By John Clise
I remember riding around with my mama and my sister listening to this on 8 track in mama’s ’77 Pontiac Ventura.
We would sing and laugh. It was one of the greatest times I remember with my ma. We didn’t hardly have a pot to piss in, but we had this 8 track… and it was fantastic. We were so happy listening to this. It just suspended all of our problems for a little while.
Ma was the first person to recognize my musical gift in being able to pick out hits before they were hits, and to recognize songs in general from just a few notes. When I got my first job as a radio DJ, she gushed over her son the DJ. She proudly told complete strangers when and what call letters to tune into to listen to her son.
When she died in 2011, I was tasked with clearing out her house. I found a few boxes simply marked “John.” She had every story I had ever written in my entire career saved.
There were editorial comments she added like “some of John’s best work here.” She had stories from publications I didn’t even remember writing. She had stories from papers that had been shared through news sourcing from all over the USA and beyond.
I found cassettes of old radio shows she and I presume my dad had recorded from years before. I mean 20 years before. She always tuned into my sports show on WHAW in the mid-2000s. Her answer to how I sounded was always “You sound wonderful, my son.”
Because my dad always chased the money, my mom and pop always encouraged me to follow my dreams and my passion. Whatever it was. So, I did. I never made much of any money. But, fuck it. I’ve covered three presidential campaigns, interviewed countless governors, senators, congressman, and Vice President Mike Pence just to name a few.I wouldn’t take $50 million over telling the story of Franz Anthoefer or anyone else who didn’t have a voice or an avenue to tell their story.
Telling the stories of people like Franz who didn’t have an avenue to tell their story is far greater than any amount of money I could ever have in my life. I would happily live in my car with my cat Felix rather than just take a pass on telling the true stories people have to tell.
You can’t go wrong with following your heart. Don’t be afraid. The journey is amazing. May all of your stories always be true, and may whatever deity you believe in always love you and hold you in a merciful hand.
Wings – 1978 – Wings Greatest – YouTube Give it a listen. Listen to the entire album.