Monday, July 23, 2018

Chapter 4. Mom Rock

In the late 1970’s, my uncle owned and ran a small gift shop called His & Hers Curiosity Shop. Because he had a regular day job, he couldn’t run the shop during the day, so my mom did. And because I was just a tot and not yet in school, I had to go with her, which I didn’t mind. The shop only took up about two-thirds of the available space. The rest was set up like a living space.

The back area was like a living room, with a TV, refrigerator with a variety of flavors of Pic-a-Pop, and an area rug so that I wasn’t sliding all over on the cold linoleum or tile floor (I can’t remember which). I used to play back there during the day while mom worked, or went next door to visit the lady at the donut shop (this was the late 70’s in a southwest suburb of Cleveland, there was no chance I was getting kidnapped). Much of the wall decor in the back revolved around Linda Ronstadt. My uncle LOVED Linda Ronstadt...and her music.

My mom had plenty of her music on the many mix tapes she made for the car and the shop. She carried with her every day a plastic cassette box filled with tapes, both mixes and pre-recorded. She drove a 1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass with an aftermarket tape deck. We would drive to the shop listening to The Eagles, the aforementioned Linda Ronstadt, Steely Dan, Boston, Foreigner, Journey, Bad Company, and many, many more (does this remind you of a K-Tel Records commercial? Kids, ask your parents)

This period of time was my biggest exposure to music. I was already listening to Kiss, which my mom also had on one or more songs on her mix tapes, but I was also introduced to plenty of other music over which I had no control. The Bee Gees were a constant, and mom had them on every tape that she made and also had a few of their cassettes in that box. Every day I went to the store with her, she exposed my young mind to The Bee Gees. Today, I own nothing by them on LP, CD, or mp3…but I also do not change the channel if they appear on the radio…it is my curse.

I was playing in the back when my mom ran next door to the donut shop. I’m guessing the store wasn’t open for business yet, and I was left there, again suburb, 70’s, safe. The shopping center was either old or new, I don’t remember, but it made funny noises and I could hear people on either side of the store through the walls. This scared me, especially since this was my first time being left alone. The TV wasn’t enough to soothe my frazzled, young nerves. I waited in the back, and suddenly, everything hanging on the walls and all of the tchotchkes in the gift shop suddenly appeared threatening to me. When mom finally returned and resumed the tape in the player, I breathed a sigh of relief. I never told her how I felt about being left there alone because I loved being at that store and didn’t want to spend the day at my grandparents’ house. They didn’t listen to music all day long.

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