“Silence is also speech.”

Today is far warmer than I expected. It’s a sit in the sun day because tomorrow will be colder, back down to the daytime 40’s, to our usual February weather. This morning there was some fog. I couldn’t see more than an outline of my neighbor’s house. After I got the paper and yesterday’s mail from across the street, I stayed outside a while just to take in the warmth, the fog and the songs of birds.

The aroma of wood smoke is one of my favorite smells. The guy in the house on the next corner has been burning wood in a rusty metal barrel. At first I though a house fire then I saw him putting more wood in the barrel. He’s the same neighbor who thought Gracie was a wolf when she jumped the six-foot fence into his yard to go after his dog. I’m thinking he doesn’t have a permit to burn wood. but I don’t care one way or the other. Β I like the wood smoke. It is one of my strongest memories of Ghana where wood charcoal is used for cooking every meal.

I had a portable cassette recorder in Ghana. The tapes stuck all the time because of the humidity so mostly they had to be rewound by hand using a Bic pen. I didn’t have a huge number of tapes, but I had my favorites including PP&M, CSN, Simon and Garfunkel, and Joni Mitchell. I think I played music every night. The adaptor had a red Christmas light size bulb attached so I could play without a converter. I could plug the cord directly into the wall. My friends Bill and Peg and I got together every night. We had dinner outside in their small courtyard. After their one-year-old went to bed, we played games. Password was our only actual comes in a box game, and we played it over and over and never got bored. We had the cards memorized through repetition so we sometimes changed the game. There were contests like the winner is the one who finishes the whole card first. That kept life into the game and kept us occupied.

I lived alone for the first time in Ghana. It was quite an adjustment getting used to being alone in a place so different, so far from home. My PC friends weren’t close to me geographically. (They were a letter away, no phones back then). I was teaching for the first time and not teaching well. My students didn’t understand my English. I was frustrated and lonely but determined. It took time. I did my best and so did they. Finally, we understood each other, and I was teaching, really teaching. I loved going to town and the market. I filled my days with teaching and my nights with music and books.

After my first year, Bill and Peg moved to my school, and we lived in a duplex. I loved having them near, being with them, and I also loved my quiet times, my alone times. We gave them to each other.

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6 Comments on ““Silence is also speech.””

  1. Bob Says:

    I had a portable cassette recorder that used ‘C’ size batteries or an AC plug. I think it weighed a couple of pounds and when connected to a microphone I could interview sports figures and then send the audio back to the radio station through a cord with two alligator clips that attached to the microphone on the phone handset. I removed the plastic mouthpiece and the actual microphone unit which sat on two prongs that I attached the clips. Primitive but it worked.

    BTW every major league press box had a photo lab where the photo guys would go to develop their 35mm black&white film, print the images and send them to the newspapers via wire photo machines. Wirephoto was a spinning device that converted the printed images into electronic signals that could be reproduced at the newspaper. I think all photo journalists offer thanks daily to Eastman Kodak who invented the digital image sensor. Kodak sold the image sensor rights to companies like Sony because they were afraid digital photography would hurt their film business. What a monumental stupid business decision. Kodak’s not developing digital photography as a product put them out of business. Who in the 1970s would ever think Eastman would go out of business.

    When Sony came out with the first Walkman I bought one to listen to music. The Walkman was the analog version of the iPod. It was just slightly larger than the cassette itself and ran on a couple of ‘AAA’ batteries through the first pair of earbud head sets I ever saw. I not only listened to classical music but Simon and Garfunckle, CSN and Joni Mitchell. I didn’t buy the cassettes but recorded them on blank tapes from my albums on my home stereo cassette recorder.

    Today is gorgeous with clear skies and highs in the 60s.

    Maybe Trump will outlaw digital photography and digital recordings to bring back jobs to Rochester NY….:-)

    • katry Says:

      Mine didn’t have a microphone, but it recorded through the speaker. I have a cassette I made of my students singing tribal songs.

      I wouldn’t have believed that Eastman Kodak would ever go out of business. After all, the world takes pictures. That they never embraced digital was definitely the worst decision.

      I had a Walkman as well. I love the portability of music. I also had a portable CD player. Now I do have an iPod. I keep changing to keep up with everything new.

      Beautiful here too.


      • Bob Says:

        I bought the external microphone to get better audio quality in a crowded environment such as in the clubhouse or on the field during batting practice.

        The really sad part is that Eastman invented the digital camera. Near the end Eastman produced X-ray film, but even now that’s digital. Remember waiting in the dentist chair while the X-rays were developed. Now they appear instantly on the dentist’s computer.

        Unfortunately, my iPod was stolen from my car when I forgot to lock the door. I know listen on my iPad or in my car via a USB thumb drive.

      • katry Says:

        None of us had microphones. I guess we just didn’t think about it. We brought players for cassettes, the newest stuff. We were listeners, not recorders. I did use my little player to record students. I wish I had had a movie camera.

  2. olof1 Says:

    We’re having April weather here, one day cold and sunny and the next one warmish and rainy. Today, Sunday, is said to be warmish with fog and perhaps rain. I might be tired of cloudy weather but I won’t complain since uit is so much warmer than it should be πŸ™‚

    I had those casette recorderes too and have fond memories of them but I always had that Bic pen close πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I remember that it was the minutes tapes that were the worst with getting stuck in the recorder and the sound always were a bit wobbly after it once had stuck in the machine πŸ™‚

    Have a great day!


    • katry Says:

      I thought it would be colder than it is. They said on the weather that winter was returning after we had such warm days. Boston set a new record of 75˚ the other day.

      Our weather too is crazy but rain is not part of the picture this week. It was around last week but not since then.

      We rewound the tapes many times with the Bic especially during the rain season which was so humid. We got good at it so they still worked. Banging them on the table helped the tape’s spacing.

      Enjoy your day!!

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