I was feeling nostalgic recently and started listening to some of my favorite music from my teen years. Though I had several hundred vinyl records from those days prior to the advent of Compact Discs, I listened to all that music on my computer by finding it on You Tube. It’s pretty cool you can listen to complete albums on You Tube without having to pay a penny.

After about a week of listening to music by Kansas, Foreigner and Queen I realized that the nostalgic feeling was getting stronger. I hadn’t listened to most of this music for many many years and I was really enjoying all the memories from those fun, easier days that were popping into my head with the playing of each old song. I thought of past girlfriends, old friends, my parents who have since passed away and what were, genuinely, simpler times.

With the nostalgia reaching a full boil, I ordered a record player online deciding that it would be even better to listen to the old music the same way I listened to it when I was 15. The records were right there in a closet just waiting to be dusted off after 30 years of sitting silently.

The record player arrived 2 days later and I quickly set it up. I was eager to spin that first record and transport myself back to 1979. The first album up was Pink Floyd’s The Wall. It had Another Brick in The Wall Pt. II, aka We Don’t Need No Education which was, as you could imagine, the teenage anthem of my generation. It was an album of contrast with beautiful ethereal vocals and rage. The Wall was a two record set that I’ve long defined as the definitive musical soundtrack of my youth. Of course it had to be played first. The feeling of joy I felt as I cued up Side 1 and the first song began is hard to describe. Memories came rushing back. I thought of my buddies Mark and Rob, and of my first high school girlfriend Emily.

I sat down, cross legged on the floor just as I did when I was 15, and listened to the songs play. I thought of the first time I had sex, which was while listening to this album, but not with Emily. I could hear the voice of my father yelling at me to turn the stereo down. It was as if he was right there with me, standing just outside my bedroom door, red faced and yelling. I could hear my mother telling my father to calm down, and could see her make him smile the way she always could so his anger melted away. Then she used that calming ability on me and I turned the music down. Mom had this way about her. She just knew how to bring out the better parts of all our souls.

I really miss my parents.

The flood of memories came to a screeching halt when side 1 ended and the record arm returned to its resting place, waiting for me to get up off the floor, flip the record to side 2 and continue walking down memory lane in 1979…That’s when I remembered. I was 54 years old.

Getting up off the floor after sitting cross legged for 25 minutes wasn’t as easy as I remembered after years of wear on my knees. I wouldn’t have to do this with a compact disc, I thought to myself.

I stayed on the floor and as I straightened and stretched my legs out waiting for the circulation to get going I decided to read the lyrics to some of my favorite songs on The Wall, just as I did when I was a teenager…except I couldn’t read them without my reading glasses. The writing was too small. The light just not bright enough. My reading glasses were far far away, in the kitchen I thought.

Eventually, I managed to get myself up off the floor, making the same noises my father used to make whenever he got off the floor after playing with me back when I was a little kid. I always laughed at those noises. I wasn’t laughing when it was me making them however. I now knew what those noises meant.

As I searched for my reading glasses, which it turns out weren’t in the kitchen, I contemplated listening to side 2 of the Wall’s first record and decided there was just no way I was going to sit on the floor again and listen to it. Suddenly, the nostalgia started to feel silly. It was drifting away.

I went to the closet where all my old records were and the idea of having to listen to them one record at a time, starting them and changing them by hand every 25 or 30 minutes just wasn’t appealing anymore. I could play 5 compact discs in my “disc-changer” with just the push of a button I thought to myself, or listen to hundreds of hours of music on the computer with one click of the mouse.

I put The Wall away where it now sits at the start of what I’m sure will be another 30 years in silence. Within a few days, the record player started to get covered by papers and whatever else would have been placed on the desk it now occupies. I doubt I’ll ever use it again, but at least I learned something valuable from this whole little exercise…

…Remembering the good old days is fun, but you don’t have to try and relive them.

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