the same, but not all that.

David Tierney: 01:33:26 To take the analogy even further on our side of the membrane, there is a desperate need in Yuma. In large parts of California where they grow a is an orange is peaches. They can’t find workers clop. Certain crops are being plowed under at a great rate in Yuma, which would supply something like 45% of this country’s lettuce comes from Uma. They’ve had to plow under enormous fields of lettuce. There are no people to pick the crops. So when I was in Washington as a young law student in 1964 working one summer as a legal assistant in the Labor Department, I worked in the Bras sero program. I did two things at summer and one of my projects was in the procedural program where there was a legal system for short term entries. Six months or so at a time you’ve got a certain card, picture identification. You came into work on projects, you earn good money.

David Tierney: 01:34:25 You lived in camps that were controlled and regulated. So they were fair and good to work in. You had a time you were supposed to leave and if you left you could come back. And it was a regulated flow of labor. So it solved the economic part of the osmosis analogy. California was able to get its workers. Yuma got its workers. The people were able to earn money, they lived in decent circumstances. They went back and they were with their families for a time and then they, some of them came back at second or through 16th time. That system doesn’t exist now. Yeah. And as a consequence, we have this enormous illegal immigration and ex migration as well. Why was that scrapped, do you know? In 1987, after, quite often time after I was in Washington, Reagan as part of a republic of party Republican Party concentration then as it is today on this xenophobic thing about immigration to this country, Reagan trumpeted the fact that he was going to get rid of this bracero program.

David Tierney: 01:35:33 He was gonna stop having these people come here because some of them would escape and not go back. And this was just unacceptable. And he knew this because he had been governor of California, but it was very much a working system. It really was. And when I was in, and I, I been working in an area where we reviewed appellate work on the field of field office decisions about violations of the regulations as to camps, how many toilets and what kind of food kind of living conditions. And I did that for about three months in the summer in Washington, D C and it was a working system. It was direct. That’s part of the solution. That’s great part of the solution. Yup. The solution is not swords and knives and a wall and barbwire. The solution is rakes, hose, earth movers, crops, seeds, fertilizer, irrigation systems, tearing the wall down and just allowing people, like

Susan Tierney: 01:36:33 When, when we first came to Arizona and went down to the border in Nogales you just cross over and to this day you know, people do come and go across the border and no Gallus and it’s just a shame to see that you know, what 50 years has done to the relationship between the people in the Sonora side of the border and, and America,

David Tierney: 01:37:04 We’ve come kind of full circle circle here because back to what we saw in Columbia, people there who are migrating from Venezuela osmosis across that membrane and the reception that has given to them in Columbia and the attempts to accommodate them and make, make economic use of them, gives them hope. Yeah. That, that’s an example of it done right. Versus the way it’s being handled in the u s I was just gonna say there’s a movie called it’s kind of a wonky movie, but a day without a Mexican is the name of it. I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but it’s a it’s this kind of what if scenario, if all of a sudden if every Mexican in the u s were to disappear in a puff of purple smoke what would happen and how would things work? And it’s just a, it’s kind of wonky in the way they did it. But it’s a, I think it’s an interesting thought experiment shows what you’re talking about.

Sean Tierney: 01:37:56 Okay. So we are well over the one hour mark. So I am going to wrap this up. We have a section that I always do at the very end. It is called the breakdown. It’s are you ready for the breakdown? Absolutely. Okay.

Susan Tierney: 01:38:08 Break down baby.

Sean Tierney: 01:38:11 What is, I’m going to ask you, you guys each to this question then you can both answer. What is one book that has profoundly affected you?

David Tierney: 01:38:18 Wealth and democracy by John Phillips. It’s about an inch and a half thick paperback book I bought 15 years ago. And it’s a very dense scholarly work, tracing the economic rise of the classes in the United States and follows the generation of wealth after the revolutionary war. And then the transformation of this country from a country with very rich people and very poor people in all country with a real middle-class. And it traces the rise of the middle class and it’s survival of the, yeah, the 1840 a recession, the 1890 recession, a flurry of activity around the trust busting in 1910 the rise of uneven, different middle-class in 1920 the debacle of the recession and so forth, but it shows the profile of the country’s middle-class and how starting about 25 years ago, that middle-class is eroded. How wealth is moved to the top 5%, maybe 1% in huge amounts.

