I bought a cassette tape recorder before any of my children were born. I used it to record many events during the early years of the children's lives. The events are scattered on a couple of dozen tapes, mixed in with recordings of classical music, conversations, and other miscellaneous things. The tapes are a hodge-podge of sounds and have never been edited or organized.

I wanted to add some of the tape sounds to my web site. Such things as me playing the guitar and the children and I playing our violins. And I also remember that I got some interesting railroading sounds that would make a good web page. So I started to go through the tapes finding what I wanted.

I soon found that my daughter Moninna had used the tape recorder to record her play activities. She had made recordings of herself singing and recordings of play sessions with her Barbie dolls. This messed up what was already recorded on the tapes. Sometimes her recordings extended beyond what was already on the tape, with much free tape left.

I came across a session of Christmas Carols. Moninna was pretending that she had an orchestra to accompany her with the songs. She would say "Ready Orchestra? Play!" And then she would sing, and I would listen to the long ago play tape, entranced.

Suddenly she ended the song, and the sound from long ago stopped. All I can hear now is the soft hum of the empty section of tape. And the silence that fell at that moment still endures.