Column: Missing words and voices | Columnists


I miss voices on vacation, family voices. I miss the voice of my German grandfather, heavily accented and still heavily invested in his native Bavaria. Bavaria is in the south of Germany, but the Bavarians don’t call themselves German. In 1985 his voice fell silent.

And there is my mother’s soft, calm alto voice, which has not been around for 31 years. I wish I had a recording of her voice, but unfortunately I don’t. I would know her voice if I heard it, but I haven’t conjured it up in a long time.

I don’t miss my father’s voice because his voice is my voice, somewhere between tenor and baritone, unmistakable, but not the voice of a newscaster or an actor. In fact, we have a recording of my father’s voice from the 1950s. My brother has a wax CD with famous radio and television personality Dave Garroway, who interviewed my father about jazz on WMAQ radio before switching to “The Today Show” on television.

And most of all, I miss the voice of my wife, my best friend since 1967, who died last Christmas Eve. Her voice was extraordinarily sensible and thoughtful. I have videos of her so I could hear her again, but I’m not ready yet.

I used to worry that my Type A personality is making a lot of decisions that it maybe should have made. Not correct. She was so good at making me believe I was someone smart, someone in charge. That’s a talent. I’m so happy to know now because she was so much brighter than me, she knew what was best for us. Me? I’m an idiot.

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