If you saw my record collection, you’d probably think it was pretty big, and by today’s standards you’d be right. Most people got rid of their records a long time ago. Me, I never bought a CD player. I did finally acquire one through marriage. My husband is somewhat younger than I am; he had CDs, I had records. Oh, he brought a few albums with him (which is how we ended up with two of the Beatles' White album), but not enough that we would ever refer to it is our record collection. They were mine.
They were especially mine when he wanted to get rid of them. They took up space, the stereo cart was old and ugly, and besides, he complained, did I ever actually listen to them? He had me there. One birthday he got me a record player with a built-in USB, and a gadget that would let me play music from the computer upstairs, in the living room downstairs. All we had to do was digitize my records. That was a few years ago and we never got further than the letter C, at which point the magnitude of the project overwhelmed both of us.
I’ve finally started to wean myself from my records. When I’m in the mood, I comb through the collection and pull out a few more I’m ready to part with. In the beginning, I did it grudgingly, but recently I’ve been picking up steam. I loved the Alan Parsons Project, but I could only sing the songs from the album Eve, so did I really need the others? Wasn’t it time to admit I’d outgrown T. Rex? Actually, the answer to that is no. I put it back on the shelf.
Now what? I could drive all the way to Norwood to sell them to Newbury Comics for fifty cents a piece (“No Eagles, please,” as if I’d ever sell my Eagles records!), but I didn’t need the money badly enough to schlep down there. I just wanted to find someone who would give them a good home. It turned out that there was a woman in town who had a real collection, somewhere in the vicinity of 10,000 albums. She collects, and trades, and, here’s the corker, listens to her records. When she left with a box of LPs culled from my collection, she said, “If you ever just want to listen to one of your records, bring it over and I’ll play it for you.” If I’m too lazy to lift the arm of the turntable, I’m probably not going to go over to her house to listen to music, but that’s the kind of person I was looking for.
Slowly but surely I’ll whittle away at my collection until I’ve got it down to records I could never, ever part with; Bonnie Raitt’s Home Plate, Supertramp’s Breakfast in America, Livingston Taylor’s eponymous first album. Once I’ve done that, I’ll go buy them on iTunes so maybe I’ll actually listen to them. See, I never did need a CD player!