“We’d said we’d keep in touch. But touch is not something you can keep; We should have said we’d keep in words because they are all we can string between us.” – David Levithan, author
At the beginning of the lockdown, and after the initial realization that we were going to be in it for some time, it feels like we all took a big step back.
We purchased an abundance of toilet paper, canceled travel plans, purged our closets, and, for our social time, honed in on concepts like family and friend pods. Staying connected has become a survival strategy, when just 10 months ago, we were juggling play dates, piano lessons, concert tickets, after school activities, elder care, dating, and college tours.
As the streets cleared out and the businesses shuttered, we saw what remained was the essence of what makes this island special — supporting our neighbors and small businesses, rallying for unity and finding our voice.
For me, I found my unemployed and somewhat adrift voice again on the airwaves of Voice of Vashon radio with you all in my island-sized “pod.”
As recent as the 1950s, radio was the primary medium for everything from news to entertainment to sending and receiving messages from afar. At the height of its Golden Age, more than 80% of Americans were huddled nightly around the radio enjoying programs such as soap operas, sports and cooking shows. I have always felt inspired by the enormous power of radio and sharing stories over the airwaves and couldn’t wait to try my hand at production at our local station.
The producers and volunteers of VOV welcomed me into their community when, in 2019, I became the co-host of a show called “New Kids On The Rock”. Fellow newbie Adam Day and I pair long-time islanders with island newcomers to find out what it means to call Vashon “home.” This show was born out of a passion for connecting people from all walks of life in the spirit of interweaving our love of this place.
The pandemic’s call to our little island community to stay home and stay safe, while seeing incredible acts of kindness and generosity was the inspiration for adding my weekly contribution to the Morning Scramble lineup in a show called “Dear Vashon: Your Island Dedication Show.” A long-time fan of radio dedication shows like Casey Kasem’s “Long Distance Dedication” segment and “Delilah After Dark,” I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use radio and music as a connector between distanced neighbors, friends, businesses and colleagues on the island. And you delivered!
Since going on the air in April, I’ve been lucky enough to play songs from your weddings, road trips, flashbacks to simpler times and inspirational anthems for everyone listening. You’ve sent me your most heartfelt messages expressing love, gratitude and encouragement from neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend, and patron to the organization and I’ve been truly honored to read messages like these on the air:
- “Thank you to all the staff at the DOVE project who work to keep our island safe and support abuse and sexual assault survivors. You are heroes!”
- “We wish to sincerely thank the community of Vashon Island for their support of our restaurant during this Coronavirus outbreak. It is inspiring and beyond humbling. We are eternally grateful.”
- “To our local organic farmers, back porch, backyard, green-thumbed gardeners, VIGA movers & shakers, landscaping lovers of earth and soil who sustain us- I dedicate this song to you with gratitude.”
- “To Anjaela, my Thriftway pricing superhero!”
- “To Vashon Class of 2020: the most beautiful and resilient group of people I know. Hang in there, your time to change the world for the better.”
- “To my wife, I love you even on lock-down with teenagers.”
- “We can’t wait for the day we’ll be back creating fun music experiences for everyone. Big love to everyone on Vashon, be safe, be healthy and we’ll see you on the other side of this!”
At the end of each show, I always read this one very special message sent in that very first episode from local musician Dianne Krouse: “We’ve got this! Sending virtual hugs to everyone! Keep love in your hearts, a dance in your step, take care of your neighbors, be patient, be kind, make joyful music, share your gifts, and have faith that what remains from this experience will be golden.”
Add your message of love, encouragement, gratitude or celebration to the Dear Vashon show by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. And listen LIVE from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesdays, at voiceofvashon.org.
Tara Morgan moved to Vashon Island in December 2018 after 25 years in Seattle, rows at Vashon Rowing Club, recently launched vashonflyer.com gifts and apparel, and occasionally pulls coffee at the Burton Coffee Stand. Go Vashon!