Music + Memories, Prelude and Installment No. 1

In the not-too-distant-future, I see myself wistfully telling our daughter, Lucy, about the good old days when I’d flip through my huge, overstuffed Caselogic CD case to choose an album to listen to. To her, the technology that fueled the musical backdrop of my teenage years will seem as ancient as a phonograph did to me when I was young. I remember saving my babysitting money until I had enough to go to the music store, then holing up in my bedroom, greedily tearing open those pesky cellophane wrappers and methodically paging through the album art, pledging to learn all of the lyrics while listening to every song on repeat. 

When we moved to Oakland earlier this year, I found four of huge Caselogic books packed away in storage. Flipping through their heavy pages, filled with thick album covers and shiny discs, I found myself lost in thought about times in my life that haven’t floated through my brain in years. Not just specific memories, but also the feelings of moments in time. Moments when it truly seemed that the music I had chosen was the actual soundtrack playing in my life, just like in a movie.

I have hauled my collection of CD’s around with me for years, not having a use for them, but not willing to part with them. This time, though, when I flipped through them, I saw everything they contained in a new way. Maybe it is because this year has brought profound changes in my life and the life of my family. Maybe it’s because I feel like I have been fast-forwarded into grown up mode: wife; mother of one, with another on the way; new homeowner. These primary aspects of my life are everything to me- they come with immense joy and emotion, immense love and gratitude, and immense responsibility. It seems like eons ago when what mattered most was carefully choosing a CD to listen to while driving the ten minutes to my high school. That album would predict my day, that song was meant for me, those words somehow reading my mind.

Maybe, it’s that I am three weeks away from welcoming another precious little soul into our family and I am feeling nostalgic. But, maybe not. My memory is jogged by this music in the best possible way- I remember those days and all they carried with them in detail, especially the way time moved more slowly then. And I am pretty glad I’ve held onto these weighty tokens of the past for all the years. 

So, today, I’m introducing the first installment of my new series: Music + Memories. Each month, I’ll choose an album cover to illustrate, and post it here with some brief ramblings about what that album recalls for me. I’m looking forward to unearthing some real treasures. I'd love to hear about your musical memories too, so feel free to comment below as you follow along.

Without further ado, the first album: The Allman Brothers' Band: A Decade of Hits

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More than any other album in my collection, I think this one got the most wear and tear, through the biggest expanse of years of my life. The 16 tracks on this album played through teenage heartthrobs, giddy laughter with friends, and the first time I drove my beloved first (used) car. It was a Saab. 1989 turbo, manual. I spent countless summer hours in that car, sunroof down, listening to Allman Brothers croon away, with their slide guitars. This album spurred my desperate, 14-year old desire to learn the to play the guitar myself. I remember dragging my mom along with me to a seedy guitar shop a few minutes from our house, to inquire about lessons. The denim-clad man behind the counter, who eerily resembled Gregg Allman, looked at me skeptically and promptly asked me what kind of music I wanted to learn. When I answered innocently, “Uhmmmm...The Allman Brothers,” he nearly laughed me out of the joint. I ended up taking a few lessons- but didn’t stick with it. This album, however, has stuck with me, for a long, long time.

Happy Thursday, Friends!