Saturday, February 27, 2016


 During my formative years, I spent a lot of time living with my paternal grandparents. Everyone knows how great it was as a kid to visit grandparents. Trust me, it is just as great to live with them.
 When I was about 9 years old, I was living with them for a couple years in Saco, Maine. I recollect that I only had two friends my age in the neighborhood, Derrick and 'Chip' (short for Charles). The majority of the time, I was by myself, quite contented to play with my toys, putter in the basement (I still do), or watch TV. However, there was one activity I enjoyed and that was to sit on the floor in front of the big RCA Victor radio/phonograph console and listen to my grandparents small record collection of 45's and LP's (remember that term for Long Play?). I would play them over and over again until I knew the songs by heart. I didn't care what kind of music it was, even Christmas, like Dennis Day singing O Holy Night or Patti Page singing How Much Is That Doggie In The Window? I think my favorite record was an LP called Remember How Great? It was a promotional record of old songs that Lucky Strike cigarettes put into Super Markets to promote their product. Since my grandfather's career was a meat manager in these markets, he would often bring things home. I remember him bringing home cases of sample size jars of Tang breakfast drink. Anyway, there were a lot of great songs on this album (which I still have!). My favorite was The Wayward Wind by Gogi Grant. I would listen to it over and over again.
 When I was 13, I was living with them, again, in Kennebunk, Maine. My old friend, the RCA, was still with us and I would still listen to it. By now, however, I started to expand my musical horizons and started my own record collection starting with singles like Time Won't Let Me by the Outsiders and Red Rubber Ball by Cyrkle.
 Eventually, I betrayed my friendship with the old RCA and built a record player of my own and had it in my room. It was crude but did the job. I built the amplifier from a schematic I found in my high school science book. I turned an old cabinet into a speaker baffle, filling it with a bunch of old speakers I had. For a turntable, I actually sprung for a new Garrard turntable. The system was monophonic, not stereophonic, but it was a start. First albums I owned were The Beatles: Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
 The last time I saw the old RCA was several years later in the attic of my aunt and uncle's home in Salem, Mass. That was a long time ago and now I imagine it is dust. Do you think it ever forgave me?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Time Lines

 Sometimes I get into a contemplative state of mind. It also might be perceived as day dreaming, or just 'spacing out'. Anyway, I may think about where I am in my life and where I am going, a common event for many, I'm sure.
 It is a complex fabric we weave as we make so many choices during the course of our lives.  As many do, I will sometimes question and even regret a choice I have made. Then I think about what it would have been like if I made a different choice. Although what may seem like a wrong choice leading to undesirable results may also lead to other things that are good. So if I had it to do over again, would I make a different choice, knowing the good things I would miss out on?
 There are those who feel that our lives are predestined, that our fates cannot be changed. And there are those who think we are the Captain's of our souls and we make our own fate. I don't know the answer to that but I have a feeling it is a mixture of the two. Our future is somewhat predetermined by the environment that we are in when we come to be. I was born in 1949 in Virginia into a family and well taken care of. I could have been born in China where the Chinese Civil War was just ending and the Communist Party of China had just taken control. Fortunately that was before the late '70's when China passed a law allowing only one child per family, otherwise I may not have existed at all.
 So other then our place of birth being a vary large factor in dictating our future, the rest is a matter of choices, or is it?  Are the choices made by our parents and later ourselves done by free will or are they guided by the Hand of Fate?  Or is it the Deity that has some say in the matter?
 Ah, we think we know so much but actually we know so little. Either way, if we are predestined or if it all by chance, I will take it. It is a great ride with its ups and downs. Maybe we will know more in the Hereafter.  Oh! Now there is another topic we can work on! But not today.......

I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act. - Buddha