Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bringing back oblivion

I decided to send my parents a little something for valentine's day this year so I sat down for a few diligent hours and downloaded a sizable compilation of music that I recalled being favorite selections of theirs during the days of my early childhood. As I replayed the resulting four cd's of tunes from Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66, Bobby Darin, Tom Jones, Trini Lopez, Jose Feliciano and a variety of other musical talents of the past, my consciousness slipped back to a time of Barbies and tether ball and late afternoon games of hide and seek with an assorted gang of neighborhood kids whose names and faces I can just barely bring to mind. It was Cincinnati, Ohio, in the 1960's, and I was a tomboy with skinned knees and chocolate stains on my t-shirt. Or maybe spaghetti sauce. I often seemed to wear my meals back in those days.

So I had my parents on the phone, prior to mailing out my gift, and I told them I had a surprise to send them, but I struggled not to give away too many hints about what it was. When I did manage to steer the conversation towards music, it was achieved, I think, rather nonchalantly, without any reference to the unposted package. We were talking about old stuff, stuff we'd saved and stuff we'd discarded, and I slipped in a comment about all the records they used to have and wasn't it a shame to lose all that music when they finally decided to part with their somewhat massive collection . My mom said, much to my disappointment, that they wouldn't really listen to any of that old music now anyway. (damn, I thought) When I casually mentioned a few of the artists I'd recently resurrected, she said "oh, yes... they're always good. We've gone out and bought cd's to replace those albums." As an afterthought she threw in the fact that they must have at least 500 cd's in their current collection; saying so in such a way that it seemed as if she thought a good purge of the recent accumulation might be in order.

So. I guess my little present won't be quite as cool as I'd hoped, but I'm sure they'll like it any way because it's from me. My four cd's will likely get filed away in the heap... but hey... it was the thought and the effort and blah blah blah.

But I'm thinking now that replaying this old music was much more poignant for me than it will be for them. It took me back to a time when I was content to let someone else make all the major and minor choices and decisions in my life: where I lived, what clothes I wore, how late I stayed up and what I had for dinner. Meanwhile, I was basically content to occupy myself with the construction of elaborate, circuitous connections of orange hot wheel tracks that meandered throughout the family room. Or with marrying off my Barbie dolls to some famous, good-looking actor of the day. I could care less what music my mom was blasting and singing along to in the background and it would never have occurred to me to approach her with a pained expression and a snarling tone and say "Hey... what is this CRAP you're playing?? Can we PLEASE change it??" Ah. The oblivion of youth. We had other shit going on.

6 comments:

  1. No! I think they'll really like it---and it's a super cool idea! If they have that many CD's, then surely they'll appreciate a compilation of their favorites. I'd LOVE it if one of my daughters did that for me. It's such a thoughtful and heartfelt gesture!!!!

    Speaking of records, I bought my husband a turntable from Target for Christmas (everything comes back in style) and found over 80 albums at a library sale for fifty cents each. It was amazing! (Good karma!) We got almost all of our old favorites from the late 60's and 70's back, some like new.

    My Mom is an Elvis fan. I remember as a small child her playing his 45's on a small record player and dancing around the bedroom.

    I believe that music attaches itself to our memories. That's why certain songs bring up the memory of the time period we heard it.

    Have a super week!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Marion..
    Wow. I didn't know you could still buy a turntable ANYWHERE except maybe ebay. Very cool. I enjoy looking at old albums whenever I see them in antique stores or elsewhere. Just seeing the cover art brings back memories.

    Pamela

    ReplyDelete
  3. see, I think that is the perfect gift, nothing fits like good music.
    I make compilation cds for friends and my mom loves it when I introduce her to newer artists that have the older flavor..Norah Jones, for instance. Mom would have never thought to listen to her unless I shared my love of Norah's music with her...I'd say it's a fair enough trade since my mom raised me listening to Johnny Mathis, Jim Reeves and Connie Francis :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well hello neighbor! What do you think the odds are of two people transplanted in MN from OH in the same town? I'm also from OH and moved to MN about 6 1/2 years ago. Glad to see you're following my blog. I'm returning the favor.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cincinnati, Ohio? I was born in Hamilton and, as an adult, lived in Clifton, Middletown, and Bethel. Wow... small world, eh?

    And... I'm jealous. My parents wouldn't buy the cars, race tracks, or trains for me. Those were BOYS toys and, well, they just weren't suitable for the "young lady" they were desperately trying to raise. You lucky girl!♥

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think we got started with Hot Wheels cars when they came as little bonus prizes in our cereal boxes. Remember when they used to do that?? They actually sometimes gave away some really good shit and you'd be digging through the newly opened box just to unearth your little plastic wrapped whatever it was. My sister and I sometimes fought about who turn it was to keep the toy.
    Pamela

    ReplyDelete

The Magic Door

The Magic Door
our home & business

Binkley on patrol

Binkley on patrol
all calm in the neighborhood

3 out of 4

3 out of 4