From record player to CD

Treena Mielke

When I first began dating my husband, he drove a little old black Volkswagen.

I didn’t care.

I never was the kind of girl who measured the worth of a boy by the kind of car he drove or any other status symbol for that matter.

But what I did care about was the fact that that little old Volkswagen did not have a radio.

And so, I told him very seriously, “I don’t care what kind of car you drive, but it must have a radio, or I simply will not go out with you, (the latter part of that sentence was, of course, repeated silently in my head.)

And so, the dear boy, not to be outdone by such a demand coming from an otherwise quiet, demure, and seemingly sweet teenage girl, made that happen.

And the very next time he pulled up at the residence of Michener Centre (where I had become recently employed) to pick me up, that little old car had a radio. Apparently, it had something to do with the auto wreckers and some clever fine tuning to install it.

Needless to say, I was happy. And as we headed that little Volkswagen down the road most travelled, you know the one marked marriage, babies, college (not in any particular order) we had music.

Mostly we had CKRD and we had CHED.

And later when we got rich, (what am I saying? We never got rich) one of our very first purchases (after the basinet and the car seat) was a record player.

It was actually quite large, that record player. It filled one entire corner of our living room.

Since that time so many years ago, bringing the absolute wonder and delight of music to our homes and our vehicles has changed, oh, so very much.

I remember the day one of my kids showed me a CD they had bought.

Those were the days when I was the proud mom of three delightfully weird and absolutely wonderful teenagers. I loved those years, and I did my absolute best to keep up. You know to be a ‘cool mom’ who was modern and hip and also a wise and mature mom who knew about stuff. Actually, I failed on both counts, but, as I recall, it was sure fun trying.

Anyway, when the kids showed me the CD, I looked at it curiously.

Finally, I asked in all innocence, “How do you turn it over?” To this day, I swear I can still hear their laughter.

Today is my husband’s birthday. Needless to say, he no longer drives a little black Volkswagen, and his curly blonde hair has turned quite white.

But, after living with me all these years he has learned some things never change. And music, no matter how it comes to us, is just as important to me, his wife, as it was many years go when she was nothing more than this slip of a teenager, trying to make her way in the world.

“It has to have a radio?” I told him, quietly, but firmly.

But just in case he has forgotten my words and the importance of music has slipped his mind, I picked out a very special birthday gift for him.

A record player!

And as I carefully set the needle on an old 45 record, I was almost instantly taken back in time to a tiny girl dressed in a pale blue dress, who could barely reach the top of the old record player. It was a huge thing, set up in a living room with an orange shag rug, and the little girl, not yet two, was moving her little legs in time to the sounds of Neil Diamond crooning Crackling Rosie.

Oh, my goodness memories can be so strong, so powerful, and so poignant, can’t they? But mostly they can be simply wonderful.

And, even as we face an unknown future and wait. Wait for a vaccine, wait for the pandemic to end, wait for the mortgage to be paid, wait to win a lotto, wait for this, and wait for that, we still have memories.

And no matter how it comes to us, we still have music.

What a gift. what a wonderful gift.

Treena Mielke is a central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.

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