I think when we’re young we think we can do anything. We can fly and run and draw and sing. We sing in the shower. We sing in the car. We sing as long as no one is watching.
We had half a finished basement in our house. Coming down the short staircase, to the left was the bar area. My parents almost never drank, but they collected really. nice bottles of liquor. Most were gifts from friends, visitors to our house, and “tips” from their office.
Chivas Regal, Johnny Walker Blue, Canadian Whisky, and about a dozen more that have left my memory. Oppposite the liquor shelf was a counter, and beneath the counter were the glasses, probably about a dozen of a variety of shapes and sizes.
On top of the counter was a stereo. Big and burly. It was only a turntable with a clear plastic cover and two very large speakers on either side of it. We had a separate eight track player somewhere else, either in the basement or the den, but that was used by my mother mostly.
We had a pretty decent record collection; mostly oldies and showtunes, but for my birthday or Chanukah I was gifted The Beatles Greatest Hits. It was a red album and I think it had four records in the set. We called them records, not vinyl.
I put the record on and set the needle to play. Sometimes I would skip a song by moving the needle carefully to the next groove or the second to next, looking for whatever my favorite song of the day was.
Please, Please Me.
Yesterday and Hey Jude.
So many more that if I named them all it would take all day.
If the record sounded a little off, I’d lift the arm and pull the lint off the needle with my fingernails. Then I’d blow on the record to make sure that there was no more dust, and usually the record would play fine.
I had headphones that plugged into the stereo and I would sing along. I had a beautiful voice. At least I thought so. No one else was there to boo or cheer me on, but I sang as if my life depended on it. Maybe I could be the next Beatle. Who knew?
That was how I spent many an afternoon. After school, I’d run downstairs and pull on the big black and silver headpohones and I was in the recording studio, practicing for my upcoming tour.