Listening, Learning to See, Finding a Voice

“When I was young enough to still spend a long time buttoning my shoes in the morning, I’d listen toward the hall:  Daddy upstairs was shaving in the bathroom and Mother downstairs was frying the bacon.  They would begin whistling back and forth to each other up and down the stairwell.  My father would whistle his phrase, my mother would try to whistle, the hum hers back.  It was their duet.  I drew my buttonhook in and out and listened to it—I knew it was “The Merry Widow.”  The difference was, their song almost floated with laughter:  how different from the record, which growled from the beginning, as if the Victrola were only slowly being wound up.  They kept it running between them, up and down the stairs where I was now just about ready to run clattering down and show them my shoes.”  

                   —One Writer’s Beginnings  Eudora Welty

 

 

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