Memory Player


It took me a while to figure out what was in the box that UPS had just delivered. It had been 8 months since I sent it away for repairs, and probably 8 years since John started suggesting I get it repaired.

The “Symphonic” record player had finally returned, hopefully in good working order.


It was my Mom’s record player, and according to the repair person, it probably dates to the 1950’s.

I don’t remember ever listening to this record player. It was always tucked away in the basement of my parents’ house. And when the house was sold, I tucked it away in our basement, along with my Mom’s old records.

Eager to test the Symphonic, I searched for the box of old 78’s. I found it with each record carefully catalogued in my Mom’s familiar handwriting.


Which song should I listen to first? #20 “Night and Day” by Cole Porter and sung by Bing Crosby was the first title I recognized.

The appropriateness of my selection was confirmed when I saw Bing looking up at me from the bottom of the box; his photo adorned the top of a record cleaning pad.


Now it was time for Bing’s and the Symphonic’s first performance together in decades.

Jack’s ears perked at the first scratch of the needle.


He looked like the dog on old RCA Victor labels.


The Symphonic played perfectly – with all the muffled scratchiness I had hoped for. Thank goodness my Mom’s record player did not pump out digitally perfected sound. I wanted warmth, and timbre, and nostalgia.

Watching the disc revolve and hearing the music swell, my mind conjured up more memories and visions than I can describe, including a favorite memory… watching my Mom and Dad dance together.

I lingered in this favorite scene for a while, smiling with them as they glide across a crowded floor, keeping my eyes on them as they mix in with other couples, their movement distinct and easily recognizable to me as my Mom and Dad, Shirley and John.

I looked for a photo of my folks dancing, but stopped when I came across this pose – maybe it was taken in between dances. The photo was dated 1949, three years after Bing Crosby’s “Night and Day” was released.


I wondered what memories my Mom would have had listening to the Symphonic with me. I wished I could have shared this moment with her. Although in a way, it felt like I had.

That evening, I told John how the record player was a touchstone for me with memories of my Mom. We drank martinis, and listened to “Night and Day,” and the Symphonic started recording new memories… of us.

live. enjoy. repeat.


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