Scott Wall: I was single and feeling very lonely on New Year’s Eve. I was actually wandering the streets of Manhattan and I ended up in the Paris Café. There was this ravishingly beautiful woman wearing a beautiful dress, and I introduced myself. But I was very surprised when you asked me for my ID.
ISW: Because I had been told that Manhattan is so big and scary, and I wanted to make sure that your name matched up and your birth date, and all those details. [laughs]
SW: I thought it was very cute. And I said that I would like to see you in a day or two.
ISW: And then I called you and you took me to the airport.
SW: I had a little Walkman at the time, a beaten-up Walkman. I commuted great distances into Manhattan, so I had time to make these tapes, like recorded letters.
SW VOICE ON ARCHIVAL AUDIO: Scott here…
SW: And I would interview the brakemen on the subway.
SW ARCHIVAL AUDIO: I’m making a tape that I’m sending to a friend in California.
ISW: I remember at one point you had somebody play a song for me.
ARCHIVAL AUDIO: [Music]
SW: You know, when I was making these tapes for you I just felt like you were this little angel on my shoulder wherever I was going.
To Isabel SW: So I was like trying to show you everything I could.
ISW: Yeah, you even took it to the dentist once when you were having dental work.
ARCHIVAL AUDIO: Oh, that tooth is getting uglier.
ISW: You talked on one side of the tapes and you said, “The other side is blank so that you can respond.”
SW: Do you remember when you were recording while you were visiting your family?
ARCHIVAL AUDIO: Como está? Como está?
ISW: Oh yeah, that was with Mom and I was telling them how excited I was about you and so I asked them to say something.
ARCHIVAL AUDIO: Hi Scott, how you doing?
SW: I realized you were really making an effort to share your world with me. It just really was a nice thing for me to hear.
ISW: I kept the tapes in a red box with a red ribbon.
SW: I kept yours in a off-site storage area so that if ever there was an earthquake or a fire in the house I would have them protected—
ISW: Oh dear.
SW: In a concrete bunker—
SW: Well looking back over the 20 years we’ve been together does anything surprise you about our relationship?
ISW: That we can still look forward seeing each other and having our love. That’s a surprise to me, that’s like a gift because that says a lot.
ARCHIVAL AUDIO OF ISW VOICE: Wishing you well, darlin’. This is San Francisco, signing off.