Elena’s Voice

Pictures of Elena fill me me with memories, but the sound of her voice touches me to the core. It evokes deep sense memories of her sitting close enough that she could rest her foot against my leg just to know I was still there. It brings back the feel of her in my lap as we read a story or watch a baseball game.

If you’d like, I’m ready to share a bit of Elena’s voice with you.

I decided to enter the Public Radio Talent Quest contest. This was a public contest to pick three shows that would audition for a public radio show. We were supposed to introduce ourselves in a piece that could not run more than two minutes. We were to demonstrate our hostiness.

And so I thought about my background in radio and where it had started. I have always found radio to be magic. More magic than television. My first appearance on radio was when I was six. I read the weather and original poetry about dinosaurs on a show hosted on the local college radio station by the son of my first grade teacher.

When she was six, Elena had recorded an ad for Mrs. Eagleton. She wasn’t in Mrs. Eagleton’s class yet but she knew she would be.

Every year the second grade runs the Boulevard candy company. The kids sell stock in the company to raise money for the raw ingredients. They then take orders from the other classes so they know how much of each item is needed. Then they melt chocolate down and mold it into suckers and other shapes. They collect the money for the orders and fulfill the orders and pay dividends on the stock.

Elena came up to my office one day and recorded a commercial for the Boulevard Candy company. I love the raw take that she did but I also edited it into a thirty second commercial.

It is the last recording I have of her before she died.

I decided to lead off my piece with her voice. My piece was about me and radio, but it was also about parenting. My daughter was on it and my parents were on it. People who voted on the entry didn’t know that Elena had died shortly after the recording. I didn’t want to get sympathy votes. I didn’t move on to the next round but I was voted in the top one hundred of the fourteen hundred entries.

You can listen to it at http://www.publicradioquest.com/node/502

It is called “With a push from Elena.”

Note: I have dated this entry April 28, 2007 because that was the day I submitted the entry. I have waited to post this link until after the contest was over.

Published in: on April 28, 2007 at 7:59 am  Comments (11)  

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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Precious girl. Sounds and smells, always take me right back.

    Good to see you online again.

  2. Daniel,

    I am so very happy to see you updating this blog again. You’re experience, as horrible as it is, has helped me be a better dad.

    I don’t know you, or any of your family, yet I think of you and your family often.

    I want to thank you for this blog, and your fabulous essay’s on daily life both with and without Elena.

    My largest thanks however, are reserved for you letting us come into your life, via The Public Radio contest.

    I am not the greatest writer, I tend to be long-winded and ‘explain’ myself more than is necessary. I think that is more due to my propensity to not want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

    Having said that, I always wanted to be able to get a little ‘closer’ to you. Maybe its because I have two children of my own, 4 & 6 yrs. old, and what happened to you and Kim with Elena scares the heck out of me?

    Maybe its because in some way, I wish I could hug you, and bring Elena back for you, and take away all your suffering?

    You are obviously a very sweet, loving man, father and husband. The challenges you have faced have been severe. Yet through it all, you share everything with us.

    I know that you write this blog mainly for ‘selfish’ reasons, to help yourself and your family cope, and more importantly heal.

    Yet, I want you to know, you have helped many of the readers of this blog be better parents themselves. ‘Selfishly’ for myself, I have learned so much about love and family, and what my children REALLY mean to me.

    That is a lesson I will never forget. I thank you for that. Much love from my family to yours! Thanks again Daniel,
    Steven, from Massachusetts.

  3. Go back to radio, Daniel. It seems to be your haven, that which you keep returning to, even when all the rest is coming apart. “People you’ve never met, but people you’ve come to know.” You were talking about radio, but I think this blog shows how integral this philosophy is to your whole life. Covering the CONs even fits this role.
    The warmth of your voice, the intimacy of the words and stories, the comfort you can project for people who are complete strangers, and yet somehow friends. It also shows that it works both ways- you to us, and us to you. You need to communicate, like most others need to eat. And you’re good at it.
    Go to your comfort place- go back to radio.
    And let us know where we can hear you. I’d like to keep listening. It’s sort of gone beyond just Elena now, although she will forever be a part of it. Now I just want to know how my friend is doing. You’re just a friend I’ve never met.

  4. I’m so glad you’re back. I missed your writing, and I missed stories of Elena. Hearing her voice moved me so much. Thank you.

  5. I don’t know what to say- I was totally taken aback hearing Elena’s voice for the first time in over 20 months. I miss that sweet girl every day.

  6. I don’t know what to say buddy!


  7. Thank you Daniel. The vivacity of her voice reminds me so much of my own daughter. Reading your experience has changed my perspective as a parent. I’m sure it’s slight consolation, but by sharing Elena with us you have changed the way we relate to our children. It’s a precious gift.

  8. Well, I guess this will be short because it is late and I cannot think. I’ve been having trouble sleeping as I’m sure you can understand. It’s quite odd that I found this site, I wasn’t looking for it. My son passed away on Nov. 21st. It was unexpected, as it appears was in your case, although, honestly, I’ve only read a few of the posts. It seems that it’s been a long time since you’ve updated this. Anyway, I went to my wife’s blog, and someone had posted condolences anonymously saying that he found her site through twitter. He left a link to here thinking that maybe reading this would help. After reading a few links I realized that you live somewhere just down the road. I’m in South Euclid. Small world, I suppose. Anyway, if you’d be open to it, I think talking to you might help. I don’t want to talk to any psychiatrist or social work, they mean well, but, well, what can they really know about this. I’m not asking you to be a psychiatrist or social worker either. Hell, tomorrow I may have changed my mind. But right now I feel like reaching out. So, if you see this and are so inclined, drop me an email…. Well, I guess I’ll go and find something else to occupy my time until I become exhausted enough to fall asleep.

  9. Daniel:

    I have been reading your entries since you began. Today was the first time that I heard Elena’s voice on the radio. The piece was beautiful. You have such a gift in your ability to express how you feel with us all. Hearing your family on the radio was also very moving.

  10. Daniel, I’ve been visiting this blog since last week since I stumbled across it and couldn’t resist coming here again and again. I share your joy! Simple peace to you & your family.

  11. Hi Daniel,

    I just came accross your blog and I must say that it is q truly remarkable “homage” to your little girl. All my love to you and your family.

    By the way, I thought I would let you know about the origin and meaning of mine and your little girl’s name. Elena comes from the Greek helenis and has two recognized meanings: born during sunrise and shining light.

    Elena has become a very popular name in many languages with variations such as Helen, Ellen, Elaine, Eileen, Alena, Olena, Yelena, Lena, Helene….

    I hope you get to publish your book. Thank you for a truly wonderful blog and once again all my love to you and your family

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