The Voice of my Dad

The Voice of My Dad

IMG_0040 (1)I wrote most of this a few years ago. It seems much more important now (because of events I describe in my postscripts below), but I’m glad he could read it and appreciate it while he was still alive. 

What is my father’s voice? What does it sound and feel like? What does it say? What difference does it make? I’ve written about how radio broadcasts would help me mute the sound of his voice as he and my mother argued and how, at a metaphorical level, my father’s desires and voice loomed as large in my childhood as Wilt Chamberlain loomed in the Philadelphia Warriors offense. But in fishing out the memories of those feelings, I’ve also snagged some other memories, other stories, and other feelings. They don’t all literally involve his voice, but the most important one does. Read more

At the Top of the Wheel

IMG_1823I just finished a lunch at the Oberlin Inn with Dr. George Korkos of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and his grandson Nick, a freshman on the Oberlin College football team.  I had a BLT and some coffee.   They both had French onion soup and a sandwich.  The first big snowfall of the year swirled wildly outside.  It is not a distinguished restaurant.  In fact, to be honest, it’s about the last place in town that I’d choose to eat.

We met at noon.  Tired from a week that included three round-trip commutes from Oberlin to my job in Ann Arbor, I had only just woken up an hour before to see the text from my friend, Oberlin football coach Jeff Ramsey, that Dr. Korkos wanted to meet me at noon.  I treasure my morning routine and was somewhat put out that this lunch was on my schedule.  But Jeff had gone out of his way to arrange this and so, much as I wanted to just stay warm in my pajamas and robe, enjoying my coffee and breakfast with my wife, I hustled to get dressed and shuffle out into the snow and wind.

You see, Dr. George Korkos, together with his friend Wesley Pavalon, raised the funds through an IPO to found the expansion Milwaukee Bucks in 1968.  The Bucks – I  have told the story more than once – figured enormously in my early childhood, stimulating and populating my imagination as I learned the game in my driveway, playing alone, against my siblings and father, or neighborhood friends. Read more

Between Jesus and Wilt Chamberlain: A Story of Fandom

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I saw Wilt Chamberlain in person one time, saw him play I mean. Probably a fair number of people my age who lived in Philadelphia or Los Angeles or even other NBA cities can say the same thing. But I didn’t grow up there. I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and, to this day, I’m the only person I know besides my Dad, who took me to the game, who ever saw Wilt play in person. Read more