The Record Collection

When my husband and I wed in 1971, we each brought a record collection to the marriage. Steve had actually minored in Music in college and boasted a far greater collection than I.

We didn’t have a stick of furniture between us, having both lived in furnished apartments before our marriage and spending our first year of wedded bliss in one, as well.

When we bought our first house, a small Cape Cod, we lugged the record collection into an empty living room and decided on our first furniture purchase. You guessed it, a stereo system. My husband didn’t want just any system, either. I was pretty much in shock when he carted in a Harman Kardon receiver and plopped two huge ESS speakers down into our thick shag.

Lack of furniture didn’t keep us from entertaining, however. We put up a card table and folding chairs in the living room, not too near the looming speakers, and kicked off our shoes, letting the music carry us away. It always fostered lots of lively discussion on artists, bands, and of course, the quality of stereo systems.

I had actually forgotten about those few few years with the ESS speakers until the other day when I decided to dust off the stack of record albums that has been tucked away in a corner for quite a while. Yes, they are vertically stacked, which is good, I’ve been told.

Many years ago, something went amiss with our turn table, and for some reason, we never got it fixed. The albums have been idle ever since, until, with dust cloth in hand, I took a close look at them and encountered an unexpected nostalgia. As I flipped through each album I remembered the many phases of my life. The album covers alone brought to mind my single years, my stay in Puerto Rico, the first time I met Steve, the early years of our marriage and our children. I found myself singing the lyrics as they easily came to mind. My husband has always been one who can name the singer or band of any song. I remember all the lyrics and the melodies. We do make a fine pair.

Today I counted the albums, 170. In that pile of memories I found the Rolling Stones, Jethro Tull, Cat Stevens, Isaac Hayes, Phil Ochs, Peter Paul and Mary, the Mamas and the Papas, the Association, Blood Sweat and Tears, Peter Frampton, the BeeGees and the Beatles. Of course I came upon Michael Jackson, Jerry Vale, Engelbert Humperdinck, Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole and many more. I even found the old Sinatra albums as well.

I was one who enjoyed my parents’ generation’s music and still do. I listen to the Seriously Sinatra channel on Sirius radio. I was recently “found out” while listening to that station in my car with our grandson. His comment was, “Grams, you really like peaceful music, don’t you?” He has such a nice way of suggesting that I might not be “with it”.

Reminiscing about these records makes me want to slide off their album covers and listen to those great songs once again. We no longer have the towering speakers or the shag carpet, but we still could enjoy a night with Leonard Cohen. This time we can sit on a couch.

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[…] Dean made a comment in the followup to her record collection piece that got me thinking about the legendary singers of our lives, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Ella […]

Larry Chapman

I suppose we all have had to deal with what to do with our record collections. I haven’t had a turn table for at least 25 years and I’m not too sure where my albums are hiding out. I had a great collection but when CDs came out I abandoned them. When I do occasionally reflect on my albums the one story that comes to mind was protecting my two young daughters from the sex, drugs, etc… found in so much of the 60s and 70s rock ‘n roll. Then one day I heard one of the girls singing the… Read more »