The World Keeps Spinning Around
I’ve told the story how, when I was about 3 or 4, my mother and father moved into a big house in Oakland (the McArthur freeway took the house when it was built), that was ½ acre, but seemed like a whole city block to me. The two-story house had two bedrooms downstairs, where my mom and dad and little brother slept. Upstairs were three other bedrooms and two side attic doors, where I used to worry demons lived. Later we would take on boarders to fill the two gabled bedrooms that looked over the busy street, but my bedroom was at the back and overlooked my mother’s beautiful garden. The view from my writing desk will some day resemble this, as the hill was filled with hydrangeas, roses and lush flowering plants and filled the entire glass pane of the windows there.
I had a bunk bed, and liked to take turns sleeping on the top bunk and then the bottom. At the bottom I would make a fort with other blankets, or sheer nightgowns I’d steal from my mother’s room. I pretended I was in a harem many long afternoons. The view of the green foliage was huge from the lower bunk.
The top bunk gave me sort of a sense of security, as I could look down on everything and feel I guess a little safer from pirates or gremlins or other such things as might frequent the attic spaces. One of the things I’d look down on would be the little table in the middle of the room that held my record player.
I think I was 3 when I was given this RCA record player, along with some sets of .45 records, Snow White and Cinderella being my favorites. I liked Snow White because of the handsome prince that awoke her from the witches curse. Cinderella I related to because I was alone up in the top part of the house, and I could easily feel how Cinderella used to sit and dream about her Prince Charming coming to rescue her.
I was given other books as well, including some Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales, and other Mother Goose things, Little Red Riding Hood and The Gingerbred Man. When I was to turn the page, there would be some sign, like little Gus the mouse saying “Gus Gus Gus GusGus,” for Cinderella.
I was told by my father to only touch the little red button, only put 3 or 4 records on the turnstile, and only then to adjust the volume button on the side. I think my Little Red Riding Hood records were bright red, others were turquoise, but most of them were standard black .45s.
It didn’t matter how many times I played these albums and listened to the narration, I would cry at all the right places, and get angry with others, or jump for joy. I think I became addicted to romance and the Happily Ever After way back then when I was 3. The beauty of the spoken word or a story I loved came to me and filled me with wonder, hope and the clear sense of a beautiful, loving destiny. I just knew the Happily Ever After was going to be my story some day.
These are cherished moments. My storyteller and favorite pirate prince, J.D. Hart, send me this YouTube video of the exact copy of my record player. Listen and enjoy. And then listen to his narration, my grownup version of that little attic room, where I get to don my headsets, listen, cry at the sad parts and jump for joy at all the happy ones, just like those days many years ago.
Except now I get to share them with you.