Friday, January 16, 2009

sing it loud, sing it proud

Although we moved every four years while I was growing up, my mom always prepared a place for us in the basement--a playroom where our toys got unpacked and our vivid imaginations unleashed. Among the prized possessions that played with throughout childhood were a wooden toy box filled with old dresses, capes and floppy bridesmaids' hats (yes, it was the 70's--we liked our formal wear floppy and in pastel shades--what of it?). We had stuffed animals, dolls, building blocks and a set of toy dishes. What else could a girl want?

Why this!
From Sears, a portable Mickey Mouse record player. Our playtime soundtrack included Disney songs from Cinderella, Mary Poppins, Pete's Dragon and Lady and the Tramp. We belted out the Muppet Movie songs and Bible verses to cheery tunes with our friend Psalty-- to this day I can't read more than a couple chapters in the Good Book without finding familiar words and then I start to hum. Records were wonderous, you could listen to any song you wanted simply by putting a new album on the turntable and moving Mickey's arm to the right space. A little staticky crackle and then the room would fill with music.

My favorite records to play as a child were from my mother's stash of 45's from her youth--Paul Revere and the Raiders, Herman's Hermits, The Happenings, and a stack of Motown hits. These half-sized lps had a sort of sophisticated appeal because they weren't kid records, these were grown up songs with a down beat and serious lyrics. Every time I hear Diana Ross and the Supremes on the oldies station, I am wearing an old bridesmaid dress with a gauzy white shawl and a pale yellow hat with matching ribbons draping down my back. I'm on top of the wooden toybox (my stage) pouring out my heartbreak into an old wooden spoon (my microphone).

Set me free, why don't cha babe
Get out my life, why don't cha babe
cause you don't really love me
You just keep me hangin on
You don't really need me
But you keep me hangin on

Nostalgia has nearly prompted me to shell out $99.99 on ebay for my old mouse friend with the blue striped arm. Those old records are in my basement just waiting to be played--and I'm sure I still remember all the words--now if can find myself a pale blue chiffon bridesmaid dress.

***
Midwest Moms and Tx Poppet knew my literary allusion--the quote in question yesterday was from Charlotte Perkins Gilman's brilliant short story The Yellow Wallpaper. Read it if you haven't--it's short and quite perfect for this time of year. Here's the link again!

26 comments:

  1. 99 bucks for that wonderful record player??? We may be bidding against each other.
    Your Pal,
    Linda

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  2. I wish I still had my 45's! I do have a turntable, and some of my old records. Sometimes I just have to hear Supertramp...

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  3. We didn't have a record player like that we had one of those big wooden cabnets with the drop down lids (perfect for smashing fingers if you weren't careful) Me and my friends would put in Styx and hop around the room singing and pretending we were a rock band :D

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  4. Awesome post. It took me back--especially the floppy pastel hats. I think we lived the same life!

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  5. I had the same soundtrack growing up. Did you have "It's a Small World" by any chance?

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  6. We rocked out to our parents' albums, too. Well, as much as one can "rock out" to folkies like The Brothers Four, the Highwaymen, and my personal fave the Kingston Trio! Soundtracks, too - Jesus Christ, Superstar, My Fair Lady, West Side Story - I think I knew all the lyrics before I ever saw the movies.

    I still have a bunch of albums, including the ones from high school music camp, but no turntable. I really need to investigate those turntables with a USB port so I can record my precious LPs onto CDs.

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  7. Herman's Hermits! "I'm Henry the 8th I am, I am!"

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  8. We had a make-shift dance club in the basement for those '45s. We loved Kool & the Gang and Michael Jackson, though. Mom and Dad strictly listened to LPs, and they stayed with the upstairs "adult" turntable.

    We had our share of Diana Ross and Donna Summer, too, I must admit. :)

    What a fun memory! -MM

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  9. wow. Add a purple tutu and some roller skates and I am right there with you!

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  10. I had the kind where you put the lid down and it played automatically. ;-) LOVED dancing to my 45s.

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  11. Oh, the wonder contained in those mple singin' "Good Ship Lollipop" was my favorite... until I heard the Village People sing "YMCA" which required me to graduate to far more developed selections.

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  12. I had a pink player and I listened to... Amy, whatcha gonna do, I think I will stay with you for awhile... I loved having my name in a song.

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  13. Oh ... I, too, have been Diana Ross, thanks to a parental vinyl collection. My fav, tho, was "Stop! In the name of love." Our entryway was tiled, and I would pretend it was a dance floor. However, when the overhead light came on, all the stuffed animals knew they had to get off the dancefloor because I was about to perform as Miss Ross. You know, as you do.

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  14. Moms are so good about preparing a place for our crazy kid imaginations to run wild.

    And I had a favorite song I used to sing, "Patches I'm depending on you son, to pull the family through."

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  15. I don't think I had the Mickey one, but I did have one. Aaah, the joys.

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  16. Oh, oh, oh. Those little record players. You've just taken me back...and sent me over to Ebay.

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  17. Do you remember those record players that only played special plastic records with little grooves in them? Cool memories.

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  18. They say that nothing triggers memory like scent but I think music is almost equal--it is amazing how so many memories are perfectly recorded in music!

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  19. Darn it. Now you've got me signing "Bullfrogs and butterflies". I haven't heard this song in 25 years, but break into it's chorus from time to time.... My husband thinks I'm nuts!

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  20. Hope you have a beautiful weekend! ♥ Hugs :)

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  21. I wish I still had all of my old records. Not only music, but we had one record of the Flinstones, which was the audio of a few episodes.

    Love this post. Enjoy your new old record player!

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  22. Oh - great post! Our record player wasn't exactly like that one, but was similar and as beloved. My favorite records were Free to Be You and Me and the soundtracks to Oklahoma and Annie.

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  23. Oh wow, my husband had that same record player. Very cool!

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  24. Oh, the memories you jogged, those of Mary Poppins and Lady and the Tramp coupled with the Supremes~
    you must get that player!

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  25. That record player is so cool.

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  26. Your Mom had excellent taste in music!

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Spill it, reader.