This weekend, I DJ’d homecoming dance. For high schools, all my new music is on a hard drive and I play it from the computer. When I do weddings or parties, I still bring some CDs. Recently, I have been going through boxes of CDs in hopes of putting what I don’t have on my hard drive, on the drive.
While most of my CDs are professional ones containing albums and music, I have some homemade CDs of things that I have burned to CD from various places I have worked. I found 2 CDs marked “B95 Stuff” and “More B95 Stuff” in a box and took them with me to listen to in the car. I was unsure if these CDs were data or audio CDs. When I popped them in the CD player, I was happy to find they contained audio clips.
Most of the audio was phone calls from listeners. I used to do an “impossible question” every day for prizes and there were many phoners of listeners guessing the answer. One of my favorite calls was on the first disc. A woman caller simply asked, “Yes, is the answer poop? Going poop!?” Like the word poop wasn’t enough … she had to explain “going poop”! There were also many requests, as I did a request lunch show.
I also found some interviews with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Tim Rushlow from Little Texas, and Terri Clark. Some of the phoners were just silly things, I used to have listeners say things like “Keith Allen? They let him out on parole?” or “I love every thing about this station, but Keith Allen!” or “Keith Allen? Turn that radio off!” There were a couple calls that took me by surprise.
The first one was hearing a call with my friend, Marie. If you read my previous blog, Marie was my friend who just passed away last week.
That blog is here: https://nostalgicitalian.com/2019/09/21/time-life-death-ripples/
There were actually 2 calls from her on that disc. One of them she wins a contest I was doing, and another she called to talk about watching Trace Adkins rear end when he was in concert. (There were other females who called to talk about his butt, as well.)
She was one of those friends who would do anything for you. When my oldest son was born, she had this beautiful blanket made with his name on it and also had a small photo album made with an engraved nameplate. When my youngest was born, she bought him one of my favorite outfits. I spoke with her just a few days before she passed and she was asking what we needed for the baby. She was always doing things for her friends. While it was nice to hear us joking around about Trace’s butt on the CD, it was sad to remember that she has just passed away. Her funeral is Wednesday.
The second call was one from my friend Pat. I always called her Pat, but I think most people called her Trish. I also met Pat while at B95. She was forever trying to win prizes. She always came up to our remote broadcasts and talked with us. She was a HUGE fan of the band Alabama. She used to call up and say that she was lead singer, Randy Owen’s wife. I used to kid her and ask is his wife knew about that! She and I had a lot in common, and became good friends. She was a huge Elvis fan and we often talked about him and his music. I remember how excited she was when she told me she was going to Graceland. I had been there while in Memphis for a St. Jude visit, and I told her how much she was going to love it.
The first time Pat won a prize from me she was SO excited. “I won?! OH MY GOD!! WE DID IT! WE WON!!! THIS IS AMAZING!!! (Laughter) I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!!” It was such a great response that I used to use that call as my “stunt winner”. If we ever had someone win a prize who was not excited about it, I’d say “Bring in the stunt winner” and play Pat’s call! The call on the CD was when she won some hockey tickets and she kept saying how much her boys were going to love it. She passed away suddenly in 2014, leaving behind her four boys and a granddaughter who she spoke of so often. She was such a wonderful person and we shared many laughs together.
The third call that got me was a call I made to my grandma. Phone calls from my grandma were a staple on the show. I used to call her every Christmas Eve (if I worked on the holiday) or the day before. Christmas Eve was ALWAYS at her house – I wrote a blog about it here:
The phone call would consist of me asking grandma what was for dinner. She would go on to talk about homemade ravioli, breaded steak and ammoglio (pronounced moy-gyoo) sauce, the many varieties of cookies, cakes, and cannoli, and the other items featured in the Christmas Eve Feast. This call, however, was NOT about Christmas Eve, which is what made it even more special.
This call actually helps me date the CDs. This call was made July 24, 2001. How do I know this? I was calling grandma to wish her Happy Birthday. During the call she offers up without hesitation that she is 77. She goes on to talk about how my dad was razzing her about something and then asks when I am coming over. She then went on to tell me how I needed to come see her “while my eyes are still open” because “I’m not going to be around much longer” as she often said.
It was emotional to hear her voice. She was sharp as a tack for so long. She was your stereotypical strong willed Italian woman. Knowing that shortly after that call, she would develop dementia was sad. She passed away in 2007, at age 83. Hearing her say “I love you” one more time on the phone – was priceless.
A Recovered Memory
I must have been doing a phone topic about teddy bears. There was probably a story about people sleeping with Teddy Bears or something, which led me to ask “Who still sleeps with a Teddy Bear?” or “Who still has their Teddy Bear from their childhood?”. The calls were about bears and toys that they had growing up. I don’t remember what the caller is talking about, but I respond about something I had growing up that I had totally forgotten about. This has a tie-in to my grandma, who I just mentioned.
It is funny how you can forget about things. I will forever remember a Teddy Bear that I had when I was little. I had it with me in the hospital when I had my tonsils out at 3 years old. The thing I had forgotten about is something I probably had around 5-7 years old. It was a hand puppet of Ernie from Sesame Street. Today, PBS has tons of kid shows. As I remember, Sesame Street, The Electric Company and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood were pretty much it on PBS. On CBC there was Mr. Dress-up and The Friendly Giant, but that was it. Sesame Street was my “go to” show. I think somewhere there is a picture of me with Ernie and Bert slippers!
What do I remember most about this Ernie puppet? First, the head was not felt like the real Muppet. It was a hard rubber/plastic. This helped when you went to make him talk. I guess I took him everywhere. I remember I’d bring him over to my grandma’s house and she would tease me. She’d put a lit cigarette in Ernie’s mouth and make him smoke. I hated that! “Ernie doesn’t smoke, grandma! That’s bad for you!” Grandma never said his name right. She always called him “Arnie”. I remember her telling me when I was older that when my brother and I stayed overnight there I used to make her kiss Ernie goodnight! “I had to kiss that dirty old Arnie!” I literally just chuckled out loud as I wrote that because I can hear her saying it!
I have CDs of my Honey Radio shows with my partner, Rob (https://nostalgicitalian.com/2018/04/26/get-a-load-of-this-guy/), which I listen to often. I still laugh along with them. He always made me laugh. While I am sad that he has passed away, I think he’d be happy to know that I still listen to those shows and they are still funny 25 years later!
I’m glad that I decided to pop those CDs in and give them a listen. Much like the CDs of Rob and me, these also made me chuckle, but also made me sad. At the same time, they are a reminder of good friends and family, who continue to make ripples (see previous blog) long after they have gone.