Monday, February 21, 2011

the sounds that take one back to Utica, KS

Since Aaron is in radio, voices and sounds play a major role in his life (and my default, mine as well). It's not uncommon experience for us to be out and about and someone either comments to Aaron that he should be in radio or ask him why his voice is so familiar. If you want to get a great listen to how sexy he can be, listen in on him while he's reading at mass with St. Isodore's. It's amazing. Truly, amazing. I have to look away, because I'm giggling like a school girl. On one of our early dates in the relationship, someone poked their head across the aisle at Valentino's and told Aaron he should be in radio. He didn't have the heart to tell her that he actually is, in radio. This has got me thinking about the voices and sounds we hear and the memories that correlate when we do. The passing of my maternal grandfather has really brought this topic to the front of my thoughts.

When Mom and Dad would trek us out to Grandma and Grandpa Landwehr's house in the country between Arnold and Utica, Kansas, I remember the mornings so vividly. They didn't get shit for radio service out there, except for an AM station out of McCook, Nebraska. You know that transmitter sound that AM radio makes that reminds you more of a UFO than modern broadcasting? This station was horrible. I mean, their farm was two miles south, I'm sure they wouldn't get the service for it. Grandpa would get up early, God only knows how early, and sit at the head of the table listening to the radio (fuzz, if you want to be specific). The station had a birthday contest daily. They'd pull three random letters and want people to call in if they had those initals; they were always odd like "ZVW" or "QTZ". Grandpa would repeat the initials for everyone at the breakfast table and ask if anyone had those initials. Seriously, Grandpa? We're all family. I'm pretty sure our last names either begin with "L" or "B". But, it didn't matter. He'd always ask and we'd always say "Nope! Not this time!" The older I got, the more annoyed I'd get. I mean, come ON! When you're little, you don't usually put two and two together. They had linoleum throughout their whole house, which was AWESOME with all the sticker plants out there, anyways. They had these two yap dogs, Freckles and Tip. I can hear their toenails tapping on the floor as if they were out there as if it were yesterday.

Oh, lord and their TV set up is one for stories. They had two TVs, right next to each other. Grant it, I'm not one to poke fun at people and their TVs, as my parents have their huge flat screen right on TOP of their old school Zenith TV. Anyways, they had two TVs and the satellite dish in their backyard could have started off the Cold War, if they pointed it right (thing was freaking huge). You could not touch their remotes, because they had it so rigged and set that even they probably couldn't figure it out. Somehow, they did. And their hearing may not be considered the best. Going to bed at Grandpa and Grandma Landwehr's sucked. I didn't take Ambien at age 10, so the blaring loud sound would keep us up for hours in the sewing room, where Mel and I would sleep. We'd complain to Mom and she'd just say to try and ignore it. Yeah, Mom. I'll ignore it just as soon as I ignore a sonic jet from blasting.

I won't continue down western Kansas memory lane, for the sake of your boredom.

Just take a moment to remember those memories with grandparents and the sounds that will always take you back to 10 years old and matching polyester sets and red beer. I'll always blame you for that addiction, Grandpa. The bars in Manhattan say "Thank you"