When I was a little girl I remember my mom putting on music and dancing like crazy. We listened to a lot of Abba and Fleetwood Mac. We had some Disney soundtracks and things. My mom would put them on the record player and we were under specific instructions that we couldn’t jump. There were days when I’d be sitting in my parents’ room with my dad while he played the soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar or The Who’s Tommy. I used to watch the red lips spinning on the record (anyone know what record that is? It’s always fun to see how many people know!)
Looking at my children, sure, some of it’s the same. We still play a lot of “classic rock” mixed in with more modern selections. Much like my parents, we play a lot of music from when Oz and I were in high school. My kids have been exposed to Pink Floyd and the Doors. They’ve heard Fleetwood Mac. I’m carrying on that element from when I was little, but it’s just not the same. I can let them jump and go crazy because there’s no worry about the music skipping when it’s being digitally played. They can pick a song by way of controller. They have no idea what it’s like to stop and start a cassette in order to try to find the beginning of their favorite song. They don’t need to worry about moving the needle on the record delicately so as not to scratch it. They don’t even know what it’s like to have to flip the disc over because there is no disc to flip!
At the same time, my kids are curious. Today they were watching Clean House and a woman had a jukebox and they opted to keep the 45s and sell the jukebox. The kids had no idea what any of that meant. We got into a discussion of music makers, be it jukeboxes, a Victrola, LPs and 45s. We talked about cassette tapes and all of that kind of stuff.
I have to admit, it makes me feel old to know that things I remember when I was a kid are no longer in use. I remember winding cassette tapes that had come unspooled with my finger in one hole until it hurt to wind it anymore. Only then would I use a pen because I was determined that I’d be hardcore. I remember recording songs off the radio and making mix tapes. I remember wishing I could put on the records myself, but my mom never trusted me to. I loved looking through my parents’ records because of the beautiful covers.
It’s strange to think back on my old childhood and how different it is from my kids, yet it’s the same in some ways. We share the same classic music. It may not be ugly green couches that we played on, but I’ll take our ugly “Bohemian couch” as comparable. We’re still the poor family that doesn’t have everything. We still manage, just like my family did.
Looking back I realize that there’s a sense of flash and pizzazz that I didn’t have when I was younger. Nothing seemed as fancy and, well, flashy. Everything now is so clean and elegant in comparison to the blocky televisions, music devices, etc from when I was younger. There isn’t so much equipment to run everything either. It seems so much simpler. It’s almost strange to relate the two. It seems like my kids have so much more so we can’t possibly be doing the same things. I couldn’t possibly have a similar childhood…yet there it is. Okay, maybe the kids don’t know what a jukebox is (or didn’t). They don’t know what a “record” is, aside from things you break, like Guinness Book. They also don’t see the negative things, like cigarette dispensers in restaurants. Even with those differences, we’re still very much living the same, straight down to a lot of the music.
It makes me feel good to realize we’ve got so much in common. A lot of what’s stayed the same are things that hold over happy memories from my own childhood. I guess the truly good things really never change, maybe on the outside, but not at the very core.