Even at 9, I knew how to rock

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StereophonicThat stereo over there was my pride and joy when I was 9 years old. I got it for Christmas and I played it practically every day until I got a bigger one when I was 16.

This model, from JCPenney, had a tape recorder, a record player, an 8-track, and an AM-FM radio and two speakers. It also had a microphone jack, which I used often while singing along with Olivia Newton-John and other stars of the early ’80s. I would rock out with my permed hair, my headbands and legwarmers. And I have pictures to prove it.

Once I upgraded to a two-tape-deck stereo (bye, bye 8-track), this one was relegated to music duty in the shed, where we shot pool, roller-skated and played basketball.

A few weeks ago, Riley and I were at my parents’ house and saw that they had cleaned out the shed and rescued the stereo. Miraculously, 30 years later, it still worked. We played Charley Pride and Merle Haggard records and Alabama cassettes. We didn’t have any 8-tracks around the house, but maybe we can dig one up somewhere. Only one speaker works; the wire on the second one was likely gnawed by mice looking for dinner.

After leaving the stereo at my folks’ house for a couple of weeks, I finally brought it home with me. It now gives the guest room some character and some tunes. And still looks pretty good.

What was once a 9-year-old’s symbol of growing up has now become a 39-year-old’s symbol of childhood. Funny how that works. Rock on, y’all!

Bon Jovi 45 and other treasures

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When it comes to divorce, it’s about more than a marriage ending. It’s also about splitting up all your stuff! While we’ve taken care of everything in the house, we still need to dig through the boxes of past lives in the attic. So that’s what I was doing when I found this:

Yes. That is a 45 rpm. A record. A vinyl disc with a hole in the middle. You play it on a record player. It cost me $1.63 plus tax at Walmart, probably in 1986.

“Living on a Prayer” was in a box with two old diaries (one from high school, one from junior college), three New Kids on the Block t-shirts (two concert, one fan club), old cassette tapes and VHS videos, old letters (sadly, none about love), high school and college transcripts and other memorabilia.

One of the aforementioned cassette tapes contained some rare gems mined from Top 40 radio back in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Like this:

And this:

And my theme song:

I’ve been rocking like it’s 1992 in my truck (the location of the only cassette player I have) on the way to and from work every day. Man, I love these songs … and the memories they bring … before I got serious about a boy, before responsibilities, when the possibilities of life were endless …

Then the tape stops and I’m snapped back to reality. But only until it flips to the other side and I hear this (Dude? Cornrows? Really? SMH):

And this:

Peace out, y’all!