Today's reel is for anyone who enjoyed the tapes I shared, featuring audio letters from an army doctor in the Korean, shortly after the end of the war, to his wife back home, and who wondered whatever happened to that man after he left Korea, and after his career was over. Those audio letters were featured over the last three years, and can be found here, here and here.
It may also be of interest to anyone who wants a look at how one might have documented a road trip halfway across the country, in days long before such things were easily transmitted online, in real time.
Specifically, here is that same army doctor (fully identified in the tape, but I'll just call him Bill, as he always identified himself on the Korea tapes), 13 years after the tapes I previously shared, taking a road trip with his wife, Mary, in the spring of 1967, from their small home township of Mount Holly, New Jersey to the tiny burg of Gorman, Texas, where they were going to visit their newborn great-granddaughter.
As mentioned, the full name of these people can be made out multiple times, as can the names of several family members and in-laws. Those interested in finding out who they were, and more about them, can probably succeed in doing so. I'd be interested in hearing those results,
Oddly, for a man who was able to fill tape after tape of (usually interesting) minutia from his life in Korea, Bill's narration here, recorded on each night of their trip, after their arrival in a hotel, is quite brief - he's downright taciturn. Typically, he turns the recording over to his wife Mary, who fills in a few details, but rarely all that much, either, aside from the weather, details of the town they stopped in, and what they ate. It takes all of 13 minutes to get through the nightly recordings between New Jersey and Texas.
Once there, for what is said to be a planned few days, there are several segments recorded (totalling 18 minutes) with a variety of relatives and in-laws, At one point, Bill turns to the microphone over to one of the in-laws, and instead of hearing that person speak, there is a lengthy gap, and suddenly it's more than a week has gone by, and Bill briefly mentions a family tragedy that led to that gap. Later, there is a perhaps overly long recording of the baby crying fairly harshly and loudly. Then it's time to be heading back home.
The trip back home is covered in more detail (23 minutes) than the trip to Texas had been. This leads off with far more detail regarding why Mary's stay in Texas lasted several days longer than planned, and where Bill was all that time.
With the possible exception of the first night's recording from the trip home, it's pretty clear to me that Bill and Mary took notes, and actually recorded much (if not all) of this narration late in the trip home, if not after they arrived home. There's little difference in the sound quality from segment to segment, and at one point, Bill accidentally states that he's signing off from a town in Indiana - except that they've been claiming to be in Missouri for the entire segment, and if he'd really been taping that night, he'd have had no idea that bad weather would be keeping them from getting beyond Indiana the following day.
Bill's narration remains brief, and Mary sounds like she's reading directly from notes, ones which are missing words - she occasionally speaks in incomplete sentences, particularly skipping over articles (i.e. "drove along highway"). She does, however, have a lot more details to share here, and her story of going to an over-the-road oasis on a toll road, and thinking that their car had been stolen afterwards is pretty funny. There's a real homespun feel to much of what she describes here, especially some visits to see relatives on the road home.
And again, at the end, without a break, we suddenly learn that her final narration was being recorded several weeks later, making me wonder if the whole thing was done after-the-fact.
I hope you've enjoy this little road trip from 47 1/2 years ago. I wonder if Bill and Mary ever imagined that, in the 21st century, strangers from all over the world would have the ability to listen to their audio road trip.
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