The first voice you hear on the recording is mine. “Here we are,” I say. My tone is cheerful, but a catch in my throat betrays how nervous I am.
Then, a little grandly, I pronounce my father’s name: “John James Vlahos.”
“Esquire,” a second voice on the recording chimes in, and this one word—delivered as a winking parody of lawyerly pomposity—immediately puts me more at ease. The speaker is my dad. We are sitting across from each other in my parents’ bedroom, him in a rose-colored armchair and me in a desk chair. It’s the same room where, decades ago, he calmly forgave me after I confessed that I’d driven the family station wagon through a garage door. Now it’s May 2016, he is 80 years old, and I am holding a digital audio recorder.
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