Friday, September 30, 2011

The Turntable

By Gerry Wendel, Groovy Reflections Founder and Team Member

Proudly, it sat on a shelf in a closet, in silence much of the time. But oh, when it was in use, magical musical noises that came out of that record player! First and forefront were the surfing sounds and tales of T-birds from the Beach Boys and Dick Dale. Sometimes, LPs, but more often than not, 7 inch platters. 45’s were stacked high in several piles directly to the right. Speakers standing on either side. While designed to be portable, the trio of parts were never snapped together and remained stationary.

My two brothers shared a bedroom. It had two closets; one added to the room later across the backside, while the deep, original closet was converted into a workroom / music room consisting of a long sturdy shelf running along the left side plus two stools. Plenty of room to build model cars and listening to groovy tunes while doing so.

Being the curious little sister I was not allowed to touch anything there. That stern rule applied from a little event that happened when I was in elementary school. I asked my oldest brother if I could borrow two records and for show and tell day at school. He gave me “Bristol Stomp” by the Dovells and Allan Sherman’s “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah.” Both were unprotected, and sleeveless. I promptly stuffed them in a brown lunch bag though they didn’t quite fit. Good enough.

The records were played at school, but that’s not relevant to our story. At lunch time, I had the 45’s back in the safety of the brown bag. While talking to my friends, getting excited over the conversation, I began slapping the bag against my knee.

Arriving home that afternoon I took the 45’s out of the bag. Both were cracked. That was the end of my touching the record collection until sometime later…

…red spots all over my body prompted my parents to have Dr. Ross make a house call. I remember staying in bed in my brother’s room because the curtains there would keep it dark. My brothers were booted out of their domain; one got the couch, the other got my room.

Both brothers felt sorry for me. I was granted special permission to play records to cheer me up and received a lesson on how to properly operate the sound machine. This was very exciting! The next day, I spent considerable time going through the stacks of 45’s; many of them were unfamiliar to me.

Finally, I selected one and played it. The sweet vocals swayed me and the thought of the places I could go was spurred on by the melody and vocals. For three minutes, I soared.

I only played one record that day and left it on the turntable. My brothers came home from school. Both noticed the 45 I had left there and laughed and laughed at me. My spirits were crushed from their ridicule and I never played another record on that turntable again.

Soon after, I got my first turntable and started my own collection; so hey, who needed theirs?

To this day I wonder; if that 45 was in their collection, what did they find so funny about it? Was it given to them and not something they would have chosen? I’ve never asked; doubt either of them would even remember this incident. So to this day, every time I hear “Up Up And Away” by the Fifth Dimension, I still ponder. And yes, I recovered from the rash. My parents feared I had the measles. I didn’t.