Baltimore Sun and WYPR Give Catonsville Woman the Best Christmas Present Ever

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Margaret Ann Wolf Harris, via NPR
Margaret Ann Wolf Harris, via NPR

Margaret Ann Wolf Harris, 71 of Catonsville, had no memory of her father’s voice. That’s because she was just 17 months old when Sgt. Cody Wolf, serving in World War II, was shot down over Germany and died.

Fast-forward to 2013. Baltimore Sun research librarian Paul McCardell came across a forgotten pair of vinyl records containing an hour-long Christmas radio broadcast from 1943 in which men in the military and women in the Red Cross recorded holiday messages for their friends and families in the Mid-Atlantic.

McCardell arranged to have the recording rebroadcast on WYPR’s “Midday with Dan Rodricks” just in time for Christmas. That’s when Harris heard a voice come through her radio that was at once strange and familiar, that of a turret gunner expressing longing for Catonsville and his parents, wife, and “my 16-month-old daughter Margaret Ann.”

Harris told the Sun she was happy she was by herself when at 71, she was suddenly once again her father’s “Margaret Ann.”

“It’s something I always knew, but to hear the voice — so wonderful,” she said. “And my grandchildren heard the voice and my daughters, and they all heard my father speak, which was a terrific Christmas present for our whole family.

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  1. Tears streaming as I write! I heard this broadcast and wondered about the family members who might be hearing it. Thank you for sharing such a stirring experience Margaret Ann! I can’t help but think of that song we’ve heard so much these last few weeks “I’ll be Home for Christmas” – is it too sentimental to say that your dad was finally able to be home? Not at all!

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