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11/01/2008

His voice, I hear

When I read his stuff, I hear his voice in my head. Not mine. His. I have known his voice almost all my life. A voice of quiet, understated intelligence. A voice of the streets, yet educated and wise. A voice of tolerance and equality long before it became popular for a white man to accept the black man as his equal - as his friend.

Erudite. Urbane. At home with hookers and saints. Priest and rabbi. Presidents, mayors, steel workers and busman all knew him and called him friend. A common man with a voice heard beyond his size and stature.

His name was Studs Terkel. He died yesterday. A great American voice is silenced by old age and infirmity.

But when I read his stuff, I hear his voice in my head. Not mine.

Perhaps his voice isn't as silent, and silenced, as I thought.

Rest in peace, Studs. And when you meet God, be sure to give him that piece of your mind you've always made available to whomever it was in charge of things.

Hope Dies Last. Working. Go to your library and read them.

17 comments:

Shadow said...

life's as much about being touching people as about being touched...

maggie's mind said...

I hadn't heard of Studs Terkel, but I'll have to make a point of reading. Sounds like he's had an impact on you.

Casdok said...

A beautiful tribute.

Jientje said...

"Take it easy, but take it."

I love it when you make me google things.
That man has had a very interesting life.
A wonderful tribute, indeed.

moneythoughts said...

One of the last of a generation of great American writers. A man before there were polls and number crunchers. Where will men like Studs come from in the future? Nice tribute Lou.

Suzanne said...

In high school, my drama department did a production of "Working". It was my first introduction to the man-he was the real deal

Years later, I looked forward to hearing his essays on NPR. His gravelly voice fit the real situations that he painted with words.

RIP, Studs. You were one of a kind.

www.ayewonder.com said...

He was one of a kind and we were lucky to have him as long as we did.

Michael said...

Hey Ill have to check this Studs guy out, you obviously think very highly of him.
Yes my dad is out after his anema

Tara R. said...

I hadn't heard the news of his passing. That is truly sad.

"Take it easy, but take it."

Hyphen Mama said...

I'm off to google Studs.

Eric S. said...

The nice thing is you can still hear his voice, all you have to do is pick up his work. I guess I had better get some of his work too, I'll add him to my list.

Joyce-Anne said...

You wrote a nice tribute to Studs. I am unfamiliar with his work, I'm going to have to check it/him out.

redchair said...

Really nice tribute Lou. Hope never dies.
Vikki

LceeL said...

Shadow: He touched many, many lives.

Maggies mind: More than just me.

Casdok: Thank you, ma'am.

Jientje: One of his many, many sayings.

Moneythoughts: Never another, I fear.

Suzanne: I loved listening to him on the radio.

Eric S: He is one author that belongs on everyone's list.

Joyce-Anne: You'll be amazed.



Ayewonder: Exactly, mike.

Michael: Glad to hear your dad is out.

Tara R: He is a Major Personality around here. Not so much elsewhere.

Hyphen Mama: As a man of words, he would love that.

Redchair: I agree. Hope never dies. But that's not what he named his book.

Loraine said...

Studs was a great visionary, and his death is a great loss to everyone. Thankfully his work was extensive and hopefully people will appreciate his efforts.

Momisodes said...

I was not familiar with his work, but went to Google him just now. What a poignant tribute to Studs Terkel. I will surely have to add him to my list.

Cat said...

I will find him and read him. Someone who has left such an impression - is still here right?