Away From Home

by Michelle Thompson from Coburg, ON

I want to preface this letter by saying that I have been meaning to
write it for a while. In fact, I’ve been thinking about writing it for
over a year now. This letter is a story about a family, not unlike the
one you read about every week on your show. This letter is about my family.

My name is Michelle Thompson, and I am 19 years old. I am going into my third year of studies in Engineering at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. My family lives on Rice Lake, about half an hour north of Cobourg, Ontario; about 2 hours away from the University. 

Both of my older sisters went to Queen’s and my brother, in the 11th grade, is sure to follow. Now 2 hours doesn’t seem like much, but I am so busy with school work and sports that I don’t get to visit home very much. I miss my parents, but there always seems to be something in the way. 

Stuart, you have to understand that we are a CBC family, through and through. In each of our cars, CBC Radio One is the first programmed station on our radios. In middle school, while other kids listened to the Top 40, I listened to As It Happens, and Quirks and Quarks. Every morning in high school that I had early band practice, my father would turn on Ontario Morning and I would find out what was going on in my province, and around the world. 

In the glove boxes of each of our cars, my father has meticulously placed those little paper pamphlets you get from the CBC building in Toronto. The ones that have every CBC radio station across Canada listed by town and subdivided into provinces; just in case we found our selves unexpectedly lost in the forests of British Columbia or the barren tundra of Nunavut, we would still have the CBC.

Last summer, I drove back with my father from a family vacation in Newfoundland, and I couldn’t tell you the route we took or the roads we traveled on, but I could almost guarantee that I know the sequence of radio tunings it took us to get home. But most of all, Stuart, our family loves the Vinyl Café. 

We go to church most Sundays a few minutes away from our home. After every service we would practically run to the car, garnering our share of strange looks from the Minister and the choir, just to be able to hear the start of your story about Dave and Morley. When we got home, we would often sit in the car with the radio going until there was a break in the story. My dad would run into the house, full speed, to turn on the radio in the kitchen, so as not to miss anything important. He would then walk down the hallway, turning on the radio in the living room and his bedroom, so that the entire first floor of our house was broadcasting the Vinyl Café loud and proud. My mother would start cooking lunch, and you could hear my father roaring with laughter pacing about his bedroom and undressing from his church clothes. My family has a special connection with the Vinyl Café. I think we all see a little bit of the characters, in ourselves.

When I moved to University, I lost touch with your show. I know you may be shocked to hear it, but CBC radio isn’t incredibly popular with the University crowd. I think its Vinyl Café’s timing more than anything, Stuart. You must remember that the typical University student is just entering REM sleep when your show airs on Sunday mornings. 

I started to miss your show, and the connection it brought to my family. I finally found one of the greatest inventions in human history; the Podcast. Now I can listen to the Vinyl Café in between calculus and physics, and even during, if the lectures are dry enough. I have subscribed online, and wait in excitement as every week, a new file awaits me. 

I have never told my parents I still listen intently. As a typical teenager, I don’t want to give them the satisfaction of knowing they have had any impact on my life.

I am working in Kingston this summer for one of my professors. I don’t get home as often as a like, and am not used to being apart from them for this long. I know this may all seem a little tedious to you, but I was wondering if you could tell them something on your show, when I know they will be listening. If you could tell them that I miss them and that even when it feels like a million years away, I love them, and I will be home soon.