Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Old Stereo

Most of the year, the stereo was dormant.  Occasionally you would hear a record being played, but for the most part it was a silent piece of furniture in our living room.  However, at Christmas time, it seemed like it was always playing.

I can remember the pile of records that my mother had in the side cubby hole in that old stereo.  There were probably twenty or thirty records.   Mom wasn't one to listen to music all of the time…she always said that she found it too distracting.  For me, it helps me concentrate – but Mom said that she concentrated on the music rather than was she was trying to do.  When it was time to decorate the house for Christmas, those records would be brought out and thumbed through to find something that suited her mood.  There are only a few records that I remember specifically – but the music is something that I remember well. 

Years ago, they used to see records at the Firestone tire store.  Not year round, but at Christmas time.  Dad said that they would make a special trip down to get the record every year.  These records would have singers like Perry Como, Dean Martin, Peggy Lee and Bing Crosby.  We must have had about 10 of those records.  It was almost like listening to your iPod today.  There was a terrific mix of music from people you liked to hear sing.  Mom was a music snob and so all of the music was classical in nature or from the crooners that Mom enjoyed listening to.  With the mix of music that she had in that stereo, it was almost shocking to find a Chipmunks Christmas album in the stack.  At Christmas time, we were even allowed to play that one a few times.

As we decorated the house, music would be playing on that old stereo and Mom would be singing along to the familiar tunes.  I have a great memory for the lyrics of just about all of the famous Christmas songs, and I think I learned most of them listening to either those old records or to Mom singing at the piano. 

I started playing Christmas music about the second week of November in my office.  My coworkers know that is the music of choice for me this time of year.  There is some modern stuff but there is also a lot of Bing Crosby, Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra.  Now I play it from my iPod with my own Christmas mix – and when I go home at night and do some decorating, baking or wrapping – that Christmas music is still playing in the house.  They may not be those old records on the stereo in the living room – but I suspect that the same type of music is still playing.  Those old songs always make me love Christmas and fondly remember my childhood listening to that old stereo!