Being the youngest of 4 kids, I had a lot of advantages. It's like the quote from the movie Parenthood - "It's because he was our first... Every time he got a scratch, we were hysterical. By the third kid you know, you let them juggle knives."
While I didn't go around flinging cutlery in the air, I'm pretty sure I was afforded more freedom than my siblings. I had to have been the most expensive child to raise. I got to go to Europe when I was in high school. I was given my first two cars.
I was spoiled rotten.
It wasn't lost on me though. I appreciated everything my parents gave me. But the thing my brothers and sister gave me - spoiled me with - was music. Good music.
After they left home to get on with their lives, some albums stayed behind.
John gave me Johnny Cash. There was a time when I knew the lyrics to every song on the "prison albums."
Joyce gave me the Beatles. Lots and lots of Beatles.
Denny gave me Creedence Clearwater Revival. I thought John Fogerty had the best voice in the world.
There were others too - The Who, the Stones, Bob Dylan... but Johnny, the Beatles and CCR were my favorites.
The stereo was in our dining room, against a wall with big windows. I would sing and dance along with the music and in certain light, watch my reflection. In my head, I was a rock goddess. In reality, not so much.
When I wasn't making a fool of myself, I would sit and look at the album covers. Every square inch. I stared at the artwork and the photos, read who wrote the songs, found who played what instrument and where it was recorded. The one thing that makes me sad about CDs is the album artwork shrunk along with appreciation for it. What's worse, is that I've heard rumors that they will stop pressing CDs all together some day, and the covers will be gone for good. But people don't buy complete albums anymore. I'm guilty of it along with everyone else - picking a couple good songs on itunes and leaving the rest unheard. That saddens me too, because there are gems to be found deep in the grooves of an entire album. But I digress...
In 1973, I bought my first album with my own money.
It was a folded album jacket, and the lyrics were printed on pages inside with artwork and photos. I was in heaven! I stared at those pages for hours! That was the only album I literally wore out.
By the time I graduated college, I had crates and crates of albums. John and I remember that was the biggest thing we moved in and out of dorms and apartments - our stereo (the bigger the speakers, the better) and all our albums. When we move our kids from place to place in college, there is only an ipod. And we're still lugging the albums around! Boxes and boxes of them, moved from house to house. With this last move, I seriously considered getting rid of them. In the end, I couldn't do it. One of Jim's roommates has a turntable, so he took a couple boxes with him last fall. The rest are in the basement.
Maybe one day, we'll get a turntable again. I'll listen to the music, look at the covers, and take comfort in the old tunes, complete with the pops and scratches.