Say It’s Your Birthday

The Mrs. and I are both growing increasingly conscious of just how long we’ve been together. Last weekend we realized it’s been, impossibly, 20 years since our first cat, Abby, came home with us from the Humane Society. Today there’s more evidence. When we met, I was 19 and she was 18. And today, she is celebrating a birthday. I won’t say which one, except that it’s a milestone.

I doubt that we would have met if it wasn’t for the radio. She read news on my show during her first semester in college. During the next semester, she made her debut as a jock. As new DJs frequently did, she debuted during an all-request weekend. I contrived to be in the studio that day in case she needed help, although she didn’t need too much. At one point, however, she fouled up a break, got out of it by giving the call letters, and then sighed in frustration and muttered something under her breath. I stepped up behind her . . . and flicked the mike switch off. I don’t think she ever forgot to turn it off again.

She liked being on the air, but never felt she was especially good at it. (I think the last DJ show she did was probably the year we got married.) The fulltime gigs she held in radio were in copywriting, traffic, and sales, but she hasn’t collected a radio paycheck in almost 25 years. That doesn’t mean she hasn’t been involved in the biz—she’s been my runner on remotes, she’s brought me countless sandwiches in countless studios, and she’s listened to me obsessing about various aspects of my radio career for almost as long as I’ve had one.

For the last 13 years or so, she’s worked in the health insurance industry, but for more years than that, it’s been her full-time paychecks (and the health insurance accompanying them) that have made possible my winding career path. And in every decision along that path, she’s offered invaluable counsel and support—frequently, she believes in me when I don’t believe in myself. When I went back to college as a full-time student, she went off to work so I could do it. When I bagged my lucrative corporate job to become a freelancer, she went off to work so I could do it. When she sees me screwing around with this blog or with one of my other non-paying enthusiasms, she never asks me whether I should be doing work that I will get paid for, although she must certainly wonder sometimes. So, in no small way, this blog owes its continued existence in part to her.

So, dear, happy birthday, and thanks. If you’re up for a few more years of this, I am too.

Here’s a band from Montello, Wisconsin, who were managed by longtime Madison DJ Jonathan Little; their biggest hit crept into the lower reaches of the top 40 in the summer of 1969. It reached Number Two on WLS in Chicago, and it was Number One in St. Charles, Missouri.

8 responses

  1. Please pass along my felicitations and regards to the Mrs. I know the story well. My wife and I met at work, too, and when broadcasting became a different enterprise, she left TV news for a steady and reliable gig at UW-Health. Her paycheck more than “floats the boat” here; she carries all the bennies and health insurance on her side; and, like you, when I doodle around with my blog or on Facebook or Twitter or some other non-revenue-generating diversion, instead of writing words for pay for clients, she never makes a face or says anything snotty. We’re lucky gentlemen to have such great partners.

  2. I add a hearty endorsement to the good wishes. And it’s always good to celebrate to the sound of the Underground Sunshine. (After all, for a good while, I thought their version was the original recording of the song!)

  3. Happy 20th birthday to the Mrs!

    [ mic off ]

  4. That made me smile. It really and truly did.

    Happy birthday to the Mrs.

  5. Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes. And @yah sure – I’ll admit to being at least 21, because they were serving me some pretty tasty beers this afternoon. ;)

  6. Happy birthday to the Mrs., and thanks for her role in keeping this blog alive.

  7. I’ll bet The Mrs. still gets carded. I know JB does not. Sounds like you had a great day!

  8. Christina Dodson | Reply

    Thank you for posting the 45 by The Underground Sunshine. I liked their version better than the one by The Beatles. I did not know that the song was #1 in Saint Charles, Missouri. There was only one radio station that was there. I think the call letters were KIRL. It was a rock station for a while and then it became a gospel station. I remember the traffic reports from Lou Cooley on that station although KXOX was my favorite station. I love your blog and read it all of the time.

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