I was the new kid in a new town, getting ready to start the third grade.
We had moved into a rented house beyond the outer perimeter of Skiatook, Oklahoma. There were no other houses within sight, so there were no neighbors to visit, no new friends to meet, nothing to do except walk in circles.
School had not yet started. Our house – like most houses back then – had no air conditioning.
The Oklahoma air was too hot, too dusty to breathe.
That’s when Indy showed up and introduced himself.
He said, “What are you doing?”
“Walking in circles.”
“Can I do it with you?
I wasn’t surprised that Indy could talk, and I wasn’t surprised that he could walk into photographs and paintings and talk to the people in them. When he walked out of those images, he would tell me the most amazing stories.
Indy suggested I should become a writer.
The following summer, I was the new kid in another new town – Broken Arrow – but we had neighbors and a park and a house with air conditioning. Mrs. Fisher would read to the class for about 15 minutes each day while Indy slept beneath my desk. She read Charlotte’s Web and Way Down Cellar and then she told us to write a poem about anything we wanted.
I wrote a poem about a dog.
Everyone was impressed, even Mrs. Fisher.
Pennie and I were 19 and had been married about a year when I launched “Daybreak,” a daily, prerecorded message of encouragement you could hear if you knew the right telephone number to call. You couldn’t leave a message because it was an “announce-only” machine that Pennie and I leased from the telephone company for $50 a month. I never told anyone my name or how they might be able to contact me. “Daybreak” was just the voice of a stranger on the telephone, talking to you as though he knew you. I woke before dawn each day and spent a couple of hours writing and recording a new 2-minute message and then I went to work.
Fax machines had not yet been invented. The internet wasn’t even a fantasy.
“Daybreak” grew to the point where Pennie and I had to add a roll-over line and lease a second answering machine from the telephone company because too many people were getting a busy signal when they called.
One thousand different “Daybreak” messages were written and recorded in 1,000 days between 1977 and 1980.
“Daybreak” cost us about $130 month which is a lot of money when you make $3.35 an hour before taxes.
With 25% of our income going down those telephone lines each day, I got a second job monitoring an automated radio station in Tulsa once a week. I was given the shift that no one wanted. I went to work each Friday night at midnight and worked until 11AM on Saturday morning. Indy would always go with me to keep me company.
I had been there for more than a year when the General Manager walked in one Saturday morning about 9AM with a few notes scribbled on the back of a napkin about “Amir’s Persian Imports,” a local place that sold Persian rugs. He asked me to write an ad for them, so I wrote a 60-second story that took listeners into the sky on a magic carpet ride.
The ad performed well. Amir was impressed. My boss was impressed enough to offer me a full-time job.
Indy just smiled and winked at me.
Roy H. Williams