Father's Day – The sound of my dad's voice

Another Father’s Day has arrived.  The second since my dad passed on.

I’ve given a lot of thought about how to honor the day on my blog.  It seems that I’ve told just about every possible story and shared countless pictures of him in the past two years.  If you’ve been a regular reader of my blog, you probably know him pretty well.  

But the one thing I hadn’t included was his voice.

You see, one of the wonderful things about being born when I was born is the advent of so much great technology.  Generations of people lost family members over the years, and subsequently lost the ability to hear their voices or even see their faces again.  As time went on, we had photographs, then home movies, and then even audio recordings.  

When I was born, my parents purchased a portable cassette recorder made by Realistic, the house brand at the time for Radio Shack.  It probably about 10 lbs. heavy and needed an external microphone to record. 

Shortly after we were born, they tried to catch our first words on the recorder; then as we grew up, my mom or my dad would set up the tape recorder and sit with us and have us recite our names, our address, our phone number, and then have us count or say the alphabet, and then sing some songs.

It is on these tapes where I can hear myself counting to ten at the bright young age of two.

It is on these tapes where one can witness my budding interest in music – singing songs like “Top of the World” by the Carpenters and “It’s Such A Good Feeling” from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood with confidence and pretty darn good tonality.  

But it’s also on these tapes where I am reminded of how loving and nurturing my parents were.  

Toward the end of my Dad’s life he became a very bitter and angry person.  These tapes bring me back to the Dad I really knew and remember the most.  They show how proud he was of me when I counted to 10 at almost 2 years old, then counted to 30 at the age of 4.  How he laughed when I said something silly (which was fairly often, especially when I was 4), but was stern when I wouldn’t give my sister her turn at the microphone, telling me that it’s only fair that she have her turn.  

Over the years, some of the tapes had broken, and some of our memories were lost forever.  But fortunately, most of them still survive to this day.  I took them into my possession a few years go and decided to digitally record them on my computer, preserving them forever.  I then burned them onto CDs for me, my mom and my sister.  

So on this Father’s Day, I want to share with you some of my memories.  You don’t have to listen to them if you don’t want to (they’re pretty long – about 20 minutes each), but if you do, you’ll have some sort of idea of what kind of a dad my Dad was.  He was a pretty great guy.  

Thank goodness I can still hear his voice today. 

Me with my Dad and Mom, November 20, 1972

After dinner, Mom and Dad ask me what I want for dessert, then ask me some questions, which I repeat back to them- sometimes repeatedly.  I also explain the contents of my Dad’s wallet, which has forever been a source of comedy and good memories for my family. (For years my nickname was “Wallet” because I always wanted to see my dad’s wallet and look at his credit cards.  Obviously a shopper was born.)  I also count to 10 – at 1 year and 11 months old. 

Me, my sister and my Dad, various dates, approx. 1974 and 1975

This tape has my sister and I sharing the microphone as best we can at various ages.  It seems like my sister is older and more talkative in some spots and younger and less talkative in others. I think my dad recorded over some stuff at some points, too – he was never much good at figuring out the tape recorder – but throughout he is there, coaching us to say things and sing songs. Toward the end, there is a segment with my Mom where she “interviews” us.  I was a pretty silly kid at this point.  To this day I still don’t know what “I am very it” and  “Everybody likes it to be here” mean.

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0 thoughts on “Father's Day – The sound of my dad's voice

  1. Rick, Something of a treasure to have your Father’s voice to play when you need to hear it. My father passed away when I was 24 years old due to a neuromuscular disease. The movie, Field of Dreams, always brings him home to me because my dad was so athletic and loved sports.

    Our fathers are such a part of us.

  2. Rick, Something of a treasure to have your Father’s voice to play when you need to hear it. My father passed away when I was 24 years old due to a neuromuscular disease. The movie, Field of Dreams, always brings him home to me because my dad was so athletic and loved sports.

    Our fathers are such a part of us.

  3. Rick,
    WOW! What a wonderful way to honor your dad!! Just spent my first Father’s Day without mine. I tried very hard to think about my dad…but already the memories have faded. He didn’t like pictures so, those are few. I SO wish I could have a recording of his voice. He told the BEST stories…many times over…and I never got tired of them. I also wish I had a recording of him singing…a BEAUTIFL baritone. But, he never sang when others were around…only when he thought we were gone. I used to hide in my room some days hoping to hear him sing old Tennessee Ernie Ford. I miss him so much!!

    But again…thank you for sharing your father with all of us!! You’re a lucky man to have those recordings!

  4. Rick,
    WOW! What a wonderful way to honor your dad!! Just spent my first Father’s Day without mine. I tried very hard to think about my dad…but already the memories have faded. He didn’t like pictures so, those are few. I SO wish I could have a recording of his voice. He told the BEST stories…many times over…and I never got tired of them. I also wish I had a recording of him singing…a BEAUTIFL baritone. But, he never sang when others were around…only when he thought we were gone. I used to hide in my room some days hoping to hear him sing old Tennessee Ernie Ford. I miss him so much!!

    But again…thank you for sharing your father with all of us!! You’re a lucky man to have those recordings!

  5. Wow. It’s great you have those. My father just passed about 3 weeks ago and this first father’s day without him was difficult. I used to do the same thing – drag the tape recorder wherever I went. Those tapes must be somewhere.

    Glad to hear you still have them. So classic.

  6. Wow. It’s great you have those. My father just passed about 3 weeks ago and this first father’s day without him was difficult. I used to do the same thing – drag the tape recorder wherever I went. Those tapes must be somewhere.

    Glad to hear you still have them. So classic.

  7. We really should all be thankful to live in a generation of technology.thanks for that, makes me realize how much i should treasure my father while he's still alive and that my addiction to photos isn't in vain after all:)

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