By Robin Kaye
I’ve been an avid collector of two things for as long as I can remember—Books and music. I’ve kept them with me all my life though seven states, and 35+ moves.
When I was younger, I could name every move, in order, and I could have given you the street address too. I’m not sure I’d be able to remember my every move now, but when an old song comes on the radio, or the iPod, I can tell you where I lived when it was popular. It’s the same with books.
I know I lived in Mount Laurel, NJ the year Elton John’s Philadelphia Freedom was all the rage and read Judy Blume’s Forever and Louis Nizer’s Reflections Without Mirrors.
I lived in Reston, VA when a friend of my mother’s let me hang out at her apartment and read her prized collection of Wizard Of Oz books in exchange for walking her dog every day after school. That was the same year the songs Wildfire and Shannon brought tears to my eyes along with the book, Watership Downs.
I read JRR Tolkein’s The Hobbit and Jeffrey Archer’s Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less one of the summers I spent in Westhampton Beach, Long Island while tapping my foot to Billy Joel She’s always A Woman To Me.
I lived in Mountain Lakes, NJ when I first heard Elvis Costello sing about Watching The Detectives, and read The Thorn Birds in one sitting. It was also about that time I got in trouble for reading The Carpetbaggers and A Stone For Danny Fisher during my Harold Robbins phase.
Keeping my favorite books and music close to me has always been so important because wherever they were was home.
A year ago, my DH moved our storage from one room to another--this happens quite often when you’re restoring a hundred year old Victorian. Every time DH faces this task, everything I’ve loved and saved for years is in jeopardy of going the way of the dumpster. I became a victim of Get-rid-of-this-stuff-because-I-refuse-to-move-it-again syndrome. This time my entire record collection was placed on the chopping block. I refused to consider taking it to the big turntable in the sky and I’m so happy I’m more stubborn than he is.
Yesterday, during my weekly shopping jaunt to Costco, I spied something I haven’t seen in years. I swear I heard the angels sing—though it might have been Jim Morrison. There before me was a turntable! Yes, you’re not seeing things. It was a real, honest to God turntable that connects to a computer and records/downloads records (both 45’s and 33’s) to iTunes!
Last night, I opened my box of albums and found my family history. There was my grandparents’ operas and their Italian comedy album, Pepino the Italian Mouse. A BJ Thomas album that I’m sure was one of my parents’. The first Sesame Street Album that contained my favorite song on the show-- Oscar’s I Love Trash. I walked down memory lane through my southern rock phase, my hard rock phase; my jazz phase, and sadly, a short and very painful disco phase. I found everything from James Taylor to Tubular Bells, Bradford Marsalis to Gilbert and Sullivan. On my bookshelves and in that box of albums, I have a musical and reading history of my life—The good, the bad, and the disco. No matter where I was, I always had a book to read and good music to listen to. I’m a very lucky person.
What’s on your bookshelf and on your iPod?