Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Blast from My Past

Storyline:  A photograph can trigger a sentiment that can take you right back to that moment. 

In 1969, our stereo resided in the living room on the wall under the stairs.  It was 4' x 3½', shaped like a rectangle, and stood about 3 feet from the ground.  It was lifted off the floor by four 3 inch wooden legs.  The stereo cabinet was completely wood.  It was maple-wood, except for where the speakers were enclosed.

The speakers sat in the front panel on the right and left side of the cabinet.  There was brown and tan netted material covering them.  Looking down at the right side where the turntable sat was a wooden panel and if you slid it to the left the cabinet would open.  You had to reach down into the cabinet to play an album on the turntable.

Next to the stereo was a shelf with about 100 vinyl records.  There were a few 45's but most of the records were 33 albums.  The 45's had these colorful plastic inserts that you would place in the center of the record so that it could play on the turntable.  Those inserts were in a blue art deco bowl that sat on the shelf near the records.  Each album rested in a cardboard sleeve with photographs or art on the front of the album cover.

My parents listened to all types of music but their favorite genre was jazz.  There were albums from Cannonball Adderly to Lester Young.  Each person in the house had a favorite album that was worn down from repeat playing.  My favorite album was the Jackson 5's ABC.  It had scratches on the vinyl that would cause it to skip or repeat a note when played.  The album cover had secretly disappeared to my bedroom under the mattress because I often daydreamed over their photos.

The stereo was played often in our home but never on Sundays.  It was a source of regular entertainment that became a tradition at family functions.  Each album had its spotlight.  Some albums lasted for the duration of the hit and others were classic repeat defenders.  The chronic repeaters were Nate King Cole, Nancy Wilson, anything Motown, and the Fifth Dimension.  Anytime I hear one of those songs today, it takes me right back to the past.

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