This morning I put on an old Elton John record so Henry could hear Rocket Man, since he was stomping around in his spaceship boots and I thought he might appreciate it. He did not. In true toddler fashion, he had a bit of a fit and insisted that I change the record and put on “the best one”. He’s entitled to his opinion and I am happy to oblige him and put on music he will appreciate, but it is difficult when all he can say to identify his choice is that it is “the best one”. Since yesterday was a very bad day on the Mama And Henry Getting Along Scale, I took a deep breath and sat down with him to go through the records to find which one he really wanted to listen to today. It didn’t take long before he triumphantly shouted “the best one” and I had to smile. Bob Marley’s Legend. Of course. It is the best one. That boy has great taste. It is so sweet to hear him singing “One Wuv” to himself as he plays with his trucks or drags a stick around the backyard. We spend a good chunk of each day listening to records and marching the circle from kitchen to dining room to living room and around again – all while stomping our feet and playing our various percussion instruments. The second act occurs after Daddy gets home and Henry is ready to march and sing again with a new partner.
I bought this record player for Russ when he turned 45. Because 45’s – get it? He had milk crates full of records in the basement and nothing on which to play them. It’s the faux antique kind of record player that you can now pick up for a song at any department store. What’s old is new again, right? He thinks it’s the best gift I’ve ever given him. That record player brought the records out of the basement and brought us all together around the dining room table or on the front porch where we would sit and chat and listen to Louis Armstrong or the Beatles or Pink Floyd or Paul Simon. I mean, seriously, when was the last time you sat around as a family and listened to music on the record player?! When was the last time your teenager selected Oscar Peterson to play during dinner? It has been a lovely addition to our home and our life together.
Now, Russ and I have very different tastes in music. Very different. It’s all nostalgia albums for both of us, but I am more about 80s pop (INXS anyone?) or folk music (Cat Stevens) and he, since he’s quite old, prefers the rock albums of the 60s and 70s. Jimi Hendrix is not, in my opinion, dinner music, but I know he puts that on and blares it for Henry when I am not home. He has all the great rock albums, as well as a nice collection of classical and jazz records. And every Rush album imaginable. By my estimation, there are approximately 23 women in the world who like Rush, and I am not one of them. But every so often, the albums come out and it makes him happy so I go with it.
Rachel has a record player now and Russ delights in introducing her to the albums he loved when he was her age. They both love Led Zeppelin, so it’s wonderful that they can share that. I love that I can browse in an antique mall without worrying that Russ is bored, because there are always old records that he can peruse. We love discovering old albums at thrift stores and garage sales. It’s a very random collection that we continue to curate. It represents the soundtrack of both our separate past lives and our joined life in the here and now. Someday, I hope, Henry will collect albums because he remembers them as the soundtrack of his childhood. And he will introduce “the best one” to his child and they will sing and dance and march together as the record spins around again.
What about you? What are the albums that represent the soundtrack of your life? I'd love to hear about them!!! Leave a comment below and join the discussion!
Kari Raymer Bishop
Lover of Jesus, cheeses and tropical breezes... seeking balance in life, even as I embrace new challenges and chase new dreams. I am wife, mother, daughter and friend, as well as teacher, entrepreneur, activist, writer, beekeeper and hostess. Come along on the journey through my long-awaited midlife crisis!