Date: 5/15/19 9:17 am From: Don Simonson <don.r.simonson...> Subject: [MDBirding] Hacking the VOICE: Swan song for THE VOICE OF THE NATURALIST (long)
One more memory to add to the VOICEs of thanks to Steve Cordle and Lydia Schindler:
In the mid-1960's as a teenager, I remember running (literally) to the Audubon Bookshop after school on the day of the week that the weekly VOICE OF THE NATURALIST recording was made. I ran from Western High School (now Duke Ellington School for the Arts) at 35th and Reservoir Road NW, to the Audubon Bookshop at Wisconsin and Q St NW.
Once inside the bookstore, I would loiter, trying to eavesdrop on the transcriber (Claudia Wilds?) reading the hand-written list of sightings into the answering machine.
Of course I had no cell phones then. The 30-minute after-school city bus ride and walk home to reach my house so I could call the VOICE from home was unbearable. Even worse, by the time I got home, my mother, brother and sister were all in contention for that single landline. Phone time was rationed among us kids, I would try to beat my siblings home to get the phone first - impossible! Surely all the good birds from the week would be gone by the time I got a turn on the phone to call the VOICE.
One such "Voice" afternoon at the bookshop, I met another slightly younger lad at the Audubon bookshop, also ostensibly browsing! He was Byron Swift from St. Albans, he had also figure out this hack.
Soon my friend Jon Higman from Western HS joined us after school, and we three formed our own bird club: the Holy Order of Loggerhead Shrikes (we are all still active birders and friends 51 years later).
Ann Morton, the willowy blonde bookstore manager, was both amused and exasperated by these very polite but non-buying teenage boys taking up most of the tiny bookshop's sales floor, as well as by my (doubtless ill-concealed) schoolboy crush on her.
Ann resorted to allowing us into the tiny office to read the list ourselves, if we agreed not to come early and loiter. Once we had read the list, we would race out the door to see what we could find nearby in Montrose Park, Glover-Archbold Park, Battery Kemble Park, the Georgetown Reservoir or Rock Creek Park before dinner.