I went to my folk’s place for Thanksgiving.
It’s different now that the parents live in a different town-sometimes it feels weird to be there after they spent decades at our old house, the same one I lived in since 1978.
In 1978, I had 165 45’s. I know this because I wrote the number on my record case. The following year, it increased by only 10.
I know this because I wrote that number below the first one.
The vast majority of my singles were hand-me-downs from my parents. It was their preferred format growing up while mine was most definitely the album.
But those old singles did provide me with a lot of memories and, more importantly, they taught me a lot about music. Singles-at least the ones I purchased-were used as a way to see if I liked an artist. I was the type of guy that listened to both sides, and if the b-side was a success then there was a good possibility that I’d like the whole album.
To hear my Mom talk, they would buy a bunch of their favorite hits in high school and then tote them around to each other’s houses for study nights, sleepovers, or whatever it was they did for fun as teenagers in small town Iowa.
Their record players enabled them to stack the 45’s up, dropping a new disc the moment the tone arm got out of the way. That picture is one of the three cases that I received to lug around those 165 singles. It’s probably in the best shape of the three.
I wonder what ever happened to the Amberg File & Index Company?
My Dad brought out the record cases one day over the holidays, presumably to ask if I want to see if there’s anything worth taking, while secretly hoping that I’d take the whole lot of them and get them out of his storage room.
I glanced through them to see if there were any gems, and there are several, but the issue is that they’re not worth anything and they are completely worn out in most cases.
I didn’t take very good care of those 45’s and no one told me to treat them with care, as they might be valuable someday.
So I did what any stupid kid would do: I wrote all over them. Mostly my name, but occasionally I’d just write stupid shit on them, some primitive form of ownership in case there were any doubts of who they belonged to.
On the floor of my parent’s furnished basement, I lamented over a bunch of Apple singles with “Todd” written with permanent pen on the green apple logo. I see a Peter, Paul, and Mary single with the entire label ripped off, only to be drawn back on with my 8-year-old hand. I see an old Beach Boys single with the yellow/orange swirl Capitol label on it, identifying not only the song (“Surfer Girl”), but also that “Todd is #1.”
My 1978 single inventory that was on that box also marked the moment when I began to start caring for my stuff. I noticed that I began keeping the sleeves of those 45’s around that same time. I began cleaning the grooves before playing them.
Most importantly, I stopped writing stupid shit on them.
Instead of taking these worn out and worthless (value-wise, not musically) singles home with me, I just began taking photos of them. I’ll post the photos of some of these and then relay a story about the songs-probably something in regards to what impact the song had on me or some other personal artifact.
Because what came from those grooves is more important that what those grooves are worth in mint condition.
At least that’s what I tell myself every time I see those desecrated Apple labels.