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Sunday, July 08, 2007

A MESSAGE FROM KATHY

On Friday, I was heading out to a field assignment and I needed a fresh cassette for my hand-held recorder. I reached up into a closet where I keep blanks, and grabbed one with the cellophane already removed. It looked as though it had been played for 15 or 20 seconds, but there was no label on it. I popped it in to make sure it wasn't some unlabeled interview tape. I heard a dial tone, and then I heard the sound of a number being dialed, and then I heard ringing on the other end, and then I heard Kathy's voice.

"Test, test, test. Mark's probably having lunch. Test, test, test."

Then I heard my outgoing office message: "You've reached Mark Voger ..." etc., etc. "... please leave a message."

Then Kathy again: "Hello, darling. I'm testing your machine right now. I might have it going. Still try to get that piece. We should have a backup here. I don't know how long this is going to last, or if it's even working. Please call me. Love."

BEEEEEP.

Her voice was so crystal clear, I could have almost talked back to her. This surprise tapped into a problem I've been having: I'm afraid of forgetting her, of forgetting what she sounded like or what she looked like. After all, time is marching on. In 10 days, it'll be 22 months.

On the assignment later that day, I found myself interviewing an actor while we both sat on a stage on which, a few years earlier, Kathy had posed another actor for a photo shoot. The following evening, I reviewed a show in a venue that, two years ago this month, was Kathy's final professional field assignment. The "habituation" moments are still flying, fast and furious.

Even the content of Kathy's message is such a reminder of how much that girl supported me in my work. (She was testing a telephone tape recorder at home, because I do so many telephone interviews that I burn through recorders every few years.) I believe she became a freelance photographer in order to spend more time with her workaholic husband. I remember her once telling me, when I was obsessing about work, that on my deathbed, I would regret the time I spent working instead of being with her.

I already do.

2 Comments:

Anonymous gail jeanne mcgillicuddy said...

Wow - what a nice bittersweet suprise that was for you - finding that tape.

I always thought of you and Kathy like Ricky and Lucy Ricardo- when you'd go to your rock "shows" to write up stories and she'd take the pix. She wanted to be in the "show" just like Lucy. And she was!

And yes, she was extremely supportive of everythng you did, as you were of her as well. And the work you both did really shined because of the support you gave each other.

You were quite a team.

1:08 AM, July 11, 2007  
Blogger Mark Voger said...

All I can say is thank you.

9:32 PM, July 15, 2007  

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