David Tierney: 01:39:31 How the top 1% on assets more than the lower 80% of the country. And I keep remembering Ben Franklins statement, gentlemen, we have a republic if we can keep it. And we’ve always kept the republic by having a fair distribution of economic resources. And what’s happened is that the Republican Party since Reagan 87 as eliminated or stamped out or reduce the middle-class, and it’s really put a strain on our republic and in this election at this time right now was immigration at one end of the spectrum in the loss of our middle-class at the other. These are the great issues of the time. And that book, John Phillips Wealth and democracy in America is as just a bellwether book. We had enough time to think,

Susan Tierney: 01:40:32 Oh, this is difficult. But I do a lot of reading of the Bible. So I’m gonna say that one of the books that I get the most inspiration out of is and that’s something I do also is I do proclaim the word in my church. So I’ve been exposed to reading the Bible, which was something that 70 years ago when I was little I was not allowed to read the Bible because they were afraid that we would interpret it wrong. But now I don’t know. I just, I take strength and, yeah.

David Tierney: 01:41:15 Okay. What about, what is one tool or hack that you use to save time? Money, headaches. It doesn’t have to be an app. It can be anything. Just what’s a time-saving or headache saving hack that you can share with people that might be useful. I never go to bed with having everything laid out in the morning for funeral over sleep and I have to kind of run through it. So you know, everything from my wallet and keys and so forth to the clothes I want to wear the next morning to the selection of shoes and I’m going to put on my feet, it’s all laid out so I can jump into my clothes in the morning and and so forth. And there’s a certain order of, you know, simplicity of a heaven that all laid out. So the next day is Kinda, you get a jumpstart on the day by doing that. That’s a hack I suppose. Yup. Mom, if you don’t have one, I’m going to say that the zip lock bags that you wash out and some dry on the clothesline, although I don’t think that saves time. I think that Sue’s moneymate but

Susan Tierney: 01:42:17 No, I actually think I’m pretty good at taking lists to the grocery store so I don’t have to walk in every day and shop. So keeping a list and that can work for bell. Actually it drives David crazy that I don’t write things down, but I tend to have memory in my head, whereas he has so much else in his head that he has to write things down. I remember when I first met him, he had a little book that was like a two by three and he wrote all his notes in that little book and he carried that for years and years and years. So that was the first computer, I guess for David. So list or no list? I, I missed the hack there. No, I go with the list. Okay. Okay.

David Tierney: 01:43:10 All right. What is one piece of music that speaks to you lately?

Susan Tierney: 01:43:15 Well being on the camp ground, I guess the sing me other night resonates right now. Those old hymns that we used to sing 35 years ago

David Tierney: 01:43:28 When you guys went for ice cream last night. And, and up to the restaurants and so forth. I happened to have the Yale Russian chorus on my phone, so I dialed up stuff I’ve listened to since 1962 or so, and I played the tunes from the Yale Russian chorus. They are great choral music,

David Tierney: 01:43:52 Israeli kind of mostly folk tunes and some religious tunes, but it’s a chorus of 35 Russian voices. Great stuff

Susan Tierney: 01:44:00 Actually. I enjoy listening to Shawn’s posting of his songs, his original songs that he plays on his guitar when he goes on to the, to the bars in place. Karaoke.

Sean Tierney: 01:44:19 All right, well I think you’re referring to the art project that I did recently, so maybe I’ll link to that. That has the paintings and the music in it. Okay. This is a tricky one. What important truth. Do Very few people agree with you on and for the people listening while they’re thinking that noise in the background is the Cicadas here on the vineyard, which are in full swing right now.

