Thursday, October 20, 2005

Remembering Records

While I was at Mom and Dad's last weekend, I slipped up to the attic. Christmas decorations lay on a makeshift plywood floor, along with boxes of childhood momentos. The dusty smell of wood, antiques and memories filled the small, triangular room, and the single 75 watt bulb lit the path to the particular box I had in mind. The records.

No CD, cassette or IPOD can hold a candle to the complete absorption of needle on vinyl. If you are of this generation, you can remember well the sound when it first made contact; the initial pause that flowed into a burst of song or gentle beginning to a favorite story. I will never forget lying on the floor, completely mesmerized, truly listening. For a record, you see, was interactive. It required your full attention; first as its audience, then as a participant in its continuation. It was a two-sided tale of Peter Pan swooping down upon Wendy, the mellow sounds of Richard Chamberlain, the blast from Herb Albert's Brass, and Snow White's sweet voice from the wishing well.

The album covers were a glimpse of what lay inside and the imagination was a powerful and vivid thing. Once in awhile the jacket would open up to reveal drawings or pictures that accompanied the tales. My favorite were the gifts from Walt Disney. Each cover was draped in a brilliant colored curtain; the cinema boxed up and brought home to our living room. An oval window edged in silver - the Magic Mirror - gave us a view into the enchantment of technicolor. Inside were pages filled with lovely illustrations that led us through Disney's journey and though no characters moved before us in 3D images, they marched across slick white pages and danced in our minds.

It is a time of innocence forever lost in today's technology and that saddens me somewhat. The antique of today was once a marvelous window that opened my world to enchantment and wonder. It was a time in my life when everything was possible. Good ruled over evil. Friends never left your side. There was beauty around every corner, a valuable lesson to be learned and at the end, a handsome prince awaited (even if you were foolish or slept for a hundred years).

I remember records. And sitting up in that attic, I realized how lucky I had been to be part of an era when things were simpler, and everyone lived "happily ever after."


Rebecca said...

Some of my favorite albums as a small child were "Sesame Street" with "Who are the People in your Neigborhood"...and Alice in Wonderland. I love albums. I still have all mine from when I was a child - and the 45s I'm sure are valueable as well. But despite their monetary value - it's their sentimental value that I'll always treasure, and therefore - never let them go. :)

srp said...

I think I loved my little 78's to death; those brightly colored children's hymn songs in red, yellow, green and blue colors. "Deep and Wide", "Zaccheus Was A Wee Little Man", "Stop: And Let Me Tell You", and "Climb, Climb Up Sunshine Mountain" where some of my favorites. My little box record player is long gone now too.

For me it was always about the record, for Nyssa's childhood it was the tapes, and for kids today it's CD's and iTunes. Can't beat those records, though.

Michael said...

I cherished my sesame street album and was jammin to Rubber Duckie when in a overexcited hand motion ( I was wearing my hr. puffenstuff puppet on my hand) I bumped the record player and ruined my album!

Fourtunatly years of therapy have eased the pain! :-)