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Old-School isn’t OLD

I posted a blog some time ago about digitizing my entire music library and about how nice it is to be able to listen to any song without having to search through a stack of LPs or CD racks for the album.  I have a history of using the latest technology for my entertainment needs.  Today, as with many days, I will sit in my recliner listening to my favorite music on my media PC, where my music library is stored.  Recently, as I enjoyed my 4 and 5-star rated playlist, Dancing in the Moonlight by King Harvest played and it harkened back to a time when, as a child, I lived in DeRidder, Louisiana.  I was reminiscing about that time with my wife, Michelle, and I recalled how we used to listen to music back in those days, before cellphones, ipods, mp3 players, CDs, walkmans and all the modern technology.  We had radios back then.  And record players.  And 8-track or cassette tapes.  All the old-school technology.  As new technology improved, I adopted the new tech.
I had an old AM radio that my mom handed down to me which sat on my nightstand, but I don’t remember using it to listen to music much.  When we lived in El Paso, I used it to listen to the El Paso Sunkings play minor league baseball.  Most of my exposure to music came from the car radio in DeRidder and on WGH in NewPort News, Virginia.  Granted, I was only ten or eleven years old and music was not a priority for me.  It wouldn’t be until I was 15 or 16 that music became significant to helping me mold an identity.  Since it was only AM, once FM became the preferred format, I switched radios.  I listened to KILT on the AM and then switched to the FM when it came around.  KILT was top 40 back then.  I don’t know what became of that old school AM radio.
My parents had this old credenza console stereo that had an AM/FM radio and a turn table with a record changer that stood vigil in our living room.  The only memories I have of the family using it are Christmas eve and Christmas morning when mom would put on her Perry Como, Englebert Humperdink and Andy Williams Christmas albums.  On a side note, those same albums have been digitized into my library, too.  Several years later, this stereo would be replaced by a smaller home stereo with AM/FM and 8-track with a turn table and separate speakers and relegated to a spot in the garage.  I would fire it up while I was rolling newspapers for my paper route and jam out.  That stereo now sits in a storage shed in North Little Rock, Arkansas.  I wish I had the space for it, it would be a great conversation piece of old-school nostalgia.
When my parents got that stereo, they put away an older turntable my mom had.  It was a big heavy thing that folded up and was supposedly portable in that it had a handle and the speakers could be clipped to the case to facilitate carrying the contraption.  When I was 9 or 10, mom gave that old record player to me after wrapping it in mod-style contact paper.  We played our nascent record collection on this device for years.  We had the Partridge Family among other albums and several 45 singles on the old-school vinyl discs.
My parents gave me a turntable/record changer with AM/FM and a cassette player for my 16th birthday.  My friends got cars, I got a stereo.  One time when I was grounded–I couldn’t go anywhere nor have friends over–I was talking on the phone with my friend, Kevin, and I got tired of holding the phone and sitting at my desk.  This was before cordless phones were invented when you were tethered to the phone by the coiled cord.  I had a microphone on my stereo and a nice set of speakers so I figured there had to be a way to connect the two.  I took the phone handset apart and attached wires to the contacts and ran them to the stereo creating a home made speaker phone.  I was in the middle of a conversation when my mom burst into my room ready to read me the riot act.  It seems that the stereo fidelity was so good that to her, it sounded like Kevin was in my room with me in violation of my punishment.  But even though I had not broken the rules, I was not to escape her wrath unscathed.  Once she saw the phone dissected and the wires running across the room, the fires reignited in her eyes.  It seems we didn’t own the phone (in those days you leased the phone from the phone company) and she was worried we would get into trouble.  I sadly disassembled my new-fangled speaker phone invention and reassembled the old-school phone.
I used that stereo until I bought my first component quadraphonic system while I was in the army.  As older technology matured, new technology launched and I upgraded the components periodically, double cassette deck, turn table, multi CD player, DVD player, Xbox, equalizer, etc.  My system now is just three components: my Dolby 7.1 receiver, my media PC and my Xbox 360. 
I could conceivably get rid of the receiver and let the media pc do everything, but something happened to me on the way to maturity.  I no longer crave the latest technology.  If what I have works, I no longer feel the need to get rid of it for new things.  I guess I’m too old school now.  I like having a stereo receiver.
With all the new components, my music collection also developed.  I started out listening to Top 40 pop music, the I went through my Rock and Roll phase.  I even gradually learned to appreciate classical and country music.  My collection is now quite eclectic.
My 13-year-old granddaughter recently spent the weekend with us and while we were listening to music, she commented on all the “old people” music in the library.  Now we have popular music from the 40’s (Nat King Cole) though this year (I just added Passenger and OneRepublic’s latest) as well as some classical, but I wouldn’t call classic rock “old people’s music.”  As I have gotten older, I may have become old school, but I refuse to be labeled “old people.”


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