The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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My mom has always had an amazing career and so I got to hear the story about how it all started!

“Good morning, Wood Chop Shop Swap Shop,” she would answer to the callers on the radio hoping to sell their treasures on the small-town north country station.  The Wood Chop Shop, a family owned business outside of Potsdam, NY where the population and the average temperature were about the same on most days (single digits) proudly sponsored the highest rated program on WPDM.  It was an unfortunate choice of sponsorship for Lynn, all of 14 years who struggled to spit those words out every Saturday morning as she hosted the show.  

Lynn’s Saturdays began around 5:30am before the plows were out to clear the roads as she’d make her routine call to the local police station to find out about the happenings the night before and what she might report on that day.  She spun records (they actually did it that way back then), delivered the farm report, aired the “Country Crossroads” program and recorded copy for promos that would play later that week in her spare time. 

It was arguably what launched her career in broadcast and entertainment, but the memory she holds closest to her heart about that time was that of her father.  Lynn felt close to her dad, he was her biggest fan.  He supported her in everything as noted by the countless number of skating competitions, dance recitals, basketball games and plays he attended.  But the radio station held a special bond for the two of them.  It was something they did together in the early, dark hours of the north country.  Lynn’s dad diligently drove her to and from the station every Saturday (which worked out since she was too young to drive!)  He would drop her off and sit in the parking lot of the small station set back just off the road, the only car in the lot.  He would read the paper and wait in the car, listening to the radio while Lynn turned the lights on, powered up the transmitters, and put the first record of the day on the turntable, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” 

Uncertain in her technical skills Lynn always questioned whether the programming was actually going anywhere outside of the four walls of the station – a quick thumbs up from her proud papa in the car meant he could hear it, we were on the air and all was well.  There is something about the security of knowing she was not in it alone, that she had the unconditional support of someone she loved dearly that gave her the confidence needed to launch her career.  But more importantly, it gave her the understanding of what her dad had given her in his small and steady gestures, how critical that was in her life and how she would strive to do the same for her children.

The Wood Chop Swap Shop Start

Mailman bruce next to a mailbox

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