Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Music Room

This morning as I was driving my twins to middle school, "Good Vibrations" was playing on the oldies station.  The kids often get quizzed on their musical knowledge when riding in the vehicle with mom.  And I asked, "Do you know who this is?"

"No." (Along with eye rolls and maybe a twinge of irritation in the voice.)

"What?!" And then I decided to give them some help.  "Their initials are B.B."


"You don't know who this is? Come on."  ( I am singing along.)

Still nothing.

"It's the Beach Boys. Have you heard of the Beach Boys?"

At least I got a "yes" from that last question. But I realized that on some level of parenting, I have failed.

Driving home alone afterwards, I thought about my love of the Beach Boys when I was young. We had a "music room" in our house. Eventually this became my own bedroom, but up until I was twelve it was reserved for music...and business. Dad's desk was in there.  But, you know, music and my dad have always went together. This was a good combination.

The room housed dad's desk and file cabinets...but also the piano and a massive entertainment center that covered the south wall. It had everything you could want--record and 8-track players, a radio, huge speakers, and an amazing collection of tape and vinyl.

How many hours did I spend as a child flipping through those record covers and selecting songs? How many hours did my parents spend doing the same? It seems there was always music floating through the house.

Of course, back then we couldn't just select a playlist and walk away to enjoy hours of music in the background of our day. Listening to music was intentional and time-consuming.

Select the record (I can still visualize many of those old album covers.), wait for the previous song to finish, carefully lift the needle, stop the turntable, remove the old record, put the record carefully back in its album sleeve, carefully remove the new record from its sleeve, place it on the turntable, select the appropriate speed for the record, find the track for the song you wish to hear, carefully lower the needle onto the blank groove prior to the song, and wait with anticipation through the snap and pop of vinyl background noise. While listening...start hunting for the next tune you want to hear in the vast collection of albums.

Hours and hours of pleasure! I was so certain that I would be a singer one day.

So, I had my own little collection of 45 singles and full-length albums...including the Beach Boys as well as Jan and Dean. (I was thrilled in college when I got to see Jan and Dean live at Worlds of Fun!)

The music room eventually became my bedroom while the music collection moved out to the living room area. But my room was still always full of music because my parents had instilled that love of song deep within me.

Albums gave way to cassettes. Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee, and Elvis gave way to Prince and Bruce who gave way to a multitude of hair bands.

And (too soon) I left my sweet little music room which had been such a huge and special part of my childhood.

But often in my mind I find myself back in our home at 109 Adams with the music loud and another vinyl record in my hands waiting for the song to finish.