Magnolias are the best. The absolute best. (Click to up-rez.)
Magnolias are the best. The absolute best. (Click to up-rez.)
Brosnan wedding clip
Play Gerber/Brosnan clip

Settling into a Starbucks last week after back-to-back movies (the documentary Bully and the serio-comedy Jeff, Who Lives at Home) at Atlanta’s Midtown Arts Cinema, I was very pleasantly surprised to find waiting for me an email from a man named Denny Gerber, one of my father’s childhood friends, Carmel H.S. Class of ’54.

He said that he’d recently uncovered an audio tape that he’d made goofing around with my father and another classmate when they were 18. Holy Mother of God, I thought. That would make it … let’s see … 58 years old … ferrous particles miraculously still magnetized … and the only known recording of my father’s voice at any age.

Denny Gerber wanted to know if I’d be interested in hearing the recording, provided he could figure out how to digitize it. Yes, I said, I would. Hell yes.

A few days later it arrived (mp3 embedded at right).

Gerber had been inspired by the recording to google his old friend, which is how he’d found me and how he’d found the blog post I wrote about my father in 2009. It had touched him, he said. He was forwarding a link to it to other members of the class.

A few days after than, a man named Warren Masten used my contact form to send me this: Your father… my good friend.  Your uncle Danny, another jewel. Your grandfather, Tom, one of my guardian angels who carried me through difficult times back in the early 1940’s.

And that was all.

My Uncle Danny I can well imagine being a jewel. He was forever smiling. (And might be to this day. I don’t know.) But my grandfather a guardian angel? That wasn’t the picture my father had painted of him. Nor is the picture that Denny Gerber paints of my father how I remember the man who raised me.

But memories fade, I know. They morph.

And people change.

I’ll say this, though … the voice is my father’s, faithfully reproduced. As am I. In part, anyway. For better or worse.

Also embedded here is the only known video record of my parents, Tom & Corinna, discovered by me after my mother’s death. Their wedding reception in Sumter, SC. 1958. No sound.