Intermediate Listening Practice

Remembering A Life - Transcript

A woman talks about her father's life at a memorial event.

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Good evening everybody. My name is Jessica Talbot and I am here to talk a little about my father, to share some memories. We have heard some great people speaking tonight on the tenth anniversary of his death: his agent, movie directors, film critics and many others worked in the movie business with him and recognized what a fantastic talent he was. My mother will be speaking shortly and I hope, between us, we can give you some flavor of what he was like not on the stage or in front of a camera, but as a father, a husband, a family man, because that is what we most remember about him. My father didn't win any Oscars for being a father, but for me it was his greatest achievement.

My first memory of my father, when I was no more than three or four years old, was when he took me out onto the Pacific in his beloved yacht. It is something that he would do quite often especially during the warmer months when his filming schedule allowed it. I was fascinated by two things that day: the huge size of the ocean, something I hadn't been aware of standing on a beach, and the second thing was my father's enormously hairy chest, which I could see through his unbuttoned navy shirt. I don't remember anything he said to me that day, but on future occasions on that boat, he used to tell me that the world was mine if I wanted it, that I could do anything I wanted to, he would tell me the only limit was the limit of my ambition. I have my father to thank for the belief that he gave me even from my youngest days.

My father would use that boat as a way of escaping the hectic world of Hollywood. He used to be so happy when we were out there, sometimes with my mother, sometimes just the two of us, sunlight coming off the waves and wind blowing our hair into our faces. When I think of our father happy and relaxed, I think of him under the big sails of the boat, not at home where he would too often be busy with reading scripts or taking phone calls. Out on the ocean, there was none of that. Even today, I feel closer to my father when I'm at sea, it's a strange feeling.

Another great love of my father, which very few people know about, was his painting. Next year, we hope we'll be able to publish a book of his best pictures. He had a real passion for the coastline north of Los Angeles and would happily sit on a sand dune for three or four hours trying to get the little tufts of grass just right. To me, it seemed frustrating but I know he used to enjoy that, it was his land boat. And he was very good at it, as he was with everything he tried, of course.

I remember once, I was maybe five or six years old, he told me "listen Jessica, we have to wait for the light". I couldn't understand that because it was light, it wasn't dark, and then suddenly the sun came from behind the clouds and my father smiled, that smile millions fell in love with up on the screen. I got to see that smile every day, he smiled it just for me. That was my dad.

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