David Tierney: 01:44:43 Well I find it so easy to sit in a meeting and use my peace corps training and I have a hard time training the young lawyers, my office to just listen. And for me, I go to so many meetings, I’m in 12 different boards and commissions and, and I always, you know, sit for several minutes or maybe an hour just listening. And if you speak rarely you speak softly and you really thought out what you’re saying and you know, I know, you know, summarize well you can really make things happen when there’s been a cacophony of people jousting and struggling and so forth. And usually it’s just bedlam, you know, and people hacking all around and so forth. And for me, the truth here is silence is much more an effective tool or thoughtful pause and really listening is much more effective than doing all the blathering and seeking to be heard and pushing and shoving. And so that’s the reason that the other night when we were here, I didn’t listen to these debates that are going on. It’s a useless venture to listen to these 60 minute, 62nd responses to difficult questions and people speaking over each other. I mean, it’s just, it’s just bedlam. It’s, it’s useless.

Sean Tierney: 01:46:12 I listened to five minutes of them and then I think I told you my eyes just like kids fighting on a camper or in a playground, right? It’s a formulaic kind of, this is what I did. This is why I’m better. This is why they suck. And no one’s listening. Like to your point, no one’s listening to each other. They’re talking over each other. So there’s a fair amount of, there’s a fair amount of that and in every in every walk of life and every day there’s a fair amount of that bullshit going on.

David Tierney: 01:46:39 And it’s, it’s really astounding to me that people don’t seem to be able to learn them. The fact that they need to be able to listen some. Yeah.

David Tierney: 01:46:50 And it’s a, it’s a great striving in America to be speaking all the time to be heard all the time, to keep your mouth moving, to dominate the airwaves when the answer is most of the civilizations, many see a lot more value in silence and thoughtful pauses than, than ours does. So seek to understand before seeking to be understood. Maybe say advice.

Sean Tierney: 01:47:15 All right, last question. If you had a time machine to go back to your 20 year old self and tell yourself any piece of advice, maybe this is pre peace corps self, what advice would you give yourself?

Susan Tierney: 01:47:28 Don’t worry about offending people. If you have a belief and you know that your belief is valuable and just don’t be afraid to express your, your thoughts on, you know, topics that are controversial, especially if in a family.

Sean Tierney: 01:47:59 Cool, okay. That one piece of advice for your 20 year old self.

David Tierney: 01:48:03 Put a zipper on it or put a governor on it, meaning your mouth. And you know, when I was 20, I was much more brash and much more outspoken, much more assertive and so forth than I came to be later on. And it seems to me that learning to be able to listen is one of the greatest abilities and, and the one that may be the most important in life. I mean more than almost every other thing to listen to hear as opposed to just to reply is the most important social thing we can have. And I didn’t have it so much when I was young. This, I may have now. Okay, cool.

Sean Tierney: 01:48:45 All right. I think that’s a good place to wrap up. This was nearly two hours. This is the officially the longest interview I’ve ever done, but I think it was an important one. And a, I would just say close by saying thank you for being on the show and thank you more importantly for greeting me and Connor. So this show could even happen, I guess.

Susan Tierney: 01:49:04 Okay. Well, it’s our pleasure to be here with you, Sean, and we’re so proud of you and Connor, and we look forward to the next 50 years.

David Tierney: 01:49:15 Well, that goes without saying, but I’ll close with a, what we used to say. Here’s so much. When I was listening to TV and podcasts and that kind kinda thing, 50 and 60 years ago, goodnight Chet connect David, we’ll see ya!


Sean is host of Nomad Podcast, author of the Nomad Prep eCourse to help others successfully transition to the nomadic lifestyle. Sean is also founder of Problemattic, a global movement to mobilize knowledge workers for good. Read more from Sean on his personal blog or his business blog.

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Nomad Podcast is a series of conversations with nomads, founders and domain experts to help get more people unstuck through transitioning to a nomadic lifestyle. Add your email to get special access to private AMA sessions, pre-release products and other VIP shiz.