There it was in the bargain bin at one of the big box stores, a
record player that plugged into your computer and uploaded your old
LP's in digital form. Well, color me excited for $19.95!
There is something I should confess here. I've got all my
albums. 'Lost my school annuals, 'don't have many friends
from the old days, but I've managed to keep hold of every album
I've ever owned, back to high school and possibly a bit further.
So, we are talking hundreds, no, thousands of hours of old Monkeys,
John Sebastian, and Sonny & Cher albums. There's stuff they
haven't bothered to convert to CD's and Apple doesn't offer as
downloads: things like all the original Muppet Show records. And do
you remember Paul Williams (the only live guest who actually looked
like a Muppet)?
It's not just the music. It's the ALBUMS. Big format, with
wonderful pictures of Mick Jagger with acne. And liner notes; do
you remember liner notes? Really corny stuff written by angry
and/or stoned people who believed they'd never be 30. They,
we, were to be forever young.
I'd forgotten about all that stuff. Everything was in boxes.
Packed away for, well, I guess, for my wife and my daughter to sort
through after I'm dead. "Why'd Dad save this stuff? He doesn't even
own a record player."
But now I am playing them all, one at a time, at 33 1/3 rpm as
the converter sends the scratches and hisses into my computer to
join the digital downloads and high-tech CD's of the 21st Century.
(Remember, I bought it out of the discount bin.)
So, as often as the garden allows, I'm up in my study playing
old tunes. Many are so bad the dog leaves the room. Some, well some
are like audible time machines transporting me back to dances where
I stood and watched, and dances I had the courage to try. Such a
romantic, dramatic, and sometimes angry young man! How distant he
seems. Like someone I used to know, but haven't kept in touch
with. Suddenly we are together again; at first with so little
"What would he think of me now?" I ask myself. "What would that
earlier me think of this old guy sniffling at 45 year old songs
while he sips a scotch and contemplates the years and songs from so
I can't answer that, but I can tell you how much I am enjoying
myself. Taking this musical journey through years of song is
embarrassing at some points. Overall, however, I'm happy to report
that most of those old songs are wonderful. As for the scratches,
skips and occasional hiss, well, I'm enjoying them, too.
After all, Aging in Place doesn't happen by accident. But
that doesn't mean we can't enjoy it.
Scott Funk is Vermont's leading Aging in Place advocate,
writing and speaking around the state on issues of concern to
retirees and their families.