Grandma’s Voice

Ian Kath, of asked me if I had any of Grandma’s voice on tape.

I wish I’d recorded her more often. I do have a video interview done sometime around 1987, when I sat down and looked at her books with her. And one evening, she showed us some of her old slides. My brother in law Michael shot the images on the screen as she talk about who was on them. And we also have a feature done by CBC TV in Windsor just a few years before she died. So, yes, we have some of her voice to listen to. But looking back, I wish I’d talked to her on tape more often.

I took a look at the videotape recently where I looked through one of her books with her. It was so quintessentially Grandma. There are a lot of family stories and details that she hadn’t written down.

Best of all, I got to hear her voice again. In between waves of sadness because watching her made me miss her, I also had a few good laughs. My grandmother was a a great fact gathered — she would have been a good journalist. And she sure knew the difference between fact and speculation.

I love speculation, imagining and trying to figure out people’s motives. Not Grandma. Several times when I asked her a question like “why did (my) Great Grandma and Grandpa Wallace turn Baptist, anyway?”, she answered “Now how am I supposed to know that?” She repeated that comment several times during the recording, laughing every time she said it. She really like saying things which were just slightly outrageous and opinionated.

The funniest story was when I asked her where she and my grandfather went on their first date. After saying “oh, I don’t remember”, she then said “oh, probably back to the bush”. When she got a bit more serious, she reflected “we didn’t really decide .. we just knew”. They took a road trip to Toronto to get married because there was a minister who they liked who was now living there. That was November 10, 1926. The minister was Rev. William McConnell. Grandpa was United Church, Grandma was Presbyterian.

As I listen to these precious recordings, I am reminded of what a gift it is to be able to see and hear her again. The wonderful thing is that a good quality sound recorder and/or videocamera is accessible to just about everybody now.

The time to talk to our loved ones about their lives is now. They won’t be here forever. Seize the day.


Posted on February 6, 2012, in Wallace Family. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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