Monday, June 20, 2011

On, In, and Around Mondays: Listening to the Past


"What is it?" my Eldest asked.

She was standing in a used bookstore, in front of a showcase of old music albums, touching one of the covers lightly. She liked the colors and the idea of whatever this thing was. An album. It felt strange, that she would not recognize what I grew up with. But I smiled.

Last night, at a friend's house, we noticed an old mahogany phonograph. No electronics. Plays hard vinyl and ceramic records. I remembered that day in the bookstore, and it was as if we were touching time-past again. This time, 1911.

"Can you play it?" we asked the owner.

He pulled it out, cranked it up, opened the doors in the base (that was the volume control), and played Carmen. My daughter and I stared and listened to an opera we love. The sound was faraway, oddly bright, yet oddly scratchy and muffled.

"See? The needle vibrates and sends the vibration to this disc, which sends the sound up the arm and down into the base of the casing," instructed one of the older friends among us. My daughter peered underneath, through the open doors, as if she would be able to see the sound.

I closed my eyes and listened, held back tears. "I don't know why this makes me want to cry," I said. "Something about the sounds."

"I want one," said my daughter. This, the girl who has no interest in IPods or Kindles.

In that moment, I wanted one too. And I could picture my daughter and I held close, just listening.


On, In and Around Mondays (which partly means you can post any day and still add a link) is an invitation to write from where you are. Tell us what is on, in, around (over, under, near, by...) you. Feel free to write any which way... compose a tight poem or just ramble for a few paragraphs. But we should feel a sense of place. Would you like to try? Write something 'in place' and add your link below.

If you could kindly link back here when you post, it will create a central meeting place. :)

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Blogger David Rupert said...

I spent all day saturday spinning discs. I love LPs!

9:40 AM  
Blogger Maureen said...

I made the mistake of getting rid of my old LPs the last time I moved. Someone somewhere has a great collection.

Have you seen "Midnight in Paris"? If you haven't do. This post could have come right out of it.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Sandra Heska King said...

My husband's mother gave us an old Victrola a few months after we got married. And we in our youthful ignorance sold it at a garage sale several months later. My MIL was not happy when she found out.

We still have several old albums, and I have some very thick records of my great-great grandfather playing the hammered dulcimer in Henry Ford's Orchestra--and no way to play them.

I'm not too happy with myself today, either.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Shaunie @ Up the Sunbeam said...

This reminds me of my grandpa's extensive collection of 78's and how much fun we've had over the years, listening to those old sounds!! Lovely post!

10:53 AM  
Blogger lynnmosher said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:01 PM  
Blogger lynnmosher said...

Ooo...those old sounds are wonderful, not perfect, just wonderful. This so reminds me of an episode on Everybody Loves Raymond.

Raymond supposedly ruined his dad's jazz LPs one Christmas years before, so for his dad's birthday, Raymond bought the CDs of the music. Dad wanted nothing to do with it. "That's not my music."

Robert had the same idea but he searched everywhere for the original LPs. Robert put them on the old player as Dad said, "Ahhh! Now that's music." Scratches and all.

Loved this post! As always!

1:02 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

You know I love it when you share moments like these. Makes me want a waltz...

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Ann Kroeker said...

My parents have an old Victrola. It's been made abundantly clear that my brother will inherit it one day, and that's fine. He was always more into music more than I.

If I'm lucky, maybe I'll inherit the Coca Cola clock.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Shanda said...

My 17 year old daughter is into all the old music and buying up LP's. They never grow old.

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Diana Trautwein said...

I think I would love your girl. Though I do have a Kindle, the ipod my kids gave me 4 years ago is used primarily for playing solitaire on long flights. But we did not keep our LPs, sad to say - and now CDs are out of fashion as well. Sigh.

And I'm with Maureen - see Midnight in Paris - right up this post's alley...

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anna said...

I like that your child doesn't care for ipods or kindles. There's too much beauty around us and rich life to be lived to be distracted by portable electronics...not to mention a stifling of creativity. Too many young minds are missing out on so much by overuse of these!

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Lyla Lindquist said...

Reminds me of the last time we visited my folks, listening to my dad, the old broadcasting engineer, playing LPs and explaining the inner workings of the player. He had my sit-still-for-no-man 14yo mesmerized for a good half hour.

My folks didn't have a lot of time to read to us when we were kids -- but they invested in records for us to listen to and read along. I miss the old things sometimes.

12:23 AM  

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