On Monday night, somebody very important to me passed away. His name was Tom Magliozzi, and he was co-host of the radio show Car Talk, along with his brother Ray.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Tommy, but he was a weekly guest in my family’s home growing up. My childhood I guess was a time when listening to the radio was a dying fad (or maybe that happened even before I was born). But as a child of the early ’90s there was nothing so looked forward to in my week as the banter that went on between Tommy and Ray. I of course knew nothing whatsoever about cars (I was six years old), but this show instilled a life-long interest in all things automotively related. I didn’t even understand half of the jokes that were made on the show, but the laughter of these two brothers can be described as nothing short of infectious.
Today I am a young woman of 23, owner of my first car, and have more than once thought about tuning back into the show, and maybe even calling in with a question. Sadly I didn’t even know that the show was cancelled two years ago (I haven’t listened to it in probably 3 years).
Right now there’s nothing I’d like more than to tune in the radio to Car Talk, sit around outside on a sunny day, and laugh along to the jokes that I would much more likely understand today. I have so many memories of my dad plugging in an extension cord so we could bring the stereo out into the side yard of our little house in the middle of Nowhere, NY. He would turn it on and tune it in, we kids would play in the trees or flip our bikes upside down and figure out how the speed gear changers worked. My dad would do yard work or wash the car, or do just about anything to keep himself outside. Perhaps a great part of the joy of Car Talk for me at that age was that my dad also has a boisterous, rolling, and insanely infectious laugh.
To be honest, Tommy and Ray got me through some tough times. My youthful life had its share of ups and downs, and then some more. But Tommy and Ray gave me something to look forward to. They gave me laughs when I had no others. They gave my family a sense of unity as we all quieted down and listened up. I wish I could ‘squander another good hour listening to Car Talk.’
So thank you, Tommy. Thank you so much. I am in your debt, and in my thoughts, and you are missed. By millions, I’m sure. But also by a little girl in the ’90s and by a young woman today.
PS: when I was a kid I really thought they had a Russian chauffeur named Pikov Andropov. I also taunted my older brother with a cheerful “don’t drive like my brother” at the end of each and every show. So on the same day that I changed my very first tire, Rest in Peace, Tommy.